Freezing rain with possible black ice, sleet and snow for Derbyshire

The Met Office is warning of icy conditions with possible sleet and snow.
The Met Office is warning of icy conditions with possible sleet and snow.

The Met Office and Highways England have warned of potentially dangerous freezing rain which can lead to black ice for Derbyshire today, Saturday, December 15.

It is expected to be cold and windy with spells of rain from the west with the risk of some freezing rain, according to the Met Office, along with possible spell of sleet and snow.

By tonight, the Met Office has stated it could be windy with cloudy skies and further rain which could be heavy.

However, the rain is expected to clear during the early hours of tomorrow to leave it mainly dry with clear spells.

Temnperatures could reach lows of zero degrees centigrade during the day with highs during the evening of up to five to six degrees centigrade, according to the Met Office.

Drivers are urged to be prepared before this weekend after Highways England also issued a severe weather alert for the north.

With freezing rain forecast an alert has been issued from 10am, on Saturday, until 6am, on Sunday, Highways England’s gritting teams will be working around the clock to treat roads.

An amber Highways England warning for freezing rain will be in place on Saturday across the north west between 10am and 1pm and across the north east between 3pm and 6pm.

The whole of the north is expected to be affected by freezing rain, with snow expected on Highways England’s higher routes such as the A66, M62 junctions 21-24, M6 and A628 Woodhead Pass.

Highways England’s national winter and severe weather team leader, Paul Furlong, said: “Gritters will be out treating our roads around the clock, however freezing rain can cause black ice to form very rapidly and preparations may not prevent incidents occurring. We will continue to monitor conditions and re-treat the network where necessary.

“It is essential to keep your distance and reduce your speed - black ice is difficult to see, so even when conditions seem normal, it can be very slippery leading to very dangerous driving conditions.

“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a winter kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel.”

Will Lang, chief meteorologist at the Met Office said: “Saturday’s severe weather has triggered multiple Met Office warnings, with strong winds, heavy rain, freezing rain, snow and ice forecast for many parts of England. These hazards are likely to make driving conditions difficult and dangerous, so we are urging people to check the latest weather forecast and warnings and to take extra care.”

Highways England is advising drivers to pay attention to messages on the overhead electronic signs and listen for radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by following @highwaysnwest @highwaysneast or @highwaysyorks on Twitter.

Breakdown cover provider Green Flag is expecting up to a 39 per cent increase in breakdowns over the weekend.

This is predicted to equal over 76,600 breakdowns and up to 126,300 calls between Saturday and Monday.

Lucy Davies at Green Flag, urged drivers to do all they can to stay safe over the weekend.

She said: “With forecasted severe weather conditions, we can expect possible delays on the roads, transport delays or cancellations, and road closures, meaning drivers heading out for festive events and Christmas shopping should take extra care in these challenging conditions. This could also impact commuters heading to work on Monday morning.

“It’s important for drivers to check their vehicles before leaving home, approach the roads with caution when driving, and ensure they leave a safe distance between other vehicles to decrease the risk of encountering a problem on the roads.”

In response to the adverse weather conditions, Green Flag has issued a set of common-sense tips to help motorists stay safe in cold weather conditions expected on the roads this week:

Check your speed and use gentle driver inputs - even if the roads have been gritted they’re likely to be slippery.

Give more warning than usual to other drivers - when turning, stopping or changing lane.

Keep plenty of distance between cars - you never know when you’ll hit an icy patch. If you pass the same landmarks as the car in front of you within three seconds, you’re following too closely.

Check whether your car has ABS anti-lock brakes. In the unlikely event that it doesn’t, pump the brake pedal slowly to prevent the wheels locking up and skidding.

Be extra-wary of black ice. It’s an invisible danger that can catch out even the most careful driver.

Approach corners at a steady speed, in as low a gear as possible. Don’t touch the clutch unless it’s absolutely necessary, steer smoothly and avoid braking on bends.

Make sure all passengers are wearing seat belts.

Ensure you’re familiar with your car’s ventilation system to prevent windows from steaming up. Air conditioning will keep windows free from mist and condensation.