The emergency services and local authorities have urged residents ‘to plan ahead and take care’, as weather warnings for snow remain in place.
The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for poor weather today and Friday, with roads and railways likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services. The warnings remain in place until 12pm tomorrow, but is not currently expected to continue over the weekend.
Both North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Police have urged residents to take care when travelling, and where possible offer support to vulnerable people.
A spokesperson for NYFRS said: “We would urge people to take care if they are planning to drive whilst the weather is poor. Make sure windscreens are clear before you set off and allow extra time for your journey. Also take the time to check in on older or vulnerable neighbours, friends and family. They may struggle to leave the house in icy or snowy weather so pop in and see if they need anything.”
Developer eyes up land in Beckwithshaw for 1,000 houses and two primary schools
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has also called on neighbours and friends to look out for elderly and disabled friends and family members as temperatures continue to plummet.
Along with health partners it has advised people to prepare for wintry weather by making sure they are warm enough at home by keeping rooms heated to more than 18 degrees Celsius.
In partnership with Citizen’s Advice, NYCC has also commissioned a warm and well service, which offers support to people worried about winter, living in cold homes or struggling to pay bills. The service offers a single point of contact – 01609 767555 – for any North Yorkshire resident with concerns about winter or needing help.
Tributes paid to late Knaresborough Town AFC president Terry Hewlett - a 'super, super man'
The council’s care teams prioritise visits during bad weather and have access to 4 x 4 vehicles if necessary to access elderly and disabled people needing care even in remote places.
“We are well-rehearsed and ready for wintry conditions in order to prioritise care for our most vulnerable residents,” said NYCC coun Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration. “We work with all our partners, care providers, the NHS, family and friends as well as our own care teams to ensure that even those in the most remote areas are supported to stay safe and well.”
The council’s Living Well service is also working to help people during the current spell of cold weather. It helps ensure that in emergency situations people get instant support, such as portable heaters from the Fire Service. Living Well coordinators also help source emergency funds to ensure the people they support have credit on gas and electric supply. They also register people on the vulnerability register with the water and power companies to ensure they are prioritised in the event of a utility problem.
Andrew Dangerfield of the NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG also said: "As the weather is getting colder we can all look out for neighbours and relatives that may be affected by the cold temperatures. We need to ensure they keep warm and perhaps ask if there is any shopping they need, medicines collecting or even a lift to the hospital if they have an appointment.
"All GP practices will have on the day appointments or telephone appointments if you need to see a GP urgently. Pharmacists can also provide advice for minor illnesses."
Here are 30 reasons why Ripon is the best city in the UK
Mike Forster, Operational Director for Long Term and Unscheduled Care at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, also said that the service is prepared for the challenges that the weather could bring.
He said: “Wintery weather always brings with it challenges for the NHS but we’re well-prepared and all of our services are running as normal. So for anyone with an appointment, please attend unless you’re directly told otherwise.
"If the weather gets really bad, we have contingency plans in place to ensure staff can get to work. Our priority is to continue to deliver safe and efficient care.”
North Yorkshire County Council has also said that a £7m winter maintenance budget sees 54 per cent of the roads gritted on one of England’s largest and in places most remote road networks.
Eight new replacement gritters have been added to the fleet, making it a total of 86, and there are 111 farm contractors, five road snowblowers and seven footpath snowblowers. It added that gritters are on call 24 hours a day, farmer contractors, duty managers and overnight patrols are all on standby and overnight patrols are in operation when necessary.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “The county council places the highest priority on winter maintenance across our vast road network, one of the largest in the country.
“Coping with severe winter weather on a big road network is a complex operation, but it is a top priority to keep the county on the move, We will grit as required to keep our highways open. Our first priority is major routes which connect or go through the county’s towns and we will clear these before moving on to our second level of priority routes which give access to smaller communities.
“While we do everything we can to keep traffic moving during severe winter weather, it is important for drivers to drive with caution and consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary.”