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Winter weather advice

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This guidance document gives schools in Wales advice on whether to remain open or close in extreme bad weather.
Winter scene

During bad weather, these organisations and websites provide details and advice. 

Weather

For the latest information on the weather and weather warnings, visit the Met Office website (external link). Its new WeatherReady campaign (external link) also has lots of advice on how to get ready for winter.

Flooding advice and information including the five day flood risk forecast, flood warnings in force, live river level data and advice on what you can do before, during and after flooding can be found at the Natural Resources Wales website (external link). You can find out if you live or work in flood risk area and also sign up for free flood warnings (external link) on the NRW website, or by telephoning Floodline on 0345 9881188.

Transport and traffic

Should snow, ice or flooding affect roads, driving should be kept to a minimum. For real-time advice on traffic and road conditions, visit the Traffic Wales website (external link). For public transport schedules and information, visit Traveline Cymru (external link). Adverse weather can also affect train lines and timetables. Transport for Wales delivers the Wales and Borders Rail Services - for up to date information visit its website (external link).

Road salt

At the start of this year's winter season there is over 225,000 tonnes of road salt in stock throughout Wales. Stock levels have been maintained to provide high levels of stock resilience. Arrangements are already in place to replenish stocks during the winter months using UK based major salt suppliers.

Throughout the year the Welsh Government and Local Authorities have continued to work in partnership towards increasing winter maintenance resilience in times of severe weather.

There are strategic salt storage facilities at Merthyr Tydfil, Llanidloes, Llandygai, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Rhuallt. 

Schools and local services

Key services such as waste collection are delivered by your local authority. Generally headteachers are responsible for making decisions on whether a school is to be closed.

For details of how waste collection services in your area are being affected, visit your local authority's website (external links):

For school closures ideally you should visit the school’s website but the local authorities listed above may also hold this information. The Welsh Government has issued advice to schools on opening schools in extreme bad weather.

Keep warm

Ideally, rooms should be heated to between 18° - 21°C (64° - 70°F). Wearing several layers of thin clothes will help keep the cold out.

If you are experiencing difficulty meeting the cost of your electricity or gas bill, speak to your energy supplier or one of the advice agencies who may be able to offer advice and assistance. Help with the cost of energy bills is also available to eligible householders through the Warm Homes Discount, which provides a rebate on your electricity bill, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments. More information on Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments can be found through the Citizens Advice Bureau (external link). Age Cymru (external link) also offers good advice on preparing for bad weather (external link). Your energy supplier will be able to advise you on whether you meet their eligibility criteria for a Warm Homes Discount.

If you are struggling to keep your home warm, the Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme can help you with a range of advice and support including energy saving advice, energy tariffs, Benefit Entitlement Checks, debt and money management advice and a referral for eligible households for a package of free home energy improvements. You can contact Nest on Freephone 0808 808 2244. More information is available online at Nest (external link).

Buying heating oil as soon as possible before the onset of severe weather can result in cost savings when the demand is low and means householders are guaranteed fuel during the coldest months. Information about creating or joining a community buying group can be found on the Citizen's Advice website (external link).

Burst pipes

Water companies offer their customers advice and support on how to protect their water supply from freezing during the colder months and what to do if their water supply freezes or their pipes burst. This information can be found on the following websites:

Information about how to protect the pipes in your home in freezing weather and who to call if the worst does happen is also available on the following website:

Keep well

There are things you can do to look after yourself in the winter months, such as ordering repeat prescriptions early and getting your flu jab.

If a serious injury or illness occurs then call 999 or go straight to Accident and Emergency (A&E). If it's not an emergency, the Choose Well website (external link) is designed to help you get the right assistance. You can also try NHS Direct Wales which has launched My Winter Health Plan (external link) a new initiative to help people with long-term health conditions and their carers. 

Public Health Wales has developed all year-round advice (external link) which is available on its website. Age Cymru’s Spread the Warmth (external link) provides information and support to people aged 65 and over to help them keep well, warm and safe over the winter months.

Help in the community

Severe weather can strike quickly, but a little advance planning can help keep people warm, safe and dry. The wider community will also be better prepared to cope when everyone works together using local knowledge and resources in a way that complements local agencies and services. 

Identify family or neighbours who may need extra help. Have their phone numbers to hand and stop by to offer help with grocery shopping or other essential tasks - it can make a real difference. Communities can prepare by agreeing what can be done individually and collectively to minimise the effects of severe weather at home and work.

Voluntary groups play a valuable role in supporting local communities through difficult times. For information visit the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) (external link). Local volunteering opportunities can be found at Volunteering Wales (external link).

Business and industry

Severe weather can have a devastating effect on small businesses, making it difficult or even impossible to carry out normal day-to-day activities. At worst, this could result in the loss of important customers - and even going out of business altogether. Good business continuity planning can help minimise the potential impact. To find out more visit Business Wales (external link) or call the business information helpline on 03000 603000. More information on business continuity (external link) can be found on the Gov.UK website (external link).

Police in Wales

Each of the four police forces in Wales offers up-to-date advice on how to stay safe and secure during the winter months.