Snow Warden Scheme – Volunteers helping out

The UK Snow Warden Scheme is a community volunteer programme whereby local councils train a number of volunteers in residential areas to help clear snow and ice from side roads and pavements. The idea originated in Canada with a group of volunteers known as the Snow Angels.

Volunteers are trained in Health and Safety and are issued with the equipment to enable them to carry out the job effectivly. The equipment consists of a shovel, flourescent jacket and gloves, grit salt and in some instances a grit bin if required.

Snow Wardens are a great help to the council and  local community they live in, during bad weather many quieter roads don’t get gritted, with Snow Wardens helping clear these roads with the help of friends and neighbours, this enables the council to focus on priority routes.

Snow Wardens also provide information to their local council regarding the effect the weather has had in their area’s.

Most councils throughout the UK are now running this scheme and anyone wishing to join simply needs to call their local council to make a request to become a volunteer.

Council Gritters Prepare For Winter

As we move further into the Winter months, councils around the country are gearing up to tackle the ensuing harsh weather.

Millions of pounds are spent every year by councils stocking up on huge amounts of Grit Salt to spread on the road networks within their region.

Councils rely on a network of strategicly placed sensors feeding back information about road temperatures, consistant weather updates and predictive temperature simulations to ensure their gritting teams treat the road network with Grit Salt at the correct time. Continue reading… “Council Gritters Prepare For Winter”

Preparing Your Car For Winter

It is important with the onset of Winter that you prepare your car for the cold weather. Here are our tips to ensure your vehicle is ready for the ensuing snow and ice:

  • Ensure you have your car regularly serviced. An ideal time would be in Autumn, just befor the onset of Winter.
  • Check your brake system is in good working order, this is paramount in Winter.
  • Ensure your tyres have adequate tread, if you need to replace them, do so, even if the tread is above the legal required limit allowed. This will provide you with the performance you need to tackle the harsh weather. The better the tread, the better the grip on snow and ice. We would also recommend fitting Winter specific tyres, as they provide superior performance in cold weather conditions.
  • Check the battery and ensure it is in good working order.
  • Check all lights and ensure they are working correctly, especially the hazard warning lights.
  • Check windscreen wipers and replace if need be.
  • Check the screen wash is not blocked and working correctly, add anti-freeze to the screen wash bottle.
  • Ensure all ventilation and heating systems are in working order to minimise misting on the windows.
  • Rock salt spread on roads during winter can be corrosive and can damage the cars paintwork. Ensure you wash and clean off the rock salt on the more vunerable parts of your car on a regualer basis.

Whenever driving in Winter weather, you must be prepared for the unexpected. To ensure both the safety of yourself and other road users, it is advisable to carry out a quick visual check on your vehicle before every journey throughout the season.

Driving in Winter – Emergency Kit

It is advisable in the Winter months to carry an emergency road kit to ensure you are fully prepared if the worse should happen and you find your vehicle stuck or stranded in the snow. With the last two UK Winters being the most severe in many years, it is vital as we head into the Winter months that you take your personal safety into consideration whilst driving. The number of breakdowns during the Winter months can double. The Kit should be stored in the boot of your car and should consist of the following:

  • Ice Scraper
  • Snow Shovel
  • Torch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Booster Cables
  • Blanket
  • Gloves
  • Extra Clothing and Footwear
  • Map
  • Grit Salt

It is also important to note that in the severest of Winter weather that no journey is as important as your safety and if you can avoid travelling, then please do so.

Winter 2011-2012 Weather Forecast

Here’s a long range forecast for Winter 2011/2012 from Exacta Weather:

As in my last update on the 2nd September 2011. “I expect the most frequent and heavy snowfalls to occur across many parts of the UK during NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, and JANUARY” at present. I initially expect frequent and significant snowfalls across many northern regions and Scotland throughout this winter. Any earlier snowfall is likely to be more confined to northern and western parts of the UK, although large scale low pressure systems also offer the potential for significant snowfalls to many parts of the UK.

I also expect NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, JANUARY, and FEBRUARY to feature largely below-average temperatures across many parts of the UK, it is likely that temperature and snowfall records will be broken within this defined time frame. I initially expect temperatures to really struggle across many northern regions, including Scotland (Western Scotland in particular), Ireland (Northern Ireland in particular), North West England, and parts of Wales.


James Madden (UK Long Range Forecaster)