Icy weather warning for Northumberland

The current Met Office weather warning which extends to 6pm tonight (Saturday, December 12).
The current Met Office weather warning which extends to 6pm tonight (Saturday, December 12).

The Met Office has extended a yellow (Be Aware) weather warning for snow, heavy rain and icy road surfaces to cover much of Northumberland today.

And Northumbria Police have urged road users to take extra care in the wintry conditions.

A police spokesman said: “Snow, heavy rain and icy road surfaces make life much more difficult for motorists and it’s important people drive according to the conditions.”

The A68 is currently closed from Broomhaugh heading south towards Slaley in Northumberland.

The Met Office warning, issued at 2pm and continuing until at least 6pm, extends an earlier warning eastwards across Northumberland, although the east coast will escape the worst of the bad weather.

The warning states: “Rain and snow, heavy at times, will soon clear southern Scotland and then gradually move away from northern England late this afternoon or early evening.

“Given saturated ground, some localised flooding is possible, mostly with only low impacts but perhaps locally medium in the areas rendered more vulnerable by last weekend’s floods. Meanwhile, snow will produce localised slushy coverings of 1 to 2cm even at low levels, and locally more than 10cm on some routes above 400m; areas most at risk of these larger amounts are the northern parts of the Pennines and the higher passes in Cumbria.

“This warning is an update, to pull the risk area further east across North East England, but to bring the end time forward by two hours, and remove the risk from southwest Scotland where the rain and snow is now clearing. Please be aware of the potential for disruption from snow, or from flooding during Saturday.

Police have also issued the following winter driving advice:

- During wintry conditions, take extra care if out and about, particularly when driving on untreated icy or snowy roads

- Monitor conditions in the local area, as conditions may vary from place to place, listen to updates on local radio and check the Northumbria Police and Highways Agency websites for updates.

- Dress appropriately for the weather, especially if out on foot, but also if in the car.

- While driving in bad conditions moderate speed to match the conditions and try not to brake sharply.

- Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front as stopping distances are longer on wet or icy roads.

- Ensure adequate visibility by clearing front and back windscreens and all windows/wing mirrors before setting off.

- Keep the windscreen washer bottle topped up, preferably with the addition of winter screen wash.

- Clean front and rear headlights and use dipped headlights when driving in poor visibility, including heavy rain as well as snow.

- Be alert for pedestrians walking on roads when footpaths are too snowy or icy to use.

- An ice scraper and de-icer should be carried for day to day use, other useful items in your car include: a torch, warm clothes or a blanket, boots, a first aid kit, a shovel, a battery, jump leads and a tow rope.

- Food and a warm drink should be taken on longer journeys.

- Advise a friend, colleague or a family member of planned journeys.

- Ensure mobile phones are fully charged before travelling.