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Warning for motorists as temperatures in Hertfordshire and Essex expected to be lowest for a decade




Motorists are being urged to take extra care on roads tonight (Wednesday February 10) as sub-zero temperatures are expected to be the lowest for a decade.

Over the next few days Hertfordshire is going to experience "extreme and unusually low" road surface temperatures, predicted to go as low as -9.5C tonight, says the county council.

Essex Weather Centre meanwhile tweeted on Tuesday that tonight was "likely to be the coldest for a decade across the region with lows of -13C possible away from the coast".

Roadside branches covered in frozen spray from passing vehicles in Feathers Hill, Hatfield Broad Oak. Picture: Danielle Booth (44363820)
Roadside branches covered in frozen spray from passing vehicles in Feathers Hill, Hatfield Broad Oak. Picture: Danielle Booth (44363820)

When road temperatures drop below -5C, salt becomes less effective as a defence against the formation of snow and ice.

Any residents who have to make essential journeys, in accordance with current lockdown restrictions, should allow extra time, reduce speed and avoid harsh braking.

Cllr Phil Bibby, Herts County Council's cabinet member for highways and environment, said: “During these exceedingly cold temperatures, please avoid driving, unless it’s absolutely necessary and in accordance with the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Signs pointing to the Covid vaccination centre at Avanti Meadows Primary School on Farnham Road. Picture: Emma Collins
Signs pointing to the Covid vaccination centre at Avanti Meadows Primary School on Farnham Road. Picture: Emma Collins

“If you do have to make an essential journey, remember to always drive according to the conditions; the roads may look dry at these low temperatures, but invisible ice can still form and surfaces can become very slippery, despite being gritted.”

So far in February the county council’s 58 gritting crews have been out 12 times, well over the seasonal average, using their highest spread rate due to the lower road temperatures.

Since Sunday the team has been out 10 times on precautionary or primary routes, clocking up 15,580 miles and spreading 3,000 tonnes of grit.

With breaks, each gritter driver has driven 25 hours, covering a distance two-and-a-half times as long as the Great Wall of China, four times the length of the Amazon River and five times the distance from London to New York.

READ ALSO Herts County Council gritters on standby to salt icy roads for the next six months



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