Public advised to take care with snow forecast

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The public are being advised to take extra care when out and about with snow set to fall across the region on Friday.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for snow in the North West.

Around 10 to 15cm of snow could fall with the number reaching 25cm over higher ground, with strong winds also forecast.

Motorists are also being warned to be ready to alter travel plans.

The warning is in place until 6pm on Friday and the weekend is forecast to be drier with winds easing, although overnight frosts and ice will continue.

The Highways Agency has issued an amber alert and is warning motorists to be prepared for fresh falls of snow, heavy in places, on Friday morning.

In western areas the snow is expected to arrive before the rush hour, bringing the potential for travel disruption.

Motorists are advised to check the weather forecast this evening and allow extra time for their journey in the morning.

The snow is then forecast to spread east affecting other areas later in the morning.

Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre said: “During periods of severe weather we suggest people consider whether their journey is essential.

“They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.”

“We are using salt to treat the road network and have ploughs and snow blowers on standby if necessary.

“Our traffic officers are working around the clock to monitor our road network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving.”

Drivers should check their local media for updated weather and travel advice before setting out on journeys.

If they are travelling they should keep up to date with weather and travel advice, heed warnings and electronic message signs and drive according to the conditions – leaving extra time for journeys and extra room for braking and avoiding sudden manoeuvres such as braking or changing lanes suddenly.

Incidents and breakdowns can prevent winter service vehicles from treating the roads, causing further problems.

Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​w​i​n​ter.

Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Highways Agency website at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​t​r​a​f​fic or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line at 0300 123 5000.

Traffic information is available on Twitter by following one of eight regional channels with winter driving information on @winterhighways and on Facebook (www​.facebook​.com/​w​i​n​t​e​r​h​i​g​h​w​ays).

The North West Ambulance Service is asking residents to take care as heavy snow is forecasted for Friday, January 18 and is expected to continue over the weekend.

Derek Cartwright, Acting Director of Operations said: “Severe weather has a huge impact on the service as we, like all other road users, have to negotiate the hazardous driving conditions.

“There is always an increase in the number of road traffic collisions and falls and therefore I ask that the public only take necessary journeys.

“If you do need to travel, make sure you are prepared for extended journey times.”

“We always ask the public to think before dialling 999, but people should not be afraid to ring us if they believe they need emergency assistance.

“However, we want to remind everyone that ambulance services are not there simply to transport people to a healthcare centre or hospital – our excellent staff are specially trained in dealing with trauma and life-threatening cases and this is where their expertise should be focused on.

“Heart attacks, strokes and other potentially life threatening incidents cannot wait, we need to get to these people as quickly as possible without having to divert from patients that can be easily treated elsewhere.

“If anyone is unsure about the treatment they need, NHS Direct (0845 4647) can offer advice on where is the best treatment centre for you.”