SUB-ZERO temperatures gripped the country this week – but Chester has so far escaped relatively unscathed.
The Met Office is expecting snow showers to die down over the coming days – but overnight there will be further hard and widespread frosts.
The freezing conditions resulted in just one school closure – Wood Memorial School in Saltney was forced to shut on Monday and Tuesday after a burst water pipe.
The cold snap also caused a water pipe to burst at Chester’s Comet store on Sunday, forcing it to close. Then on Monday lunchtime, a burst water pipe at B&Q on Sealand Road affected the sprinkler system and damaged stock, including bags of cement.
On the same day, waste collections were cancelled on a handful of minor roads in Chester due to the ice, although the residents affected had their bins emptied the following day.
A car ended up in a ditch after skidding on an icy Rake Lane, near Eccleston, at 8.30am on Saturday. A couple in their 20s suffered minor injuries.
Cheshire West and Chester Council says it is constantly monitoring the weather and road conditions, adding that gritting salt is in plentiful supply. The authority has a stockpile of more than 4,000 tonnes.
The Countess of Chester Hospital has seen an increase in the number of people attending with broken bones, sprains or bruising.
Spokesman Stephen Winterson said the overall number of patients coming to the department was the same as usual. He urged relatives and neighbours to check on the elderly as the hospital has been treating several cases of hypothermia.
Chester FCis splashing out £10,000 on protective covers for their Exacta Stadium pitch so they can play on during the bad weather. The Blues top-of-the-table encounter at second-placed Clitheroe on Saturday is likely to be postponed because the hosts’ snow-covered pitch is frozen solid.
More than 550 St John Ambulance volunteers in Cheshire are ready and waiting to support the NHS as the big freeze sets in.
Stephanie Littler, spokeswoman for the first aid charity, said: “In winter, especially during the snowy and icy conditions that we are experiencing at the moment, we can expect an increase in the number of sprains and fractures we are treating because more people are slipping and falling in the cold weather and damaging their wrists, ankles or collarbones.
“Elderly and vulnerable people are particularly prone to illness at this time as the cold can exacerbate respiratory problems like asthma.
“Our volunteers are ready to help but we’re also encouraging everyone to follow our first aid advice and be community spirited and to check on elderly or vulnerable friends and neighbours.”
For more information about first aid advice or courses, call 08700 104950 or visit www.sja.org.uk.