Prepare for more ice and snow - Devon warned

DEVON residents are being warned to be prepared for more snow and ice tomorrow as the big freeze continues across Devon.

DEVON residents are being warned to be prepared for more snow and ice tomorrow as the big freeze continues across Devon.

North and West Devon have been hardest hit by snow today with up to three inches of snow, but main routes including the A39, A377, A361 and A386 all remain passable with care. There have been snow and sleet showers across the majority of the county today, although South Devon has missed the worst of the severe weather.

Devon County Council's fleet of gritters are on full alert again this evening as the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning, with more snow forecast overnight. East Devon could receive around four inches of snow overnight and temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing tomorrow.

All of Devon's 48 frontline and 36 gritters have been out throughout today and will be out in force right across the county this afternoon and into this evening carrying out another salting on 2,000 miles of the major and secondary routes of the pre-salting network. They will then respond to any snowfall overnight and are prepared to work constantly to keep the primary road network as clear as possible. However, minor roads and estate roads will remain untreated and will be treacherous.


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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "We've now had a prolonged period of freezing conditions so motorists must be aware that conditions could be difficult. Our highways teams are having to work around the clock to try to keep roads as clear as possible, and while they are working hard we have to remember it's not an easy task. Drivers must be extremely careful, even when driving on roads that have been salted."

Chris Cranston, Devon County Council's Highway Operations Manager, said: "This ongoing cold spell is making conditions extremely challenging and we expect travel to be particularly challenging in the morning especially in the north and east of the county. Avoid overnight travel and ensure that travel is only undertaken in the morning where it is safe to do so. The local radio and TV will have information on the latest conditions. Freezing temperatures will persist through tomorrow and ice will continue to be as much a problem as snow."

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Around 40 schools were closed in parts of the county today due to snow or the freezing conditions affecting the heating in classrooms. Schools included Bideford College, Holsworthy Community College, Georgeham C of E Primary, Ilfracombe College, Lapford Primary and Tavistock College.

Social Care services across the county are continuing despite the challenging conditions. The Council's residential homes are operating as normal, while the Council's Care Direct Plus teams have also reported business as usual.

Meals on wheels deliveries have been unable to reach to a small number of houses in the Holsworthy and Exmoor areas, but everyone affected has been contacted and alternative arrangements made. Independent care providers contracted by the Council to deliver home care have not reported any significant issues, and teams have been contacting people most at risk to make sure they're well. Additional cover is being put in place for this evening.

Elsewhere, day centres in the worst affected parts of the county have stayed closed, with day centre users contacted to ensure they're fine. Checks are also being made today to make sure that people have adequate food, drink, and heating, should services remain affected tomorrow.

Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:

*Avoid travel unless absolutely essential, especially at night 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 can wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice. In very cold weather even salting will not stop ice from forming;

*If you have to travel, take an emergency kit in your car (shovel, blanket, hot drink, torch, de-icer, boots, battery jump leads);

*Allow extra time for your journey and reduce your speed;

*Listen to local radio for updates on current conditions;

*Drive with care and according to the conditions and pay attentiont o changing conditions. Be ready to slow down and take more care particularly on bends and exposed roads.

For more information about Devon's road network contact 0845 1551004 or visit the website: www.devon.gov.uk/winter_travel

Alternatively for trunk road and motorway information call the 24 hour Highways Agency Information Line for live traffic reports (08457-504030) or listen to the latest reports online at www.trafficradio.org.uk

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