Yesterday saw one of the fiercest local snowstorms in recent memory blow through central and northern areas of Norfolk and the latest weather news is that we’re expecting more snow on the way.
It’s unlikely that there will be more than a few scattered snow showers tonight but it’s going to remain very cold, potentially dropping to as low as -10°C. However, snowfall is looking probable tomorrow night and the Met Office have issued a weather warning for snow on Friday, so make sure you’re as prepared as possible for this over the next couple of days.
The weekend is going to bring more snow, particularly during Saturday and temperatures aren’t looking like they’re going to creep above zero very much in the coming days so the current blanket of snow and ice could be here for a while yet. For a more detailed overview, check out the Met Office five-day forecast for your region by typing in your postcode.
The gritting teams have been out spreading salt at the maximum rate on the roads continuously since Monday afternoon and they will be continuing on runs throughout today. The Highways Agency grits the A11, A14 and A47 while Norfolk County Council is responsible for all other roads on the gritting routes. Remember, if you’re in any doubt which roads are gritted in Norfolk, check here and type your postcode into the map to find out where your nearest gritted road is.
But despite the hard work of the gritting crews some roads are still extremely slippery, with 60 accidents reported by police yesterday. If you’re out on the road at all over the coming days then we’d like to once again point you in the direction of our two-part interview with Manager of Casualty Reduction, Education and Development at Norfolk County Council, Iain Temperton, here and here.
A number of schools are closed today and there may be further closures tomorrow. Remember that you can sign up for Norfolk County Council’s school closure text and e-mail service to find out whether your child’s school is closed here and for a full list of schools on the website, check here. The decision on whether to close a school for the day lies with headteachers and they will decide first thing in the morning of that day based on the conditions, and update the council’s school closures website.
For some of us, it’s been a struggle to walk down our own driveway over the last couple of days, let alone down the road to get to the shops or catch the bus.
And with the snow looking likely to stick around for some time yet it’s unlikely to get any easier. If you’re able bodied and want to make your own property or public paths safer to walk on, here’s some advice, courtesy of the Department of Transport, on how to go about it:
1. Be an early bird. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, the warmth of any sunshine during the day can help melt any ice beneath, so moving snow and ice earlier in the day makes the job of clearing the drive easier and more thorough. Plus it’s much less effort to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it.
2. A spoonful of salt helps the snow go down. Once you’ve cleared the area of snow, spread some ordinary table or dishwasher salt on the area – usually a tablespoon per square metre does the trick. If you do this before nightfall it will stop the snow refreezing overnight. Salt helps melt snow and, crucially, it is very good at preventing black ice, which is invisible and very slippery.
3. Use a gritty substitute. If you don’t have enough salt then you can use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as effectively as salt, but they do provide good grip underfoot.
4. Water and snow don’t go. Water shouldn’t be used to clear snow and ice, so as tempting as it may be to get the kettle out and boil what’s on your driveway – don’t. If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice, making the pathway more dangerous than it already was.
5. An added uphill task. Steps and steep pathways get particularly slippery so if your driveway is on a slope then you’ll need to pay extra attention to clearing snow and ice from these areas, and use more salt than usual too.
6. Gritting bins are for public paths. Salt in salting bins is needed to keep the roads and pavements clear and safe so please don’t take any of the salt out of them to treat your own driveway. This is actually an act of theft, so you might get into trouble.
7. Mind the greenery. It’s easy to forget about your garden when it’s covered under a layer of snow but take care when spreading salt not to get it on plants or grass as it can damage them.
8. A path to success. The best way of clearing your driveway is to make a path down the middle of the area so you have a clear surface to walk on, then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
9. Watch where you’re shovelling. Take care where the snow is going when you’re shovelling it out of the way that it doesn’t block other people’s paths or drains, and obviously you shouldn’t shovel snow and ice from pathways onto roads.
10. Love thy neighbour. If your neighbour has difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather – particularly those that live on their own. If you’re worried about them, try contacting their friends and relatives or, if necessary, the local council.
We couldn’t possibly publish this post without paying tribute to those who have helped keep Norfolk moving over the past few days.
Firstly, great thanks go to the tireless team of gritter drivers who have been in constant action since Sunday and worked very long shifts to keep roads as safe as possible, and the bus and coach drivers, some of whom braved difficult conditions and long delays to get people home safely.
Great praise should also go to all those volunteer gritting teams working in towns such as Swaffham who, with the help of the local town and district councils and the county council, have helped grit car parks and pavements in key areas in various areas in Norfolk.
And last but by no means least, a hearty well done to all the Norfolk residents who have helped each other out on the roads, and assisted with clearing ice outside businesses and homes. The goodwill of these people is making life easier for thousands of others. If you were one of these people, then we salute you.
With the weather promising to continue in the same vein over the coming days please do take extra care while you’re out and about, whether you’re on the road or travelling on foot.
We’ll continue to update the blog with weather-related news and for ways to make your life easier and less stressful while snow remains on the ground and in the air.
Travel safely and wrap up warm!