Schools set for snow shutdown until next week

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Media captionDerek Brockway has the forecast

Schools are set to close until next week as much of Wales braces itself for heavy snowfall.

The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" warning covering most of Wales for Thursday and Friday.

As a result, some local authorities have closed all schools until Monday.

Meanwhile, panic buying has started, with empty supermarket shelves reported in Pontypool, Bridgend and Aberdare as people rushed to buy bread and milk.

Image copyright Sharron Taylor/Trudie Husnjak
Image caption The cold weather has brought some spectacular ice formations at Nolton Haven in Pembrokeshire (left) and in Cwntydu, Ceredigion (right) where a burst pipe led to this scene

Tesco in Pontypool said it would be stocked again on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 25 schools were shut in Anglesey, Gwynedd, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Conwy.

However, there are warnings of heavy snow and high winds for Wales from Thursday morning through to Friday, with gusts from a new storm - Storm Emma - due to hit the cold air from Russia which has been felt in recent days.

Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Ceredigion, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taf councils have advised all schools to shut on Thursday and Friday.

In Neath Port Talbot and Torfaen, many schools have already told parents they will be shut on Thursday.

Image copyright Ross Moore
Image caption Icy conditions in Rosebush, Pembrokeshire

In Powys, parents have been advised to check with schools.

Its provider of home care services, Abacare, is organising 4x4 transport to get to people and respite in homes for those who live in areas that could become hard to reach.

Carmarthenshire council has made emergency sleeping provisions available to the homeless, while people on the streets in Cardiff are also being urged to seek a place in a number of the city's night shelters.

A St David's Day parade organised for Cardiff city centre at 12:30 GMT Thursday is set to go ahead but a parade in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire has been cancelled. Celebrations in the Senedd have also been called off.

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Media captionPupils from Brackla Primary School have cooked cawl for the homeless
Image copyright Bethan Ralph
Image copyright Met Office
Image caption Much of Wales is covered by Thursday's weather warning

On Wednesday, flights between Cardiff and Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam were cancelled, with passengers urged to check flight information.

Arriva Trains Wales warned services may be cancelled or delayed at short notice and passengers should only travel when absolutely necessary. Services are already reduced after damage was found on a fleet of trains on Wednesday.

Irish Ferries has also cancelled two returns between Holyhead and Dublin on Thursday.

On the roads, the A542 Horseshoe Pass between Llangollen, Denbighshire and Llandegla, Wrexham, was closed in both directions due to snow.

Some bus services in Bangor have been cancelled due to the bad weather. Cardiff Bus and Newport Bus say they will run a normal service as long as it is safe to do so, but some services may be disrupted.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it would be extremely busy and asked people to only call in an emergency.

Public Health Wales also urged people to check on relatives and neighbours during the cold spell, particularly the elderly.

Health Boards across Wales have said no appointments will be cancelled tomorrow, although Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said some service changes are being considered.

The Urdd has confirmed several Eisteddfod competitions scheduled for the weekend have been cancelled, with more likely to be called off.

Image copyright Twitter/ @markhutchings1
Image caption Empty shelves in Tesco, Pontypool
Image caption Tesco in Chepstow ran out of milk on Wednesday
Image copyright @NWPBangor/Twitter
Image caption North Wales Police took this photo of a frozen Ogwen Lake in Snowdonia

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