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Woman dies in 20-car pile-up on A40 as cold weather alert issued
A acute drop in temperatures has prompted Public Health England to send outs its most serious cold weather alert of the winter so far, warning conditions are severe enough to endanger the elderly.
Forecasters have also issued a severe weather warning as the closing days of the year are expected to see temperatures drop as low as -5C (23F).
Strong fog and ice will remain across much of England making dangerous driving conditions and potentially delaying flights.
A woman was proclaimed dead at the scene of a twenty vehicle pile-up on the A40 in Oxfordshire on Wednesday morning in foggy and icy conditions.
A dozen other people were injured, with one fighting for her life, according to South Central Ambulance Service.
Witnesses described a scene of “carnage” as around twenty vehicles swerved and collided in low visibility near Witney, leaving the road splashed with wreckage and debris.
One woman, who declined to be named, said she had been fortunate to avoid the smash when she spotted hazard lights as she approached on a slip road.
She said: “I witnessed cars going zooming past me and attempting to swerve out the way of the stationary cars but crashing into them,” she said.
“I eyed one car attempt swerve in inbetween a Mini and another car, ending up crashing into the Mini and (flying) up in the air.
“I witnessed two cars swerve as they braked so hard and go flying into the barrier in the middle of the road . it was carnage,” she added.
It was truly dangerous, says pregnant mother
P regnant mother-of-two Ami Gaston, from Carterton, was in the car with her fucking partner when she eyed the very first vehicle crash. She said the accident happened about half a mile from the Witney exit, blocking the right lane.
“A man on his own had skidded and crashed into middle barrier. My playmate was driving – we had to swerve out of the right lane to avoid hitting him. His door was open and air bags were released,” Miss Gaston said.
“I phoned an ambulance but couldn’t stop. My playmate wouldn’t stop because I am twenty weeks pregnant and didn’t want to put us in danger.”
She added that the strenuous fog meant the situation was “indeed dangerous”, as it was difficult to see any other car until you were “on top of it”.
Severe weather warning
H eavy fog which has caused travel chaos across the UK is expected to shroud parts of the country again on Thursday, forecasters said.
Dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled due to poor visibility at London City Airport on Wednesday morning, while a string of arrivals were diverted elsewhere.
The Met Office said fog warnings were in place for the South East and Midlands until noon on Thursday and temperatures would fall on Thursday night to at least -4C (25F).
Public Health England (PHE) issued its very first level three warning since January and urged people to look after elderly relatives and neighbours.
Dr Thomas Waite, consultant in extreme events and health protection at the bod, said: “Cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of the practical advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but it’s significant that we all help each other to stay well this winter.”
T he cold spell has been caused by a patch of high pressure lodging across the south of the country. But forecasters said the north and Scotland would be far warmer, with temperatures north of the border reaching 11C (52F).
Andy Page, chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Cold weather is likely over the next few days with high pressure permitting fog and frost to form overnight. The fog may be slow to clear from some inland central and southern areas leading to low daytime temperatures, with some places fighting to rise above freezing.”
A severe weather alert has also been issued by the Met Office warning of plummeting temperatures across much of England.
A level three weather warning has been put in place until 11am on Friday after temperatures dipped below 2C in parts of northern, eastern and south-eastern England.
Public Health England (PHE) issued advice for the over 65s, those with long-term illness or who are not mobile.
T he comeback to more normal wintry temperatures goes after one of the warmest Christmas Days’ on record.