Skip to content

Snow and Ice in Cornwall

Snow and cold weather

Snow and severe cold weather can cause disruption and can also affect more vulnerable people.

In the event of severe cold weather in Cornwall, you can get the latest updates by:

  • Reading our media releases
  • Follow Cornwall Council on Facebook and Twitter
  • If you use Twitter, we will tweet relevant updates using the tag #CCsnow

Preparation and advice for cold weather

Practical steps

    • To prevent freezing of internal pipes it is recommended that you turn off your water supply to prevent pipes from bursting. Locate the stop-cock inside your home, this is usually under the kitchen sink. Also, know the location of the stop-cock outside of your home, if you cannot find it, contact South West Water. View further tips to prevent frozen pipes
    • Keep torches (and any batteries) to hand in case lighting fails or you need to switch off power.
    • Keep important emergency numbers near your home. Such as a 24-hour plumber and an emergency salvage and clean-up company.  They are usually listed under 'Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners' in directories.
    • Check your buildings and contents insurance details. Most will be pleased for you to arrange damage limitation with plumbers and cleaners yourself. Note any emergency contact telephone numbers.
    • If your house has any exposed pipes, lag them with thick material, old blankets etc. If lofts are very cold, leave trap doors open.
    • If you are away from your house overnight or for any long period, leave the heating system on a low setting to prevent pipes freezing. If practical, switch off water and drain pipes.
    • Ensure everyone living in your home knows where the water stop cock and electricity mains switch, are located.
    • If you have a battery radio check it and ensure you have spare batteries.
    • If you use candles, electric blankets, or an open fire, be aware of the hazards and view safety information to prevent a fire in your home.

Frozen pipes

If you think a pipe is frozen, but has not burst:

  • Contact a plumber or if it is safe try to thaw the affected pipe using a hair dryer or hot water bottle (Do not use a naked flame to do this). Be aware of the dangers of electricity and water.
  • Store some water, for personal and toilet needs, for when you have to switch the mains water off later.

Burst pipes

If you find a burst pipe, or have water dripping:

  • First switch off your electricity at the mains - but if there is any danger of mains switch being wet seek advice first. Do not touch any light or power fittings until mains has been disconnected.
  • Turn off water at the stop-cock.
  • Phone for a plumber, and if extensive damage is likely, phone your house insurance emergency number for advice. Or get in touch with an emergency salvage and clean-up company. Remember you will have to pay for these services if you have no insurance cover.
  • Think about the effects of no water or electricity in your house - if you have problems - ask neighbours or family for help.

Driving in snow and ice

Driving in snow, ice and wintry conditions requires extra care and preparation, and you should only drive when absolutely necessary. Please read our guidelines on safe winter driving.

School closures

If schools are closed due to bad weather they will be listed on the school closures page.

Salting and Gritting

Follow our treatment on Twitter @CORMACltd - Our intended actions are posted automatically (24/7) as soon as we make the decision.

Waste Collections

In the event of snow, weather conditions will be assessed early on each day with the decision undertaken regarding collections based on the following:

  • Ability of the collection crews to travel to the relevant depot
  • Conditions regarding driving and collection crew safety being favourable to collections
  • Weather forecast for the day.

Conditions will be assessed throughout the day in question with the contractor constantly monitoring ability for the crews to collect. If the weather conditions are deemed too dangerous or unfavourable at the start of the day, or collection crews cannot access the depot the contractor will either:

  • Arrange collection of crews from the most accessible road near to their homes
  • Delay collections until later in the day
  • Cancel collections for inaccessible areas, which can either be undertaken later in the week or cancelled until the following week
  • Cancel all collections

No collections will take place if the safety of the staff or public will be put at risk through slips, trips falls, or lack of vehicle control from attempting collections. 

Weather forecast

You can view a five day weather forecast for Cornwall on the BBC Cornwall website (please note that this defaults to Truro but you can choose a more specific area if you wish).

Met Office: Latest severe weather warnings for Cornwall and the Southwest


  • No matter how bad the situation. Ensure the safety of people before property. Call the Fire and Rescue Service if you face a flooding situation which you cannot cope with.
  • Check your house now and also after a cold spell, before the thaw sets in.
  • Be good neighbours and check people living around you.

This advice has been provided by the Emergency Management team.

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Use our contact us form

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service