The ‘Beast from the East’ snowfall hits Welwyn Hatfield
- Credit: Archant
As the first flurries hit, here’s the next couple of days’ forecast and travel planning advice.
A countrywide cold snap being dubbed “The Beast from the East” is bringing possible temperatures as low as -5°C at night for Welwyn Garden City and -4°C for Hatfield.
Daytime won’t be much nicer, with a maximum temperature of 1°C.
There is a 90 per cent chance of heavy snow at 3pm today, smatterings at midday tomorrow, some falling from 6am to midday on Wednesday, afternoon showers on Thursday and flurries for a lot of the day on Friday.
There is a Met Office yellow warning of snow tomorrow: “There is the potential for travel delays on roads, with some stranded vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel.
“Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.”
In some parts of the East of England this has been escalated to an amber warning.
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Highways England has also released a severe weather alert for road travel.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety, said that gritters will be out round the clock, but care is still needed when driving.
He added: “If you need to travel in the morning, make sure you keep your distance and reduce your speed because, even in conditions that seem normal and when the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway.
Head of driving and riding at Welwyn Garden City-based IAM RoadSmart, Richard Gladman, has offered further advice to motorists obliged to travel in the bad conditions.
He said avoid using country lanes, fully clear the windows and car, start the engine from stationary and try not to rev too hard, even if forced to start in a high gear to avoid wheel spin on the icy roads.
Richard added that speed is important, especially around bends - too fast could make a driver lose control, but going too slow risks losing momentum.
He said: “Many of the problems associated with travel during snow could be avoided if people planned in advance.
“People routinely travel with only the minimum of safety equipment, without realising their journey could be a lot longer than expected.
“At the very least you should have a shovel, torch, blanket, jump-leads and tow rope.
“You should ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, and the number of your recovery organisation is saved into it.
“A bottle of water and a snack may also prove useful and don’t set out without knowing the locations of petrol stations on your way.
“This all might sound obvious, but too many of us forget to do any of this.
“Don’t be one of the ill-prepared, and listen to the weather forecast for the whole length of a winter journey to help you prepare for it.”