Wintry weather is on the way
WINTRY weather is well on the way and forecasters have warned people across north Essex to wrap up warm.
Motorists are also being urged to travel with caution this weekend.
The start of a snowy spell will begin this evening and last for much of the night, with up to 5cm expected to fall in parts of the region.
Jim Bacon, of Norwich-based forecasters Weatherquest, said the inclement conditions were down to cold winds coming in from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
He said: “Tonight we will have some snow which will affect more eastern parts of the county. This will be full-on proper snowy stuff and the main period at risk will be the early hours of tomorrow morning - that will be a problem as it will slow things down on the road.
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“There will be a small number of centimetres - three or four, or perhaps even five.”
Mr Bacon said the wintry weather was not unusual for this time of year.
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He added: “If you look at the statistics it’s more likely to snow at Easter than at Christmas, especially when you have an early Easter like this year.
“One of the problems we are having this year is the cold North Sea. The temperature is below normal and we are having some winds coming in from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia which are not warming up as they come in off the sea.
“We’ll be having some much colder nights next week - they could be quite chilly and with frosts in the morning.”
Meanwhile, the Essex Highways fleet of 60 winter gritting lorries is ready to treat roads across the county as required. Decisions will be taken across the weekend based on the latest weather forecasts.
Residents can keep up to speed with salting decisions and follow the lorries online, thanks to the live tracking system available at essex.gov.uk/highways. Each gritting lorry has been fitted with a GPS tracker, which means residents can track the gritting lorries in real-time as they go along their specified routes.
Residents can also receive the latest salting updates by following @Essex_Travel on Twitter.
County councillor Derrick Louis, cabinet member for Highways & Transportation, said: “Freezing conditions are back on the forecast for this weekend, so again I am urging residents to travel with extra caution, especially on untreated side roads and pavements.
“Our gritting lorries are on standby, and decisions on salting runs will be take across the weekend as required.”
So far this winter Essex Highways’ gritting lorries have covered enough mileage to go seven times around the world, spreading over 26,000 tonnes of salt (the same weight as 156 blue whales).
Essex Highways is required to focus resources on keeping major roads clear, so it operates a specified salting network. This includes all ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, access routes for emergency services, rural link roads and major public transport routes. To check which routes will be treated, visit essex.gov.uk/highways.
The website also features tips and advice on winter driving and how to clear snow and ice safely.