Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Adapting to the weather conditions

Just as the weather was becoming slightly drier, the forecast predicted snow. It gave us a few days to prepare, ensuring a good stock of salt and that the gritters were ready.

For the last couple of years in cold weather, we have been supplying large hippo bags of salt to villages and communities in order that volunteers can spread salt in areas where needed. This is very popular and works well and is very much our policy of working with communities, helping them to help themselves.

This has been taken one step further in West Dean, East Dean and Singleton. SEWCREST is a group of volunteers working together in the Lavant Valley who received funding from our Big Society Member’s Fund towards the cost of a grit spreader. It means volunteers are able to swing into action and clear side roads, which helps residents to get to school and work safely and enables them to reach the more vulnerable members of the community.

With Emergency Plans in place, the County Council’s Call Centre opened at 7am rather than 8am on Friday, to ensure we could respond quickly and efficiently to queries.

Many enquiries are about school closures. The decision whether a school closes or not is for the Headteacher to take, in consultation with the Chairman of Governors. The County Council lists all school closures on our website, and feedback shows the earlier we can post the news, the better for residents.

Gritters have been out keeping the main roads open, but we still urge drivers to be aware of icy road conditions and the need to keep speeds down. Also, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front.

We have a small but effective Emergency Management Team, who have certainly had a lot to deal with in the last 12 months. Yet once again they were busy co-ordinating everyone to manage snowy conditions this time. Over the next few weeks they will be monitoring the weather conditions and planning for whatever it may throw at us.

My preference is for dry days - but somehow I think that does not count!

As ever, my thanks to everybody involved in dealing with the adverse weather conditions.

Click here for the latest news on severe weather conditions.

Best wishes,

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