Falling temperatures may see council’s 24 hour on-call gritting team spring into action

Snow falling in Woolpit on the morning of January 14 - photo by Pamela Bidwell

Snow falling in Woolpit on the morning of January 14 - photo by Pamela Bidwell - Credit: citizenside.com

Gritters are on standby in Suffolk 24 hours a day ready to head out onto the county’s roads in the event of serious wintery weather.

Dozens of operatives are ready to spring into action should temperatures turn colder and roads require gritting – or even clearing of snow.

While many parts of the country are starting to see heavier falls of the white stuff in recent days Suffolk has so far experienced only a few isolated flurries – like in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Woolpit yesterday.

And even though blizzards and snow drifts are unlikely the colder temperatures could cause ground frosts and tricky driving conditions over the next few days.

Adam Dury, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said this was the more likely scenario for much of the county and East Anglia.

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“For Friday it’s looking like we’ll be pretty dry and sunny, but frosty at first,” he said, adding overnight the lows could be around -2C (28F).

“I don’t think there’s really any risk of snow.”

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Mr Dury also said it would be a similar story on Friday night into Saturday morning with daytime temperatures of around 4C (39F).

Referring to the snow experienced in the north of the country yesterday Mr Dury said: “The stuff working down from there, you might see the occasional flurry of snow but it’s not going to accumulate.”

Next week will start cold before warmer air returns to the east of the country on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Whatever the weather throws at Suffolk though the county’s council is ready to deal with – whatever the time of day or night.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Suffolk Highways monitors the weather and operate a rota system throughout the winter season ensuring that operational staff are available 24 hours a day.

“During any 24 hour period, over 40 people are on standby, including 36 gritter drivers on the end of the phone should there be a need to grit the county’s roads.

“If the weather deteriorates to such a degree that multiple treatments are needed or snow is forecast, Suffolk Highways have access to over 100 approved winter service drivers to keep the roads free from snow and ice.

“This enables us to undertake salting and/or snow clearance on its primary winter network of roads continuously 24 hours a day, if required.”

The spokesman said further resources were available to take on snow clearance on more minor roads if required and that all details of its gritting activities would be published on the @suff_highways Twitter feed.

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