WEATHER WARNING: Temperatures set to plummet

BREAKING NEWS: Gritters out in force as icy conditions forecast overnight (Tuesday, January 18).

WIDESPREAD icy conditions are forecast to return across Devon overnight (Tuesday, January 18).

Devon County Council’s gritters will be treating around 1,700 miles of the county’s main routes this evening and in the early hours of the morning, as road surface temperatures are expected to drop below -5C.

Run-off from the recent heavy rainfall is likely to turn to ice, and the County Council is warning that driving conditions could be hazardous, particular off the main precautionary salting network.

Residents are being advised to take extreme care when travelling, as ice may possibly form, even on treated roads.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We’ve had a period of relatively mild weather, so people need to be alert to this return of freezing conditions and the potential for ice. The forecast isn’t for an immediate return to a prolonged big freeze but it will be enough to pose a risk for icy conditions, especially following the amount of rain we’ve had over the last few days.”

Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:

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• 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.

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