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Gritters head out as freezing conditions return

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Devon is braced for a return to freezing conditions this week, and people are being warned about the risk of ice overnight and into tomorrow morning.

Our gritters will be carrying out multiple treatments on all of the county’s main precautionary gritting routes this afternoon and then again overnight from 2am. Around 14 miles of cycle routes around Exeter will also be treated at 7pm tonight.

Road surface temperatures are set to be sub-zero right across Devon, and they could drop below -7C in mid Devon this evening.

Following the recent heavy rainfall, surface water is still a problem on many roads and this could turn to ice, particularly on untreated routes. There is also the possibility of wintry showers on higher ground.

The Met Office has issued a Yellow Weather Warning for ice, mainly in south and west Devon, from midnight tonight until 9am tomorrow morning.

With freezing temperatures expected to remain across the county throughout this week, Devon’s volunteer snow wardens are being advised to be ready to treat their priority routes in their local communities.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:

“The return to colder conditions this week comes straight off the back of extremely wet weather, so water on the highway could freeze, leaving icy patches on roads and pavements. Untreated routes could be particularly treacherous tomorrow morning as temperatures are due to remain below freezing into the morning peak travel time.

“Our gritters will be treating over 2,000 miles of Devon’s road network this afternoon and overnight, but please be aware of the possibility of icy conditions. Allow extra time for your journey, drive according to the conditions and take extra care.”

Problems with ice on the road, standing water and other issues such as potholes can be made via our Report a Problem webpage but please check on the website if the issue has already been reported.

We’re reminding everyone of the following advice:

• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
• Allow additional time for your journey;
• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions;
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. The NHS website has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications.

For more information and travel advice visit our winter travel webpages or for updates follow @DevonAlert on Twitter and Facebook.