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Cold snap continues to take grip
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Worcestershire County Council: There are possibilities of freezing fog, light snow or sleet during the night, with ice predicted to form on damp or wet surfaces when temperatures are below freezing.
Some sections of road identified as more hazardous will receive an additional early morning treatment from 4.30am.
Whilst gritting roads will help residents negotiating icy conditions, grit is by no means a miracle solution, and residents are urged to drive with caution, and never assume it's safe to travel at normal speeds even if they believe roads have been treated with grit.
To help people travelling this winter when freezing weather bites a number of tips have been put together. These include:
Before you set off on your journey, do you have:
• Anti-freeze in your cooling system?
• Screen wash additive in your windscreen washers?
• At least 1.6mm depth of tread and the correct air pressures in your tyres?
• Clean lenses on your headlights?
• Properly working heaters and demisters?
Planning your journey is vitally important in adverse conditions. Taking the following steps before you leave could prevent problems out on the roads:
• Check the local weather forecast.
• Check the driving conditions on your route with your local radio station.
• Take extra equipment with you, e.g. mobile phone, spade, towrope, torch, flask, warm and highly visible clothing and spare pieces of old carpet to place under your wheels for traction in case you get stuck in snow
• Make sure someone at your destination is expecting you at a certain time.
Adjust your driving to the conditions
Driving on ice or snow needs extra care:
• Use dipped headlights and drive more slowly than usual.
• Allow up to ten times your normal stopping distance.
• Keep your distance from vehicles ahead of you.
• To avoid skidding, brake very gently or ease off the accelerator early.
• If you have to abandon your vehicle try not to block the road; snow-ploughs, gritters and emergency vehicles may need to come past.
• Keep windscreens clean.
Here's one of organic apple orchards feeling a bit nippy this afternoon! http://t.co/0chQpXFc— @WestonsWyldWood 16 January 2013
Gritting crews will be covering all designated routes from 4pm this afternoon.
Worcestershire County Council is expecting road temperatures as low as -5C overnight as well as freezing fog in parts of the county during the first half of the night.
Darron Burness, head of the AA's severe weather team, said: "With the outlook remaining cold, drivers need to be prepared for possible disruption.
"Before heading out, check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports and allow a bit more time for your journey, as you don't want to rush on potentially icy roads.
"Do the basic checks on your car and, in case of any problems, carry plenty of warm clothing, blankets, de-icer and scraper, some food, hot flask and a fully-charged mobile."
Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre, said: "We advise drivers to check road conditions and the Met Office weather forecast before they set off and during severe weather to consider whether their journey is essential.
"They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.
"Our traffic officers are working round the clock to monitor the network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving."
Over the weekend we will see less severe conditions but further outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow are expected to push in from the west at times.
The snow that has fallen will be slow to melt and ice will continue to be a risk, especially at night.
By thinking ahead we can all be better prepared for severe weather.
Throughout the winter, the Met Office works with agencies across the UK to help keep the country safe, well and on the move.
Map: expected fresh #snow accumulation on Friday 18 January http://t.co/p39mYia7— @metoffice 16 January 2013
Met Office update: A band of rain will push into the west into Friday morning, turning increasingly to sleet and snow.
Parts of northwest England, Wales and the West Midlands are particularly at risk of seeing significant falls of snow and the risk of blizzard conditions in the strong winds.
Met Office Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for the heavy snow.
An amber warning is in place for parts of Wales and western England where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected and 20 cm or more over the hills.
Met Office weather warnings help you plan, prepare and protect yourself and others from the impacts of severe weather.
An amber warning means you need to be prepared for the weather and take steps to change your plans and protect you, your family and your community from the impacts of the severe weather.
Whilst snow will fall over most areas, the far west, including Northern Ireland, Cornwall and extreme western parts of Wales are expected to see rain.
Eddy Carroll, Met Office's chief forecaster, said: "The snow is expected to be heaviest through Friday morning, slowly weakening and clearing east during the second half of the day.
