MOUNTAIN rescue teams called in to help hunt for missing father-of-two Colin Fay say the weather was some of the worst they have ever seen.
And police have today urged everyone to rally round and help by checking their own sheds, outbuildings and gardens for any trace of the 61-year-old.
They began the search at 4pm on Monday, but had to abandon their efforts before midnight, describing the conditions as “horrendous”.
Mr Fay, 61, has health problems so is classed as vulnerable.
He was only wearing pale green Chino-style trousers, a thick grey checked shirt and black shoes.
Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team was joined by colleagues from Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team and almost 50 searchers braved blizzards and temperatures well below zero.
Tony Burrie, from Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team, said: “We struggled to get people together at Holmfirth for a briefing as the conditions were so bad – and then they got worse.
“We searched likely places, but the weather was appalling. We were joined by four search and rescue dogs, but even they found it hard.”
Mike France, from Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team, said: “We were out from late afternoon and the weather in some areas was as bad as I can remember for some time.
“There were horrendous blizzards and it was bitingly cold.
“When we called off the search just before midnight we had to use our team Landrovers to drag out members’ cars stuck in the snow.”
The hunt went on all yesterday with a specialist police search adviser plotting out the search areas.
It starts with the most likely spot Mr Fay could be and then fans out. Snow remained on the ground all yesterday.
The search headquarters is based at Holmfirth police station.
Insp Andy Leonard, head of West Yorkshire Police’s Vulnerable Victims Unit which has responsibility for missing people, said: “Mr Fay was reported missing by his wife at 1pm on Monday and inquiries have revealed a definite sighting at just after 2pm that day when he walked past a shop in New Mill.
“The people who saw him realised he was wearing a shirt and trousers which made him stand out in the cold weather. Our search has been concentrated on an area between New Mill and Hepworth and around a small stream called New Mill Dyke.
“Think of drawing a 1km circle around New Mill and we have completed about half of that.
“We cannot continue searching after dark as we could not see anything of significance, but house-to-house inquiries have carried on.
“We need people to check their outhouses and sheds and farmers to look in barns and outbuildings. It’s very important that people do all they can to help us simply by checking their own properties.”
Mrs Fay is being comforted at the couple’s home in the Old Mill Court area of Hepworth by their two grown-up children.
The couple moved to the area from Norfolk around four years ago.
Mr Fay is white, 5ft 4ins tall and tanned with black hair going grey. He sometimes wears glasses and speaks with a soft southern accent.
The search has so far involved more than 20 officers and two PCSOs, mainly from The Valleys Neighbourhood Policing Team.
Anyone with any information should contact the Missing Persons Officer on 0781 8014716 or on 0845 6060606.