Gritters out as freezing road temperatures forecast

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A Wiltshire Council gritting lorry at its Chippenham base. Picture: @WiltshireWinter


GRITTING lorries are out in Wiltshire tonight as road temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing.

Wiltshire Council says its primary network is now being treated.

This includes roads in and out of Chippenham, Malmesbury, Devizes, Salisbury, Cricklade, Royal Wootton Bassett, Marlborough and Calne.

Drivers are asked to consider whether journeys are necessary and pedestrians whether they have adequate clothing and footwear before setting out.

The council says:

  • When driving, travel slowly, at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and no harsh braking or steering
  • When driving, always use dipped headlights when visibility is poor
  • It is better to travel a little further on a main road that has been treated with salt than to use untreated minor roads

It adds that:

  • No guarantee can be given that roads will always be completely clear of ice or snow and it takes time for salt to become effective after roads are salted
  • Rain can wash salt off roads leaving them prone to re-icing and in severe cold weather with temperatures below -8˚C, salt will not be as effective on icy roads
  • ‘Dawn Frost’ occurs on dry roads when early morning dew falls on cold road surfaces and freezes on impact
  • If raining, salting will commence when rain stops, to avoid salt from being washed away
  • Even the most carefully organised procedures can suffer setbacks or mechanical breakdowns so some salting routes may not be treated as quickly as programmed.

The Met Office has not issued a yellow weather warning for Wiltshire and Swindon but says: “Temperatures will fall sharply under clear spells after dark allowing some icy patches to form, especially where showers have fallen during Saturday daytime and where showers occur during Saturday evening and night.”

Forecasters say that in Swindon although the temperature will only briefly dip below freezing on Sunday it will feel as cold as -5C during the day because of north-east winds of up to 17mph, which will gust up to 33mph.

In Devizes the wind could reach 18mph in the early afternoon, also gusting up to 33mph, while temperatures will only briefly rise to 4C, mainly feeling like -2C to -5C.

In Chippenham the temperature will rise after 11am to about 4C but will feel like -1C in the 15mph north-east winds which will gust up to 32mph.

For more information on the roads Wiltshire Council treats click here

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