Keep Warm and Well this weekend as first wintry weather is due

We’re in for a cold and windy weekend, and there’s a risk of wintry showers in Norfolk too – although even if they do fall as snow we don’t think it will settle.

The gritters are going out for the first time this season at 10pm tonight on all county gritting routes, and they may be needed to go out over the weekend too. We grit more than 2,000 miles of Norfolk’s roads on our usual gritting runs (of which tonight is one), you can find out which roads are gritted here. Even gritted roads may well not have the same level of grip as a normal, non-icy road, so if you are making a journey, do make sure you drive to the conditions you’re presented with.

The Met Office has also got another weather warning out for gale force winds covering Norfolk, which begins at 5pm today and is currently due to last till 3pm tomorrow. Coastal areas are likely to be worst affected, with 60-70mph winds possible, but even inland 50-60mph wind speeds are predicted. Continue reading

Weather warning for high winds in Norfolk from 4pm today

The Met Office is warning that the east of England, including Norfolk, could be affected by gales this evening and overnight.

The yellow ‘be aware’ weather warning comes into effect from 4pm today and runs until 2am Wednesday morning. On its website, the Met Office is saying that gusts of between 50 and 60mph are likely, with up to 70mph winds possible.  Continue reading

Norfolk Winter is back and ready for whatever the elements have in store for us

Hi all, we’re back and blogging again for the new Norfolk Winter season.

From today (Monday 2 November) onwards and throughout the winter, daily updates and
useful advice will be shared using the #NorfolkWinter hashtag on TwitteNorfolk Winter Launch 023r – these appear as a feed on the right-hand side of this blog’s homepage. The ever-popular gritting updates, informing people if the council’s fleet of gritter lorries are needed, will appear every day from now on on Twitter and on the Norfolk Facebook page (

We’ll also update this blog with advice and information, particularly when the weather’s bad. It’s been a relatively mild autumn so far, so the gritters’ services haven’t been needed yet, and our expert weather forecasts bought by our highways team to help them plan their work suggests that conditions will remain similar for the next few weeks at least. Good news for all those who struggle during the winter.

If you’re a grit geek you can find information about which roads will be gritted this winter season on our website at More than 2,000 miles of Norfolk’s roads – over a third of the county’s network – are on Norfolk County Council’s regular gritting routes, including all A and B-class roads and some C-class roads (the A11, A47 and A12 are gritted by Highways England).

On the same page of our website, you can find the locations of the more than 1,800 grit bins in the county that will be filled by the County Council and which people can use on public pavements and roads.

Our gritting season officially got underway a couple of weeks ago, so our 51 gritter lorries are ready to hit the road on any given day or night and Norfolk County Council’s seven salt domes are stocked with more than 17,000 tonnes of salt. This will be replenished as it is used through a long-term contract the council has with its supplier Compass Minerals.

So we’re ready for the cold months ahead and want to make sure you are too. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll post up anything that will help you cope and hopefully enable you to have a happy, healthy and safe winter in Norfolk.

Alert to drivers as wintry weather sets in

With the first taste of ‘real’ winter being forecast for the next few days, Norfolk County Council’s salt stocks for treating roads are a healthy 15,000 tonnes – enough for up to 50 standard gritting runs.

So far this winter a see-saw pattern of often windy weather has kept the number of gritting runs down, with only 20 by mid January. Last winter (2013-14) was even milder – but forecasters now expect cold weather to set in over the weekend and through much of next week, with a risk of sleet and snow showers.

Nick Tupper, Norfolk County Council’s Highways Maintenance Manager, said drivers could well find themselves facing road conditions they had not encountered for nearly two years. He urged them to allow more time and take extra care.

“Even roads on the treated network can become icy. We try to get out early and have the roads salted before they can freeze, but weather conditions can make the timing of gritting runs very difficult. It’s pointless to put down salt during heavy rain, but roads can freeze quickly when skies clear. If gritters go out as soon as the rain stops, it will take up to three hours to complete the run.

