Kent

Kent snow: Walderslade road shut as trees come down

Walderslade Woods Road Image copyright Mark Spice
Image caption One driver reported that trees were "falling everywhere" on Walderslade Woods Road

Heavy snowfall has brought more than 100 trees down in a Kent road which saw drivers abandon their cars.

Road users across the county suffered severe delays as snow and ice forced the closure of a number of roads, including the A2045 in Medway.

Kent Police tweeted it had an "incredibly busy night" dealing with stranded vehicles and "numerous RTCs".

One driver, Mark Spice, who got stuck on the A2045, told the BBC trees were "falling everywhere, it was so scary".

Disruption continued on Saturday, as the A2045 Walderslade Woods Road remained shut due to a "continued risk of falling trees".

A Kent County Council spokeswoman said the "sudden and heavy" snowfall "came at the peak of the rush hour" and was not forecast.

Image copyright Thomas Simpson-Brown
Image caption The council said tree surgeons were working to remove the fallen trees in Walderslade

She said: "The heavy rain washed away any grit that had been spread on the roads and then [it] turned to snow within 20 minutes.

"Gritters were dispatched immediately but had difficulty reaching the worst-affected areas due to the number of abandoned vehicles and, in some places, fallen trees."

The council said earlier 18 tree surgeons were working to clear the road but it did not expect it to reopen it until Sunday afternoon.

The Salvation Army was "in the community in that area delivering welfare to those that need it", it added.

However, it urged anyone who needed medical advice to call 111, and to call 999 in an emergency.

Mr Spice said he and his partner had to complete a three-mile walk on Saturday to obtain supplies.

He said: "We didn't expect to get such a downfall.

"The way the snow stuck to the branches of the trees was really strange, and it basically just pulled the trees down. It's been a crazy 24 hours."

Southern England bore the brunt of Friday's fresh snowfall, with the Met Office recording snow 19cm (7.5in) deep at RAF Odiham near Basingstoke on Friday evening.

The Met Office said temperatures could reach -16C (3F) in Scotland on Saturday night but that Sunday should be milder.

Kent Police closed the A249 Detling Hill on Friday evening due to it being "too dangerous to allow vehicles down the hill", with drivers reporting being trapped for hours.

It was finally reopened with the help of "gritters and kind farmers", the force said later.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption The A249 Detling Hill in Kent was badly affected by the snow

The council's highways winter service Gritting Kent explained in a tweet that rain had washed away previous grit.

It added: "The intensity of snowfall within rush-hour traffic meant it was a struggle against Mother Nature."

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice across southern parts of the UK from 16:00 on Saturday to late Sunday morning.

Gritting Kent said in a tweet to expect minimum overnight road surface temperatures of -5C.

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