Snow ball catapults and even a skier: Teenagers make the most of snow blizzards as the rest of Britain suffers travel chaos
The South West was left in travel meltdown today after deep snow blanketed the region – and continued to fall in blizzards throughout the day.
Flights, trains and buses were cancelled as areas saw more than six inches of snow fall overnight.
Hundreds of roads were also shut – including the busy M4 and parts of the M5 – as the treacherous conditions caused lorries to jack-knife and cars to spin out of control.
Students and pupils were delighted as scores of schools and universities closed for the day, with many taking to the streets to enjoy snowball fights.
* One thrill seeker even skied down Bristol’s usually bustling Park Street, a major shopping road in the heart of the city.
* Blushing bride Carly Taylor, 30, had to be rescued by Land Rover from her father’s drive in Swindon, Wilts., so she could reach her own wedding in time.
Carly and father Shaun were due to make their way to Swindon Register Office but their Mercedes was stuck on the drive.
They were able to reach the wedding when a kind hearted stranger stepped in with a Land Rover and picked up the pair at 11.30am.
Carly said: “I am so relieved. I felt awful when I saw outside this morning. It has had all week to snow and it had to snow today.”
* A mum-to-be was flown by air ambulance from Frome Community Hospital to Royal United Hospital in Bath, Somerset, as she was in labour.
The woman needed to be transferred to the city hospital and was taken by the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter as roads were impassable due to the snow.
* Dozens of schools were shut, with Bath Spa University and the University of Bath, the University of the West of England (UWE) and Bristol University also closed.
* Bristol First Bus suspended all services, while Bristol Airport delayed every flight as snow could not be cleared from the runway.
James Gore, spokesman for the Airport, said: “We’ve had about three inches of snow so far this morning and it’s still coming down.
“As fast as we clear the runway it settles again so there have been delays to the flight schedule this morning and we haven’t been able to get any flights in or out as yet.”
* Snow ploughs were out in force, clearing roads across North Somerset but many drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles when conditions became too severe.
* Police advised motorists to stay off the roads unless their journeys were “absolutely necessary”.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset police said: “Around 10-15cm of snow is expected to have fallen by the end of today, making highways dangerous for driving.
“While there have been no major incidents on the roads in Avon and Somerset we are advising to stay indoors.
“If you do have to drive, we suggest you slow down and brake, steer and change gear as smoothly as possible to avoid skidding.
“It’s probably a good idea to carry de-icer, food, a hot flask, a blanket and a shovel as well.”
* Police officers even stopped gritters fitted with snow plough driving down steep roads providing the main routes in and out of Bristol – as it was too unsafe.
* But one police 4×4 skidded down a steep hill in Stroud, Glos, ploughing into one van and causing it to hit another parked vehicle.
Onlooker Clair Shipman said: “I live on a big snowy hill and so an accident was bound to happen today.
“The police 4×4 just crashed into my neighbours van, sending it crashing into another car.
“I suppose if you’re going to be hit by anyone today, it probably will be the police as they’re the main people out of the roads round here today.”
* The M4 was closed to traffic between Junction 19, the M32, and Junction 18, Bath, following a collision – causing havoc for motorists.