"Clearly there is the potential for significant disruption to peoples plans.
"We should all keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, advice from local agencies and be prepared to change our travel plans if necessary."
Amber Alert of Snow for West Midlands : Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford and Wr... http://t.co/qTZtEF9W— @metofficeWMids 16 January 2013
The Met Office has put the West Midlands on an amber weather warning between 4am and 6pm on Friday, meaning the region should be prepared for snow.
"As the weather breaks down, an area of snow looks increasingly likely to spread from the southwest.
Winds will strengthen and blizzard conditions are likely, especially over high ground.
Accumulations of more than 10-15 cm of snow could well occur quite widely, with the risk of 25 cm or more over high ground.
Clearly there is the potential for some severe disruption, and the public are advised to watch for updates to this warning and to be prepared to alter travel plans."
Ice, fog and now starting to snow in the Malvern Hills, take care out there #snow— @MHDCcomms 16 January 2013
West Mercia Police have received reports of several accidents on the roads due to the icy conditions overnight.
A spokesman for the force said there were not a many as yesterday and they continue to advise motorists to drive according to the conditions as well as following road safety advice.
"@metofficestorms: warnings for #UKsnow on Friday will be updated around noon including amber warnings for some regions. Watch this space."— @fergieweather 16 January 2013
It's freezing, so please check your pipes and water tanks are insulated. Make sure you know where the water stop is, in case a pipe bursts.— @myworcester 16 January 2013
The Met Office says there is the potential for a spell of snow to spread from the southwest on Friday.
As winds strengthen, blizzard conditions are a possibility, especially over high ground.
Accumulations of 2-5 cm are possible quite widely and in some locations, especially higher ground, 15 cm are possible.
The public should be aware of the possibility of travel disruption.
Yellow Alert of Snow for West Midlands : Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford and W... http://t.co/nQclZJEJ— @metofficeWMids 15 January 2013
The AA has told motorists to take measures to prepare for the cold weather and coming snow.
Darron Burness "The main problem is flat or failed batteries, as the car's electrical system has to work much harder in the cold.
"When you get in your car, switch off all the electrics before starting it - for example, blowers, lights and heated windscreen - and dip the clutch while starting to take some of the load off the starter motor and, in turn, the battery."
Minimum temps last night. #hereford takes the prize with -5c. -13c in Norfolk where there is snow cover - that's cold! http://t.co/fAUiEdkY— @DaveThroupEA 16 January 2013
A COLD snap will grip the country today - a bitter prelude to a weather system that will leave the UK covered in up to four inches of snow by the weekend.
Thermometers are set to plummet, with many parts of the country struggling to see temperatures rise above freezing.
Motorists will have to be wary as freezing fog that has formed overnight across the Midlands, East Anglia and central and southern England could make road conditions hazardous.
But while snowfall yesterday led to 42 schools being closed in Norfolk and all planes grounded at Norwich International Airport, overnight there was little more than a smattering of snow along the North Sea coast and down into Kent.
The lowest temperatures overnight were -12.7C at Braemar in Scotland and -12.1C at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association said.
Gemma Plumb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said it had been bitterly cold for much of the UK overnight - average temperatures were between -3C and -7C, and -3C in London - with worse to come.
"Most places are looking like they will be dry today, with some sunny spells around. But fog and low cloud could linger in places like the East Midlands and East Anglia, with further outbreaks of sleet and snow across parts of western Scotland," Ms Plumb said.
"But it is going to be very cold today, with many places struggling to see temperatures rising above freezing.
"Parts of Scotland, northern England, Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia will be looking at maximum temperatures of -1C or zero."
A weather front moving across the UK tomorrow night is set to bring the biggest snowfall of the winter.
Ms Plumb said: "At the moment we are looking at 5cm to 10cm (2in-4in) falling quite widely across the country on Friday, with more than that locally, especially across higher ground."