Snow falling in North Somerset
By thepickler | Monday, January 30, 2012, 09:05
IT is snowing in North Somerset at the moment, but there is no sign of it staying around for long.
Are we likely to see a return of last winter's snowy weather?
Snow started to fall across the district last night, but as yet does not seem to be settling.
Gritters were out last night and are on stand-by in North Somerset to treat the district's roads as winter conditions grip the west.
The authority's fleet of six gritters have already been out salting the roads this week as temperatures plummet.
Highways teams carried out a full grit of the roads on Sunday night, which covered 29.2 per cent - 200 miles - of North Somerset's road network.
The specialist lorries drop salt at 20 grams per square metre and 30 tonnes of salt - the weight of more than four empty double decker London buses - is used each night.
Each lorry has a tracking system providing data about its location, how much salt it has dispersed and how fast it travelled.
Salting is kept mainly to priority routes including the A370, A369 and the A38, but other roads can be treated if deemed necessary.
As well as the main salting, contractors also treat '********s' on main routes where there is a risk that surface water will turn into ice.
Staff are now gearing up for further salting of the district's roads following forecasts temperatures could plummet as low as minus five.
A decision on whether to salt the roads is based on the temperatures rather than air temperatures.
Special devices are fitted into the road surface to monitor the road temperatures and the council gets detailed reports from the Met Office when severe weather is expected.
A decision on whether to salt the roads is taken on a daily basis.
North Somerset Council has tripled its salt supplies to cope in the event of a repeat of last year's harsh winter weather.
Last year saw one of the harshest winters for some years, with heavy snowfall across the district and some routes becoming inpassable.
Now authority highways bosses have more than tripled the supplies from 600 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes which is being stockpiled at a new, bigger store in Sandford.
They say the supplies of salt will be enough to get the authority through an 'average' winter and that by upping its own stocks, North Somerset will be less reliant on the national supply chain.
The forecast for the next few days is that it will remain cloudy across the south west with further spells of rain, sleet and snow.
Temperatures during the day are expected to hover at just above freezing, while night time temperatures could fall as low as minus three.