Level three cold weather alert extended + snow and ice warning

The Level Three Cold Weather Alert has been extended to midnight on Friday, February 12 as temperatures continue to struggle above zero.

The county remains on a yellow warning for snow and ice from the Met Office until tomorrow (Thursday).

Kent has seen considerable snowfall over the last few days with KCC gritters covering over 20,000km on salting runs as of last night.

With lockdown, Salt needs to be worked in by traffic and subsequently roads have taken longer to clear. In some instances, KCC has seen snow covering the pre-treated roads – salting slows down the freezing process, it does not dissolve snow.

Even when a road has been treated with salt, snow will still settle. In instances where there is considerable snow on the road, KCC can use snow ploughs fitted onto gritters.

The plough does not go down to the road surface, leaving around 25mm to be treated with salt.

KCC has roughly a 120-strong gritter crew working shifts to ensure it’s available to respond 24 hours a day for the primary network.

It is not possible for KCC to clear every road – the primary salting routes cover about 30% of roads in Kent – and some roads may have to be left to thaw naturally. Please be aware that no new salt bin requests are being accepted and that salt bins are for use on pavements and roads and not private property.

Although KCC treats its roads – Highways England does motorways and major roads and Medway Council does its own roads – it cannot guarantee that all ice will be removed.

People are encouraged to drive to the conditions and make sure their vehicle is winter ready.

Around the county:

In Ashford the primary network has been treated and clear. Hand salting crews have treated town centre pedestrian areas and Covid Vaccination sites. Preston Hill Lane, Tenterden is closed due to flooding

In Canterbury all primary routes gritted overnight and this morning. All major routes running well  and action is being taken on individual roads as necessary. Subway entrances treated and footway overbridges in Canterbury city centre. Pavements outside testing centres and vaccine centres gritted, The majority of rural roads are clear now but still some drifting. Stone Street, Bossingham being retreated because of patches of ice. Hand salting crews being deployed again today, Church Lane, Barham and Richdore Road, Waltham..

In Dartford, the fleet of gritters have been treating the primary routes across the district, and local farmers are continuing to plough some rural routes with drifting snow in accordance with our snow plough agreements. Pavements around Covid vaccination centres and testing centres are being treated. Dartford council street cleansing are helping to grit footways and town centre. Hand salting continues on footbridges, we are responding to emergency requests and salting where required.

In Dover, all primary routes are clear and running freely. Secondary routes are being inspected/treated/cleared as necessary. Main focus remains on the south of the district where there has been significantly more snow and issues with drifting. Dover District Council and KCC crews are continuing to salt pavements in proximity to hospitals, vaccination centres, pharmacies, main shopping areas in the towns. Farmers are out ploughing and removing drifting snow from the rural road network and also helping to remove cars from these areas.

In Folkestone & Hythe primary routes are clear and running apart from localised drifting upon Stone Street (B2068), Stelling Minnis and Canterbury Road (A260) Densole. These are due to be ploughed. Secondary Routes now prioritised, concentrating of Folkestone central at this time. The district council has been out keeping paths clear in town centre and by vaccination centres. Farmers still out on their routes clearing roads. Crete Road East and Crete Road West closed and will continue to be closed for the next day or so due to extent of dig-out.

In Gravesham our fleet of gritters have been treating the primary routes and across the district the farmers are continuing to plough some rural routes with drifting snow. Pavements around Covid Vaccination centres and testing centres are being treated, also carrying out footway salting on priority footways, the district council street cleansing operatives are helping to grit footways and town centre and additional salt had been supplied. Selected Secondary routes are being targeted around key school and bus routes. Road Closures in Park Hill, Meopham due to ice and a steep hill too dangerous to salt currently

In Maidstone all strategic routes and A roads clear with no problems reported. Handsalting of pavement outside Madgingford school and shopping parade. Some farmers have been ploughing roads in the North of the district. Ad hoc gritting taken place on secondary roads and bus routes as reported. Road Closures on New Barn Road, Hawkenbury for flooding. Diversion in place.

