People in Devon are being asked to be prepared for the possibility of widespread snow and ice on Friday and over the weekend.
Early forecasts suggest that there is a threat of rain moving in from the South West overnight on Thursday, possibly turning to wintry showers as it hits colder air. With road surface temperatures dropping to -4, ice may also be a hazard.
Devon County Council, the Highways Agency, and Devon and Cornwall Police are advising residents to be aware of the potential of travel disruption on Devon’s roads. Higher ground in East Devon, Dartmoor and Exmoor could be worst affected with the risk of between 5cm and 10cm of snow. Rain and snow could clear on Saturday before another band of rain moves into the county on Sunday.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “I would urge everyone to take extra care on the county’s roads and footways. Our highways teams are prepared for the possibility of snow and ice and gritters will be responding as required to treat our precautionary salting routes. Every effort is always made to keep highways as clear as possible and keep Devon moving, however people are travelling.
“The combination of rain, sleet or snow, and freezing temperatures could make travelling conditions hazardous, particularly on more minor roads. At this stage we would urge everyone to be aware, keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared if you are travelling. And remember that ice can even form on roads which have been treated.”
Devon County Council’s army of more than 260 volunteer snow wardens are also being asked to be on alert and are being kept informed of the forecast to determine when they need to engage their self-help plans.
Devon County Council, Highways Agency and Devon and Cornwall Police are continuing to work together and are on alert to respond if conditions worsen. The situation is being closely monitored from control rooms.
Motorists are reminded of the following advice:
Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;
Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;
Drive with care and according to the conditions;
If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.
Follow @HughHOCC and @Devonroads on Twitter for road updates