“There’s always the chance that run-off from fields will freeze, even on treated roads, and of course many minor roads – over 60% of the network in fact – are not on the priority gritting routes. During cold snaps there’s always the chance that a shady corner will stay icy, and wet roads can quickly turn to black ice in the evening.

“It’s also a myth that snow won’t settle on treated roads. Heavy snow falling on a salted road causes a rapid drop in road surface temperature. Salt then becomes less effective at melting the snow and ice, so even treated roads can become snow covered. In time treated roads will clear down to the asphalt again, but it often takes the action of traffic – especially heavy vehicles – to speed up the process.”

The gritters have already been out tonight on all county gritting routes (you can find out which roads are on our gritting routes here) and will go out again at 4am and tomorrow afternoon.

Norfolk County Council gritting key facts 2014/15

• Total length of county highway network: 5,965
• Length of priority (1&2) gritting routes: 2,083 (37%)
• Number of gritting routes: 48
• Time taken for full treatment: 3 hours
• Average cost per action: £40,000 (including fixed costs).

• The Highways Agency treats the A11, A12, A47 trunk roads (143 miles)

In prolonged severe wintry weather, priority 3 roads are treated as resources allow. In snow, the council can call upon 90 farmers to snow plough local roads.

In addition there are over 1,800 grit bins around the county that have been filled by the County Council.

Salt supply
Norfolk County Council has a long-term contract with Salt Union to supply salt and maintain supplies above a minimum level.

At the start of the season the stocks in Norfolk are 17,180 tonnes, held in seven salt domes and one 5,000 tonne strategic reserve (Swaffham). This is sufficient for over 50 actions (at 15 grammes per square metre). There is a further 3,000 reserve held at Ellesmere Port, Lancs.

Salt Union are under contract to maintain the in-county stocks above a minimum level of 7,665 tonnes – about 24 actions.

Last winter
The 2013/14 winter was exceptionally mild but the wettest for over 100 years.  There were 65 gritting actions, using 15,679 tonnes of salt. The total cost (including fixed costs) was £3.5m. The average cost per action was almost £54,000.

The severe 2012/13 winter
In contrast, 2012/13 was a record winter for gritting actions. There were 159 altogether, using over 41,000 tonnes of salt between 27 October and 4 April.

Winter Wonderland Walks

Originally posted on Explore Norfolk Trails:

This winter season, we have picked out 12 of our favourite wintery walks – from 1 mile to 7.5 miles – to keep you active and enjoying our Norfolk Trails. There’s woodland walks, riverside rambles, clifftop and seafront strolls, history-themed hikes and marshland meanders.

For longer walks visit our website for Long Distance Trails and the Interactive Map.

Clicking on each walk title will take you to a map of the walk.

Clifftop and Seafront Strolls

To kick off our Winter Walks series is a very special stretch of coast, from Cromer to Sea Palling recently opened to the public as a new section of the Norfolk Coast Path (which makes up part of the England Coast Path).

Here are two short linear walks across clifftops and along sandy beaches. There’s nothing like wrapping up against the wind and breathing in the fresh sea air!

Happisburgh to Cart Gap

View original 1,771 more words

Weather warning issued for gales overnight

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for gales from just after midnight until 9am tomorrow (Friday).

Our local weather forecast for Norfolk suggests that gusts of up to 55mph are possible along the coast, slightly less ferocious inland but still strong. We’re also expecting heavy rain, particularly in the early hours of Friday morning, so it really will be quite horrible out there.

If you’re making a journey overnight and tomorrow morning, be aware that your journey could be disrupted, for example by fallen branches or standing water and spray on the roads. Put yourself under less pressure by allowing more time to get to your destination if possible.

Obviously this situation could change so do keep an eye on the Met Office website and listen to local radio stations. The weather should calm down a bit after 9am tomorrow and it looks like a day of sunshine and showers.

Stay safe tonight and batten down those hatches.