Preparations under way for another cold winter

By Karen Rafferty

The effects of harsh winter weather
The effects of harsh winter weather

As the hours of daylight have started dropping in the UK, so too, has the temperature. With many people suffering last year as a result of snow blizzards and freezing temperatures, preparations are now under way in Scotland to help deal effectively with any issues that the winter weather may bring.

According to TheWeatherOutlook, the UK is likely to experience colder than average weather again this year, with temperatures predicted to drop to a possible -15C during the night.

In readiness for this possible outcome, local authorities have started to stockpile salt in the hope of combatting any effects caused by snow and ice. Executive councillor for West Lothian Council, Robert De Bold said: “We are taking all sensible precautions to make sure we are fully prepared for bad weather this year” he added “we have decided to double our stock to 20,000 tonnes this year, with a further top-up order of 3,000 tonnes organised for early December.” Edinburgh Council is also increasing their salt stockpile, in addition to buying extra gritting machines and tractors.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) is also actively highlighting the unpredictability and dangers of the winter weather, particularly in relation to road safety. Their campaign is aimed at motorists, cyclists and joggers, as well as pedestrians. Drivers are encouraged to make sure their vehicles are properly maintained for the winter months, while other road users are advised to be highly visible, and choose their routes carefully.

As well as travel, advice is being given on energy saving throughout the winter months. The Scottish Government’s campaign to save on fuel bills and waste is currently under way. Home Energy Scotland is offering callers free gadgets to help save energy and money. Minister for Housing and Communities, Alex Neil said: “If we have a winter like last winter this help will be more important than ever.” Scotland particularly is expected to be on the receiving end of another cold snap. Brian Gaze from TheWeatherOutlook, who believes that this is likely, said: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some locations in the west of Britain and Northern Ireland having significant snowfalls, but the coldest weather is likely to persist for longer in eastern Britain.”

Looks like it may be time to dig out the hats, scarves and gloves…

Winter safety tips for drivers (source: The AA).

  • Check all tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. At least 3mm of tread is recommended for winter motoring, and certainly no less than 2mm.
  • Give yourself extra time before you set off on your journey. You may need it to get your car prepared.
  • You may also need to give yourself extra time for your journey. In hazardous weather, traffic moves slower, be prepared to reduce your speed.
  • Make sure your windscreen is completely clear before you drive off. Snow or frost remaining on it could seriously reduce visibility.
  • An old sack or rug is a useful addition to your car during the winter months. When stuck in snow it can be placed under the front wheels, giving extra grip.