December 21 2014 Latest news:
By RICHARD WOOD
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Forecasters are predicting heavy snowfall for the majority of the UK on Friday and yesterday issued a yellow alert for the east of England.
It is believed that more than three inches could again fall as snow spreads from the southwest, with blizzard conditions described as a “possibility” as winds strengthen.
However, the Met Office did say there was a “good deal of uncertainty” about the intensity of the snow and how quickly it will turn to rain, as it issued yellow alerts for the majority of the country, with amber alerts for the Midlands, the north-west and parts of Wales.
Weatherquest forecaster Phil Garner, based at the UEA, said two to three inches was possible in a 24-hour period from Friday afternoon, but agreed there was a degree of doubt about how much snow would fall.
Mr Garner said that the temperature was expected to rise afterwards but that melting snow could then be frozen at night.
“The problem will be snow on Friday and Saturday, and ice on Sunday and Monday,” he said.
The Met Office has also issued yellow alerts for ice across the region on Saturday and Sunday.
The forecast means both Norfolk and Suffolk county councils’ gritting teams will be on alert.
John Birchall, Norfolk county council spokesman, said that the council has its own specialist forecasts and that they were keeping an eye on the exact details, with a specific plan due to be put together at lunchtime today when there would be a “clearer picture of any emerging threat”. “Exactly how and when we respond will depend upon the latest forecasts from our specialist forecaster,” he said.
“Plans for Thursday night and Friday morning will be informed by the lunchtime forecast, but we also have to be ready to respond to the weather as it develops.
“If there is significant snowfall or drifting, ploughs will be used.”
The priority routes would again be gritted first, with the council hoping to lay as much as possible ahead of any further snowfall.
The council has increased its stock of salt to 17,000 tonnes to ensure there was enough to keep the service running, and Mr Birchall also said farmers would be mobilised to help clear minor roads if necessary. “We have to be ready to respond to the weather as it happens. The forecast is one thing, but as we found out what happens can be better or, as happened on Tuesday, much worse,” he said.
Guy McGregor, Suffolk county council’s cabinet member for roads, transport and planning said the county’s gritters were also ready as he issued a warning to drivers.