Our gritters will be going out from 6pm tonight (7pm in Norwich) on all usual county gritting routes. We grit around a third of Norfolk’s roads, including all A and B-class roads, and Highways England grit the A11, A47 and A12. However, this means that many more minor routes are not gritted and even gritted routes may not have the same grip as a normal, non-icy road, so allow more time if you’re making any journeys overnight or tomorrow morning and take extra care.
We’ve had subzero temperatures for a number of nights on the trot now, and the days haven’t been exactly balmy, so please remember to check on any older or vulnerable people in your life who may struggle during colder weather. This one-minute video suggests some simple things you can do to help keep someone who is vulnerable safe and well this winter.
We’re advising everyone to keep a close eye on the weather forecast over the next few days and be ready to react, as stormy and wintry weather is expected to arrive in the county from tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.
In addition to the prospect of snow, strong winds and low temperatures are also forecast over the next few days, with wind chill making it feel even colder. Road surface temperatures are due to dip below freezing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and therefore any rain or wintry showers that fall are likely to freeze, which could lead to icy roads, pavements and cycle paths and make journeys treacherous.
Norfolk County Council’s gritting teams are going out at 7pm tonight (Wednesday) on all
usual county gritting routes and are standing by to go out again at 3am if necessary as road surface temperatures are due to fall to around freezing across Norfolk overnight, with rain and sleet likely tomorrow. The gritters are ready to go out as often as required over the next few days.
Welcome to the Norfolk Winter blog, which we’ll once again be updating regularly with information that to help you and those around you stay healthy, happy and safe during the colder months.
It seemed an apt day to start blogging again, sandwiched as we are between the coldest night so far this season last night (temperatures got down to around minus five degrees celsius in some places I believe) and 1st December tomorrow, which a lot of people think of as the official start of winter.
Remember, you can stay up to date with when our gritters are going out on social media – we tweet a daily update using the #norfolkwinter hashtag and also let you know what our gritters are doing every day on our Norfolk Facebook page. If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you can see our latest #norfolkwinter tagged tweets, including gritting updates, on the homepage of this blog, www.norfolkwinter.com.
You might have seen or heard reports of the Met Office predicting a colder winter than normal – this needs to be taken with some caution as they say themselves the accuracy of forecasting the weather beyond five days is very difficult. At present, the Met Office is saying that the end of December is likely to be colder than average across the UK, but they can’t provide any more localised information than that.
Looking forward to giving you lots of useful advice and information over the next few months – we’ll try our best to make this winter as easy as possible for everyone.
We’ve created a page on our website about Christmas and New Year opening times for our buildings and services. While most of our services will be closed on the weekends and bank holidays, some of our staff such as social workers, firefighters and potentially gritting teams, if needed, will be working throughout the festive period.
Our libraries will be closed from 5pm on Christmas Eve and will reopen on Tuesday, 29 December. Some of our museums will also be open between Christmas and New Year if you want a break from turkey sandwiches and board games.
We don’t organise roadside bin collections, these are done by Norfolk’s seven district councils, but remember your normal bin days may well change over Christmas and New Year. To find out when you need to drag your bin out over the next couple of weeks, click here.
Finally, don’t forget that the NHS is often under a lot of strain at this time of year so remember to get all your medications and repeat prescriptions to help keep you well and if you do need advice or medication, consider going to your local pharmacy in the first instance. There’s a list of Norfolk pharmacies that will be open on the bank holidays here.
Help yourself and your loved ones stay well – and help the NHS at what is a very busy for them – by making sure you have the right medicines and other supplies to see you through the Christmas and New Year period.
Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.
Most pharmacies will be open between Christmas and New Year and some will be open on the bank holidays, including Christmas Day. Pharmacists can provide advice, over-the-counter medicines and fulfil repeat prescriptions. Find out which Norfolk pharmacies are open on bank holidays here.
It’s also important to make sure your medicine cabinet or kit contains all the essential items, such as:
painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, including versions for children (if there are any children in the house)
over-the-counter cough, cold, flu and indigestion remedies
Our next slipper swap event is coming up this Friday, where people can swap their old, worn slippers for a new, slip-resistant pair.
The events, which we run with Age UK, are particularly aimed at those people who might be at risk of falling and injuring themselves. For older people in particular, a fall can mean broken bones and a stay in hospital. Good, well-fitting slippers won’t entirely prevent someone from falling of course, but old slippers without much grip could contribute to a fall.
Friday’s slipper swap event will take place between 10am and midday and is at the Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road in Norwich, NR3 2LD. People who go can also find out about the support and some of the services that are available designed to keep people cope through the winter.
Another slipper swap is scheduled for Thursday, 17 December from 11.30am to 1.30pm at Witard Road Baptist Church, Witard Road, Norwich, NR7 9XD.
There’s more information and advice about staying warm and well through the winter on our website too. More slipper swap events are due to take place after Christmas and the details will go up here when they’re confirmed.
Do you work for a charity or run a voluntary group? You can apply now for a grant of up to £1,000 for projects designed to help vulnerable people in Norfolk who face particular hardship over the winter months.
The money is being made available from Norfolk County Council’s Warm and Well Fund. The kind of projects that are eligible for funding could include activities that help to reduce isolation for older and disabled people, provide a hot meal or warm clothing, or help vulnerable people to access local services and information that may prevent a crisis situation arising. The grants are available for projects that run during the winter months only.
Interested? There’s more information on the Warm and Well Fund here, including how to apply and who to contact if you have any questions.