Bad Weather Warning For South Coast
With weather forecasters predicting wind and heavy rain overnight, followed by a sharp drop in temperatures, salting vehicles are being loaded ready to run and extra emergency response teams have been mobilised, to be on stand-by for dealing with fallen branches or trees, local flooding and blocked drains.
The forecast is for a combination of heavy rain followed by a drop in temperature caused by a change in wind direction for the end of the night.
The prospect of ice, slush and snow in the early hours of tomorrow morning, following heavy overnight rain presents particularly difficult conditions for the highways teams to deal with.
Councils say timing is crucial, as salting the roads too early will mean that all the salt will be washed away and therefore be ineffective at dealing with ice and snow.
Starting too late will mean potentially difficult driving conditions for the morning rush hour, with the prospect of salting lorries being stuck in traffic.
Therefore salting vehicles will be loaded up and ready to go before first light tomorrow, as soon as the temperatures start to drop. It does however take between two and three hours to salt all the Priority one routes, so extra care is needed tomorrow, as even the main routes may not all be treated before the start of the morning traffic peak.
If there is snow, it is likely to fall on higher ground, probably around dawn, however there is a possibility of slush forming on lower level roads.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said:
"If the forecast is correct, Hampshire is in for some wet and cold weather tonight and our highways teams are preparing for a busy night.
"We'll have emergency teams ready to deal with fallen trees and flooded roads, salting vehicles ready to go as soon as the temperatures fall, and we are working closely with our colleagues in Emergency Planning, and with the police and the Environment Agency.
"I would ask residents to take particular care if they are setting off early to work tomorrow as it seems likely that this is the time the road surface temperatures will drop after a night of heavy rain.
"Our salting lorries will be out as soon as the rain has stopped, but it looks like the early morning period could be potentially difficult on the roads.
"I'd also ask residents to remember that using salt from the grit bins tonight could be a waste as it may well be washed away before the ice or snow appear.
"Ice is expected to form in the morning, possibly combined with wet snow or slush, so this would be the best time to spread salt on public roads and pavements."