[D]rivers in Cumbria are being urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys this evening after Highways England issued a severe weather alert for the region’s major roads.
An amber warning for snow will be in place across the North East and North West regions between 8pm this evening and 7am tomorrow in response to heavy snow on high ground. The trans-Pennine routes such as the M62, A628 Woodhead Pass and the A66 Stainmore as well as M6 Shap are considered to be at greatest risk, but drivers should take care on all high level routes in the region.
The Met Office advises that the majority will fall as sleet but will turn to snow on low levels north of the A1/A168 junction (A1 junction 49). Snow fall is predicted between 8-12cms on the A66 and M6 Shap, and 5-10cms over the M62, A628 and much of the North East, north of Scotch Corner. Coastal routes and other routes in Cumbria will see nearer to 1-4cms.
To the south of the M55 and the A1 junction 49, it is more likely to fall as rain, although there is likely to be up to 2cms on higher routes around Manchester.
This is likely to cause travel disruption throughout the evening, with increased journey times. Winds will be mostly light across Cumbria and north of York, but gusts 40-50mph can be expected to the south of this which could lead to drifting on the M62 and A628.
Kim Taylor, Highways England’s duty operations manager, said: “Gritters are out treating our routes, but it is still important to drive to the conditions when snow is forecast.
“Keep your distance and reduce your speed, because even in conditions that seem normal, and the snow is not settling, it can be slippery in patches where ice patches have formed, or where fresh grit has not been worked into the carriageway.
“We will be monitoring all of our routes in particularly the A628 which may have to close for safety reasons later this evening due to the severe weather that is forecast.
“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel.”
The latest information on road conditions on England’s motorways and major trunk roads is available via Highways England website at www.trafficengland.com or visiting regional twitter feed @HighwaysNWEST. In addition, their 24/7 customer contact centre is available on 0300 123 5000 to provide assistance.
For information on the roads in Cumbria visit: https://www.cumbria.police.uk/Traffic/Traffic.aspx
Further information on weather conditions can be obtained by visiting the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or monitoring local and national radio and media.