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Icy grip to tighten as ‘Beast from the East’ heads West

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Icy grip to tighten as ‘Beast from the East’ heads West thumbnailThe Strabane area may see a return of recent snowfalls this week with the forecast of sub zero temperatures.

WITH the latest winter storm dubbed the 'Beast from the East' expected to descend on West Tyrone this week various agencies are advising the public to monitor weather updates and to consider their travel arrangements, farming activities, water supplies and elderly vulnerable neighbours.

The Siberian blast, blowing its way across the continent from Russia, is expected to bring snow storms and freezing weather in the coming days.

Forecasters say Northern Ireland should expect "bitterly cold" temperatures.

Motorists have been urged to exercise caution and drive with due care and attention in the more challenging conditions that snow and ice can bring.

Earlier this week the Department for Infrastructure's winter safety service announced it was ready to keep people moving on the roads following this warning.

Around 300 staff and 130 gritters will be available to salt main roads to keep traffic moving safely and freely. Twelve specialist snow blowers are also available to be deployed if required. Staff are keeping a close eye on weather forecasts.

John Irvine, director of Network Services, Department for Infrastructure, said: "Our winter service operation ensures that 7,000 kilometres of the road network are salted to keep traffic moving in wintry conditions.

With a warning for snow and ice currently in place and some disruption on our roads likely, the department's winter service team is fully prepared. Farmers and contractors will be deployed as required for snow clearance.

"So far this year 86,000 tonnes of salt has been spread on our roads and a further 60,000 tonnes is stockpiled and ready for use.

Five thousand salt bins and 50,000 grit piles are provided on a self-help basis on routes not included on the salting schedule."

 

Mr Irvine continued: "Despite our best efforts it is important to remember that we cannot guarantee ice free roads even after salting. We all need to be mindful of the changing conditions and adjust the way we drive, ride or cycle to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions.

"The best advice is in the Highway Code, take extra care even if roads have been salted, be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances and take care when overtaking gritters."

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