Anger over “pointless” gritting
09:00 28 December 2012
BEMUSED motorists were left scratching their heads when they came across gritting lorries putting down salt on Suffolk’s roads – while their in-car thermometers were telling them temperatures were well above freezing.
The county’s fleet of gritters hit the roads on Boxing Day evening after receiving an alert that things could freeze during the early hours of yesterday morning.
However by the time they were gritting, motorists’ car thermometers were registering temperatures of 7-8C and there was no sign of a freeze.
The A140 was gritted at about 8pm, and other roads in the area including the B1077 were gritted during the same run.
Temperatures never fell below 6C – and at the time the weather experts had warned there could be a freeze, the rain came down and washed all the salt away!
A spokeswoman for the county’s transport department said: “Our gritting teams were advised at 6pm that temperatures could fall to zero by 4am.
“As it happened the cloud arrived sooner than predicted, kept the temperatures well above freezing, and also brought the rain.
“But once the warning had come through, we had to be very careful and send the gritters out.”
However opposition leader David Wood felt the county should have taken more care before sending out its gritters.
He said: “The whole explanation sounds a bit lame. They should have checked with the Met Office first before they sent out the lorries – that must have cost a lot of money.
“I was watching the weather forecasts on Boxing Day and they never predicted any hint of frost – they were talking about it being wet and mild, which it was.”
The EADT’s weather, from Norwich based Weatherquest, got the forecast spot-on. On Boxing Day their forecast predicted the overnight temperatures across Suffolk would not fall below 5C as rain moved in.