Gallery: People urged to check on the vulnerable after blizzards forecast to sweep across Suffolk and Essex
PUBLISHED: 10:29 18 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 18 January 2013
PEOPLE are being urged to check on vulnerable neighbours after blizzards were forecast to sweep across the region tonight.
Snowstorms are expected to hit Suffolk and Essex - prompting warnings not to travel or go out after dark.
Norwich-based Weatherquest said up to five inches of snow could fall across the region, while winds are expected to get as high as 25mph.
Wil Gibson, chairman of Suffolk ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), said: “It’s in situations like these that the importance of community support networks really comes to the fore.
“I think they are critical and we should be making a call to Suffolk people to look after their neighbours and think about people who live on their patch.”
Dr Gibson’s comments come after Graham Clark - believed to be in his 70s - died in Brettenham Road, Buxhall, near Stowmarket. Police are investigating the cause of death and are looking into whether Mr Clark had been clearing snow from his driveway when he hit his head.
Rachel Fahie, chief officer at Age UK Colchester, said: “I would encourage people to be good neighbours during bad weather to ensure elderly people have got what they need and enough supplies to see them through a few days and perhaps clear some snow for them.
“It’s important to be a good neighbour all year round but when we have got bad weather, it’s especially important.”
Phil Garner, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said there was a chance of an isolated snow shower on Friday morning, with the heaviest snow expected to hit in late afternoon and evening.
“People should not be going out after dark,” he added. “It would not be sensible to travel unless you really have to.”
Mr Garner said the snow is expected to ease significantly into Saturday and Sunday. But temperatures will remain hovering around freezing.
Suffolk County Council (SCC) said 43 gritters would be sent out today, to help prepare around 3,300kms of the county’s roads.
Councillor Guy McGregor, cabinet member for roads at SCC, said: “It is absolutely vital for those travelling on Friday and over the weekend to plan ahead and leave extra time for any journeys they have to make.
“With the heaviest snow expected to start falling during rush hour on Friday, it can make it difficult for our gritters to move around and deal with the falling snow easily.
“Motorists should do all they can to regularly check the weather forecast, drive to the conditions and stay safe on the county’s roads over the next few days.
“Our teams will be doing all they can to keep traffic moving and ensure public safety. However, it is equally as important for people to use local grit bins to make travelling easier and safer in their local area where they can.”