Heavy snow forecast for Devon

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By PGStrange | Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 23:46

MOTORISTS ARE being urged to take care this morning as snow - some heavy - is forecast for the region. The Met Office has issued an amber snow warning for mid, north and east Devon. And Tweets are coming in that snow has already started falling in some areas. The snow is light in Exmouth, but heavier elsewhere...

Devon County Council, the Highways Agency, and Devon and Cornwall Police are advising drivers to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they set out.

A planned closure from the Daisymount Junction to the junction of the A30/C832 near Junction 29 of the M5 will now not take place due to expected severe weather.

Snow reported to be falling

Tweets have started coming in, reporting that snow is now falling. It's light in Exmouth,  Exeter and Bovey Tracey, but heavier in Honiton and Crediton.

Devon County Council is warning that conditions on the local highway network will be challenging as rain throughout much of yesterday has washed salt from the roads.

Overnight the council's 37 gritters have been treating around 1,700 miles of the precautionary salting network and are planning to work around the clock, with further treatments taking place at 3am.

Amber alert

The Met Office has issued an amber alert, forecasting that there may be up to 10cm of snow on higher ground. Snow could also be widespread across East and North Devon and there is a risk of ice later this morning.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for motorways and major A roads, has also issued an amber alert. If conditions are poor and journeys are not essential drivers are advised to think about delaying until conditions improve and allowing the winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.

The Highways Agency has been working round the clock to keep traffic moving and its fleet of snow ploughs and salt spreaders will continue to treat the 170 miles of the strategic road network in the county whenever there is a risk of ice or snow.

Potential for heavy snow

Vehicles were deployed to Haldon Hill, Telegraph Hill and the North Devon Link Road yesterday afternoon, gearing up for the potential of heavy snow. A "Forward Command Point" was established at Haldon Hill and Telegraph Hill to monitor conditions.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "The mix of rain, sleet and snow is making it difficult for our highways teams and travelling conditions could become hazardous, particularly during rush hour this morning.

"Even though temperatures may not be as low as we've had recently, everyone should be prepared for the possibility of travel disruption and plan their journey accordingly. Please keep an eye on the forecast, be alert to the conditions and allow extra time for your journey, and avoid unnecessary travel."

Road accidents

There were a number of road accidents yesterday due to the extreme conditions. The incidents included several vehicles spinning off the A38, on the Exeter-bound carriageway, between Manadon and Marsh Hills near Plymouth. Late last night it was reported that a man injured in one of the accidents has now died. The police have said that the incidents on the A38  - five in all - may have been caused by freezing road conditions.

Advice for motorists

  • 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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