Drivers are being urged to remain vigilant and be prepared before setting out on journeys after Highways England issued a further severe weather alert covering large parts of the country and lasting until Friday morning (2 March).
Highways England issued its latest amber ‘be prepared’ alert – covering the East, South East, South West and Midlands – at 3pm today (Wednesday 28 February). Strong easterly winds are expected to take a band of snow into parts of the South East and South West from 6am tomorrow morning (Thursday 1 March) with the snow then moving north into the Midlands and parts of the East. The band of snow will result in snow drifts in places but will also leave rain and icy conditions in its wake ahead of Friday morning’s rush hour.
While accumulations of between 2cm and 5cm of snow are expected, higher routes could experience between 10cm and 13 cm. The strong winds could also cause drifting from snow already laying in fields as well as from snow showers.
The current amber alert for the North East is expected to be lifted by noon tomorrow but light snow showers are set to persist into Friday. The A66 between the M6 in Cumbria and A1 in County Durham is likely to remain closed until tomorrow afternoon.
Highways England’s salt spreading and ploughing teams will continue to work around the clock to treat roads and keep traffic moving.
A convoy of salt spreaders and snow ploughs is pictured out on the M1 in the East Midlands this afternoon helping to keep motorway drivers on the move.
Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, said:
“Our gritting teams have been out treating the roads throughout the day and will continue to spreading salt 24 hours a day to keep the roads moving.
“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel if they really need to travel. You should avoid driving during heavy snow if at all possible.
“Our advice is to keep your distance and reduce your speed because, even in conditions that seem normal and when the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway.”
Nicola Maxey from the Met Office said:
“It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the latest Met Office forecast and warnings for your area to ensure you’re up to date with the latest situation.
“You can do this by checking the Met Office website for the daily forecast or our warnings page, or you could download our weather app which will ensure you can keep up to date while you are out and about. With the latest weather information for your area, you will be able to prepare for what is in store and plan your activities accordingly.”