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SNOW CHAOS: Military swings into action across Dorset
The military swung into action as heavy snowfall brought chaos to the transport system, schools and services across Dorset.
Soldiers helped police to reach people in their cars as blizzard conditions were reported on the main road between Dorchester and Bridport, and farmers also offered their assistance.
Several roads were closed due to treacherous conditions and drivers were warned not to venture out unless absolutely necessary.
People awoke to a thick blanket of snow yesterday and the weather caused roads to be closed or blocked.
A man was cut from his car in Wareham after his vehicle hit a tree near Waddock Cross.
He was taken to hospital with a possible broken leg and the local authority was called to clear the tree from the road.
A van veered off the road on Ridgeway Hill between Weymouth and Dorchester.
Parts of the A35 were closed during the heaviest of the snowfall in the morning, including the stretch between Bridport and Dorchester, which was blocked after a lorry jack-knifed at Winterbourne Abbas at 5am.
The A35 eastbound was also closed at the Puddletown bypass.
Routes between Weymouth and Bridport were completely cut off for several hours, with the B3157 coast road also closed at Abbots-bury due to hazardous conditions.
Superintendant Dave Thorp, of Dorset Police, said: “The roads in Dorset, especially the west of the county, have been affected by the severe weather conditions.
“I urge anyone who is planning on travelling on the roads to please reconsider and only travel if there is no other option.
“In particular, please do not take minor or country roads if it is possible to avoid them.”
Most roads in Swanage were described as ‘impassable’ by officers, with other road closures in effect on the A37 in Frampton, Corfe Mullen and the A354 Blandford bypass.
Dorset Police issued a warning after some drivers were spotted ignoring road closure signs on the A35.
Public transport was also affected by the snow with bus services suspended around Bridport and Yeovil.
Some buses in Weymouth and Dorchester were cancelled, with others running on amended routes due to road conditions.
Most services were running as normal when conditions improved in the afternoon.
South West Trains (SWT) also ran a revised service, which will continue today.
Customer service director for SWT Jake Kelly said: “The timetable we provide today will be slightly different to yesterday, and services are expected to be busier than normal.
“We advise passengers to check the timetable before they travel and allow enough time to travel to and from the station.”
Conditions eased as the day wore on, with snow becoming lighter and turning to sleet in places.
Figures recorded at 9am yesterday showed Weymouth received 6mm of snow overnight, but the north and west of the county were worst hit.