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Islanders urged to help elderly during cold snap

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ISLANDERS are being urged to watch out for their vulnerable friends, family and neighbours who may struggle as Siberian winds blow into Jersey in the coming days, bringing with them freezing temperatures and possible snow showers.

Although the forecast is clear for the weekend, a cold wind is set to send temperatures plummeting. Picture: JON GUEGAN (20736025)

Salt-spreading and snow-clearing teams are on standby, as the mercury is set to plunge more than 7°C lower than the average temperatures expected in February.

Age Concern Jersey has called on Islanders to check on vulnerable people who may struggle during the cold snap.

‘If you have neighbours who are elderly or infirm, please check on them,’ Senator Sarah Ferguson, chairwoman of the charity, said. ‘If the curtains remain closed, is that because they are keeping the heat in or because they have had a fall?

‘Do they need milk or bread, or anything like that? If we have snow, a lot of old people won’t go out because if they fall, they could sustain quite serious injuries.’

Jersey Met has forecast snow showers for Monday and Tuesday but said on Friday that it was still ‘uncertain’ how heavy they would be.

Peter Munns, duty forecaster at Jersey Met, said: ‘We have a well-established area of high pressure currently over Scandinavia and Finland that is going to persist for the foreseeable future. That means we will have a fresh to strong easterly breeze over the Channel.

‘The source comes from central Europe and backtracks to Siberia. Very cold, polar continental air is going to bring lower temperatures.’

Temperatures on Saturday were expected to reach 6°C, dropping to 4°C on Sunday, 3°C on Monday and 2°C on Tuesday. However, with the wind chill Mr Munns said temperatures would feel much colder and he warned Islanders to brace themselves, as it could feel like minus 3°C on Sunday.

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The mercury will also drop overnight in the coming days to minus 1°C and minus 2°C.

Average temperatures for February range between 4°C and 9°C.

‘As we go into the latter part of Monday and into Tuesday there is an increased risk of seeing some snow in the form of showers,’ Mr Munns said. ‘The detail is uncertain at the moment – it is impossible to say whether that will give us an accumulation or a light dusting.

‘This is the longest cold snap we’ve had this winter so far. It is probably going to go into the early part of March.’

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Tristen Dodd, director of transport policy for the Infrastructure Department, said that roads had already been gritted with salt slurry – a mix of salt and water – which he said penetrated the ice better.

He added: ‘Ahead of the upcoming adverse weather we have all the right preparation in place. We are prepared to monitor the situation and are working with other agencies too.’

Meanwhile, St Helier says that it is ready to put into place its severe weather plan, which involves reallocating parish teams to salt-spreading and snow clearance duties.

Debra D’Orleans, municipal services director, said that resources would be directed to a number of priority routes to keep the roads and pavements free of ice and snow.

‘Our truck-mounted salt spreader is prepared and ready to go, with teams working in shifts to cover the parish roads,’ she said. ‘This will be supplemented with small teams clearing snow and salting pavements.

‘We have placed several satellite snow stations throughout the parish which are fully equipped with snow shovels, salt, gloves and buckets, and we are keeping an eye on the weather forecast and will be ready to go at any time.’

An Education spokeswoman said the department took advice from Jersey Met and the Infrastructure Department regarding the weather.

‘If schools are going to close, we aim to let parents know as early as possible – hopefully by 6 am if we can. The first place to get an update would be the Jersey Education Facebook and Twitter feeds and the States website. Schools will also inform parents and we will advise local media.’

Krysta Eaves

By Krysta Eaves
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