Renewed warning for motorists travelling in the Mini Beast from the East

The scene in central Newcastle this evening (Saturday). Picture by Will Larkin
The scene in central Newcastle this evening (Saturday). Picture by Will Larkin

Drivers are being urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys after Highways England issued a further severe weather alert for snow.

With snow forecast throughout the weekend, gritting teams are working around the clock to treat roads and keep traffic moving on motorways and major A-roads.

Highways England has also issued several amber ‘be prepared’ alerts, including the North East, which came into force at 4pm tonight (Saturday) and runs until 6am on tomorrow morning, with snow already present on higher routes.

Drivers are also being advised to avoid trans-Pennine roads, including the M62 (junctions 21 to 25), A628 and A66, if at all possible as well as the M1 between junctions 35 (Rotherham) and 47 (Garforth), the M606 near Bradford and the M621 near Leeds.

The A66 is currently closed to traffic in both directions between the junctions for the A67 and A685 due to snow but gritting and ploughing teams are working along the stretch to reopen it as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Met Office has also issued warnings for snow and ice in the North, Midlands, East and South East on Saturday, and the whole of England on Sunday.

Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, said: “Our gritter drivers will be out treating our roads around the clock but it is still important to drive to the conditions when snow is forecast.

“Make sure you keep your distance and reduce your speed if you need to travel because, even in conditions that seem normal and when the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway.

“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel if they really need to travel."

Nicola Maxey from the Met Office said: “It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the latest Met Office forecast and warnings for your area to ensure you’re up to date with the latest situation.

“You can do this by checking the Met Office website for the daily forecast or our warnings page, or you could download our weather app which will ensure you can keep up to date while you are out and about. With the latest weather information for your area, you will be able to prepare for what is in store and plan your activities accordingly.”

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 Highways’ England’s regional Twitter feed @HighwaysNEAST