Tuesday 17 January 2023
Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice
With the return of the cold weather, the Met Office has issued two yellow severe weather warnings covering Devon and our neighbouring counties in the South West.
It means that there's a likely chance that snow and ice will cause some disruption, particularly on untreated roads, cycle paths and pavements.
The recent very wet weather, combined with sub-zero temperatures overnight this week, mean that any water on the roads will freeze, causing difficult driving conditions due to icy stretches. There is also the possibility of wintry showers on higher ground.
Our gritters will continue carrying out multiple treatments on all 2,000 miles of the county’s main precautionary gritting routes and around 14 miles of cycle routes around Exeter. Devon’s volunteer snow wardens are being advised to be ready to treat their priority routes in their local communities.
Travelling during cold weather
Winter weather can make driving conditions difficult and cause problems on our roads.
Issues such as ice, standing water and potholes can be reported via our Report a Problem webpage, but please check on the website if the issue has already been reported.
If you have to travel on our roads during this cold spell, please remember:
- never assume a road has been salted. 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
- 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 from our Network Operations Control Centre, follow @DevonAlert on Twitter and Facebook.
Being cold can risk your health
With the cost of living increasing, it's tempting to try and ride out the cold weather to avoid spending too much on heating.
But for some people, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, being cold can be harder for their bodies to manage. For example, the cold puts more pressure on our hearts and circulation and can therefore increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack, as well as hypothermia.
Heat your home to a temperature that's comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, such as your living room and bedroom. This is particularly important if you have a health condition. It's best to keep your bedroom windows closed at night, and remember that wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.
The NHS website has lots of useful information about staying well during the winter.
We're working to keep you moving
With the arrival of another cold spell, our gritting teams are out in force treating roads on Devon's primary, secondary and precautionary salting routes.
We've previously published a special edition of this newsletter about our winter gritting service.
It tells you how we make the decision for gritters to go out, and when and where we salt. It includes advice about driving on icy or wet roads, and invites you to find out what you could do as a snow warden to help keep your local roads clear of ice or snow. If you missed it, you can read it online.
Staying warm safely
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is asking you to stay warm safely and not put yourself at risk this winter.
If you're using a portable heater to heat a small area, be aware that they can be a serious fire hazard. Heaters should always be placed at least one metre away from curtains, bedding and upholstery (never dry washing on them!) and switched off and unplugged before you go out or go to bed. An oil-filled radiator is the safest type of portable heater as they don’t have any exposed heating elements.
If you have an open fire or wood burner, make sure you have your chimney swept and only burn seasoned wood. Other wood may have moisture which can create tar in the chimney, which is highly flammable and can lead to chimney fires.
You should have working smoke alarms on every level of your home so you’re alerted quickly in the event of a fire. It's also recommended that you have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where fuel is burnt (this includes boilers, gas cookers and ovens, open fires, and log burners).
For more advice and support to stay warm safely this winter, please visit the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue website.
Libraries are offering a warm welcome
Don't forget that libraries around Devon are continuing to throw their doors open to help communities find warmth and overcome loneliness this winter.
The ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign has already seen customers enjoying everything from free hot drinks to crafts and making new friends in their local libraries. Now it’s being extended into the first few months of 2023 to continue to offer the huge range of support which has proved so popular.
Individual libraries have taken up the challenge with enthusiasm, so please visit the news page of our website to read the full story and find out what they've been up to.
Take moor care if there's snow on the moors
If there is snow on the moors and you are planning a trip to head up and enjoy it, please do still be respectful. Please,
- park sensibly and do not block roads or gates
- do not trespass onto private fields to go sledging
- drive carefully as not all roads are treated
We all love our moors and want to keep them special - please leave no trace, give nature space. For more information visit the Dartmoor National Park website, or the Exmoor National Park website.