In Sevenoaks gritters have been treating the primary routes and will be starting secondary routes this morning. KCC has again treated all pavements around Covid Vaccination centres and testing centres and the carriageway in Morewood Close, Sevenoaks has been treated too. The district council is assisting by treating the Sevenoaks and Swanley open schools, emergency services, and doctors surgeries, main transport hubs and some shopping areas. We also have other crews dealing with selected shopping areas around the district. Farmers will continue to plough rural routes with drifting snow in accordance with our snow plough agreements

In Swale, after further localised heavy snow showers last night and early this morning the Primary routes are currently clear and Secondary are being patrolled and salted throughout this morning. Operatives are concentrating this morning on salting and clearing footways at Eastchurch and Leysdown, Boughton and the small shopping parade areas of Sittingbourne. Farmers continue working in most areas to clear drifting snow from side roads, as required.

In Thanet, following repeat gritting (three runs in each 24-hour period) since Friday, primary routes generally clear with some isolated icy spots. The rest of the network is snow and ice covered and only passable with extreme care. We have started to grit roads outside of the primary network that are higher risk areas. Covid Test centres treated as well as hospital frontages and doctors to ensure they can be accessed for treatment and Covid vaccines.  Covid vaccine centres accesses being treated. Thanet District Council hand salting crews are out treating town areas where essential retailers are open such as supermarkets parades of shops and chemists across Thanet. Farmers have been assisting to clear stuck vehicles and ploughing where necessary. Highway Stewards patrolling the district and reacting to emergency calls.  Additional mechanical gritting being arranged for some of the higher risk roads off the primary network.

In Tonbridge & Malling, salting and gritter patrols continue on the Primary Road Network overnight and are all reported as clear by gritter drivers. Farmers are ploughing only where the depth of snow exceeds 50mm on both secondary and minor routes. Local actions as required with KCC and TMBC crews. There is a road closure on behalf of Environment Agency to complete reduce water levels to prevent Blacklands culvert from flooding. They are pumping the water through to Chapmans Way and are working to remove the excess water to a reasonable level. Full closure in place between Twisden Road and Temple Way.

In Tunbridge Wells the primary routes in the borough have been treated again this morning and all primary routes are clear. There remains some accumulations of snow and ice on some minor untreated roads. Hand salting being continues across the Borough in accordance with the local plan and on steep inclines. Vaccination and test centres in the town have been treated.

With the cold weather alert and ongoing risks from Covid-19 to the most vulnerable members of the community, it is important that people are making sure they are following basic, common sense advice to help keep themselves warm and well.

KCC Deputy Director for Public Health, Allison Duggal said: “It is vital that during this prolonged period of severe weather, people act to keep themselves and their home warm – even if this is just by heating the bedroom and living room.

“We’re also urging people to assist their local community – is there someone you can help by delivering groceries? Every year, cold weather leads to extra deaths and this year we also need to help protect those most at risk of severe symptoms from Covid so by taking measures to stay warm and work with others, can make a life-changing difference.”

Nationally, there are thousands of excess winter deaths per year because of a drop in temperature. The ideal indoor temperature is 18-21°C (65-75°F). If trying to save fuel, it is advisable to heat the living room during the day, the bathroom when needed and the bedroom, just before going to bed.

Other simple common sense measures for keeping warm and well in the home include:

  • Regular cups of tea, or other hot drinks, and regular hot meals can help your body stay warm.
  • Make sure warm clothes are within reach – keep jumpers and thick socks close by. Wear several thin layers, rather than one thick one.
  • Have your flu vaccine to protect yourself and others (this is free for anyone over 65, pregnant women, those with long term conditions, and children aged two to four – contact your GP to make an appointment.
  • Order repeat prescriptions in good time to make sure you have enough supply of any medicines you use.
  • Having a family member, friend or neighbour to help out with collecting prescriptions or doing shopping but please bear in mind social distancing measures.
  • Have your heating and cooking appliances checked regularly and make sure the chimney has been swept recently.

Preparing for very cold weather means being ready to stay indoors, making sure there is enough food and medicine at home, ordering repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast. If you have to travel or go outdoors, tips to follow include:

  • Wear layers of warm clothing and shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles
  • Make sure you are not caught out by snow and ice; stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with food supplies
  • Get up-to-date traffic information at kenttraffic.info

People are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt, NHS111 can help you get the right treatment.

More information is available about how to keep yourself and others safe during cold weather through www.kent.gov.uk/winterhealth  You can also find information on Covid-19 including details on the NHS Test and Trace app, symptoms and getting a test at www.kent.gov.uk/kentprotect

Level three cold weather alert extended + snow and ice warning was last modified: February 10th, 2021 by Ellis Stephenson