Heavy snowfall overnight and this morning has caused roads and services to grind to a halt across most of Wales. Hundreds of schools have been closed and roads made impassable as councils attempt to clear main highways.
Councils like Caerphilly have been particularly badly hit with all schools and the majority of services closed.
People are being urged to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary – with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council urging people to not leave their homes.
Nigel Wheeler, Director of Streetcare at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “Staff have worked throughout the night to treat and grit the road network and will continue to respond around-the-clock for as long as is needed
“As well as using vehicles to salt and grit the roads, teams of staff are also working in key areas such as town centres and residential streets in a bid to clear the snow and ice for residents.
“However, the roads are treacherous and previous warnings only to leave your home if necessary have now been upgraded and we are appealing to people not to leave their homes unless it is an absolute emergency.
“People are driving to shopping centres only to be forced to abandon their cars at the location or even by the roadside as the snow is falling so heavily.
“This is dangerous for them and is also causing obstructions on the highways for our vehicles and those of other emergency services. There have also been accidents which are causing unnecessary pressure on the road network. I would urge people to take heed of this advice and protect themselves by staying home.”
Speed restrictions of 30mph are in place on much of the M4 and around 800 schools are closed across the country with counties like Caerphilly closing all services.
In mid Wales Ceredigion Council appealed to drivers on Friday morning not to set out unless their journey is absolutely essential.
A spokesman said the condition of the county’s roads were “severe” and that although salting trucks had been out since 0400 GMT, they were struggling to keep main roads open.
A road traffic accident involving five lorries between the A465 Glynneath and A4221 Banwen has caused the A4109 to be closed in both directions.
There are also delays to a number of Arriva Trains Wales services.
The Hereford to Newport, Holyhead to Chester, Pwllheli to Shrewsbury, Wrexham central to Chester, Carmarthen to Cardiff train lines are all experiencing delays due to “signalling problems” caused by the weather.
Carmarthenshire county council has made an urgent plea for members of the public to help elderly friends and family who usually receive meals on wheels as the service struggles to reach people in the extreme weather.
Sheila Porter, head of primary, community and social care, said: “Although contingency plans have been made, with extra frozen meals delivered where possible in advance, the council and WRVS are asking friends, family and neighbours to lend a helping hand to ensure older and more vulnerable people are fed.
“Our volunteers are trying their best to deliver services wherever they can using 4x4s, but unfortunately we may not get through to everyone.
“We would be grateful if communities could help us through this difficult period – hopefully normal service will resume as quickly as possible.”
Tonight marks the annual peak of the Christmas party season dubbed “Black Friday” by emergency services.
Police urged caution among party-goers over personal safety, while doctors have raised concerns that excessive drinking in such cold weather could seriously endanger lives.