Snow ploughs and snow blowers have been busy clearing snow in parts of North Devon today (Wednesday 28 February) as Devon County Council works round the clock to keep the county moving.
Exmoor and Ilfracombe were hardest hit overnight – the A361, A399, A39, A3123, B3343 were all affected by snow but were all passable with care. Additional gritting and snow clearance was carried out on these routes by the County Council.
The B3223 Brendon Common was closed this morning due to heavy snow of up to 20cm in depth, which the Council cleared by early afternoon and is passable with care.
Tonight is expected to be the coldest night of the year so far with road surface temperatures expected to plummet as low as -8.5C.
Snow showers are forecast to be more widespread across Devon tomorrow, and they could be heavy in places. The Met Office has issued an Amber warning of the risk of up to 20cm countywide, with the possibility of 50cm on high ground of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Snowfall is expected to start in the south from around dawn and spread north throughout the course of the day. Conditions could become more disruptive to travel as the day progresses.
Secondary gritting routes are again being treated by the County Council, and repeated treatments will be carried out on the main gritting network this evening and into the early hours of tomorrow.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “There was some travel disruption across the north of the county this morning but our teams responded well to clear the snow that was causing any issues. Every available resource is being used to grit our main routes again this afternoon and overnight to give our roads the best possible chance of dealing with the risk of snow which is forecast from the early hours of tomorrow. Snow is expected to start in the south and move northwards, so the whole county could be impacted at different times of the day and conditions are expected to become more challenging as the day progresses.
“If your journey is essential we would urge you to take extra care, check local travel bulletins and weather forecasts before setting out and make sure you have essential kit in your vehicle such as warm clothing, a blanket, shovel, food and drink. With a deteriorating situation during the day, consider when you will need to leave to get home safely.”
Devon’s snow wardens volunteers have also been alerted to monitor conditions and react according to their own plans.
Although snow ploughs, tractors and other additional resources were deployed to the Haldon/Telegraph Hill forward control point by Devon County Council, Highways England and Devon and Cornwall Police ahead of this morning’s peak period, they weren’t needed. However, teams are due to be in place again from mid-morning tomorrow.
Devon County Council is reminding people 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;
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. NHS Choices has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications
• Check out any school closures and sign up for alerts for any school by clicking on ‘Alert Me’.
For more information and travel advice from Devon County Council visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter_travel or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert