Region braces itself for deep freeze

Joseph Bulmer

Severe weather warning issued for Devon

DEVON residents are being advised to be prepared for snow and ice which is forecast over the next few days.

The Met Office has issued a warning of wintry showers of rain, sleet and snow across Devon overnight and into the weekend. The cold snap has raised concerns at the risk of icy patches on roads and motorists are being asked to take extreme care when travelling in the county, as ice can form even on treated roads.

Temperatures dropped to as low as -5C in the East of the county overnight and there was snow on the A388 at Holsworthy this morning.

More snow is expected to fall on higher ground later, with snow showers possible tonight and into the weekend.

With freezing temperatures forecast again tonight, Devon County Council said its fleet of gritters was already out in force across Devon and would be treating around 1,700 miles on all of the county’s 48 salting routes this afternoon until around 7pm.

“They will return to most routes between 3am and 4am and then carry out further inspections in the morning,” said a spokesman.

The Highways Agency’s fleet of gritters was out yesterday afternoon treating 170 miles of Devon’s strategic road network and was on stand by throughout the night ready to carry out additional runs when needed. The Agency also has snow ploughs ready to deal with any significant accumulations.

The county council has been liaising with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Highways Agency over the potential of putting their joint Haldon Response Plan into effect. Should the need arise, spotters will initially be deployed to monitor road and weather conditions before a Forward Command Point is established to decide what action, if any, is needed to keep traffic flowing on Haldon and Telegraph Hills.

Schools across the county have also been alerted to the possibility of snow next week.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “This is the first real threat of snow that we have had this winter and we are as prepared as we can be. Salt barns are full to the brim with 25,000 tonnes of salt and we are as committed as ever to keep Devon moving.

“The forecast for snow is earlier than in the past couple of years, and there is a chance of disruption in the county over the next seven days.

“I’m sure we have all learnt lessons from the last two harsh winters and I trust that people across Devon are prepared for bad weather and take adequate precautions.”

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