North Yorkshire County Council’s gritting fleet is gearing up to deal with expected heavy snowfall across much of the county during rush hour today.
Snow showers are expected to become more frequent and heavier as the afternoon wears on with significant accumulations developing during the evening and into the night and throughout Saturday. Up to 10 centimetres of snow is expected to fall in places by Saturday morning and up to 15 cm above 200m.
A brisk south easterly wind inland from Eastern costs is also likely to cause drifting, with snow drifts several feet deep possible in exposed locations. Wind chill will be a major factor for anyone out in the open as well, with temperatures close to, or below freezing throughout the weekend.
Road users are therefore urged to take great care when driving and plan extra time for any necessary journeys today and over the weekend. Commuters driving home this evening are also urged to take every precaution as conditions could be particularly hazardous. Motorists travelling into upland areas should be particularly vigilant.
The county council’s priority during such extreme weather is to keep main traffic routes treated and passable, followed by other important routes. The county council’s gritters and farmer contractors will be out throughout the evening and around the clock to ensure that all main roads are ploughed and well salted and generally clear.
However, cold temperatures mean that lying snow overnight will not readily clear and hence compacted snow and ice will be a widespread problem for motorists and pedestrians. When road temperatures fall below -5 centigrade, grit is far less effective. During the current cold snap road surface temperatures have been as low as -10.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:
We are expecting increasingly challenging wintry conditions in parts of the county as the day progresses. Our gritters will be out clearing the roads continually, but due to the very cold temperatures falling snow will accumulate in places, despite our best efforts.
People must therefore take great care; allow extra time for their journeys, only travel if necessary and make sure they travel with a supply of warm clothes and plenty of fuel.