Northumberland prepares for the Beast from the East

The county council is gearing up for the Beast from the East this week.
The county council is gearing up for the Beast from the East this week.

As Northumberland battens down the hatches for the Beast from the East, the county council is gearing up for the blast of wintry weather heading to the region this week.

While teams will be out over the coming days to keep the county running, maintaining essential services and keeping disruption to a minimum, the public are also being advised to take precautions.

From the early hours of Tuesday morning, a band of weather dubbed the Beast from the East will be hitting the UK.

Snow showers will become heavier and more widespread across the region. From that point onwards, through all of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the North East will have frequent, heavy snow showers and sub-zero temperatures.

Gritting will be carried out across the county today, while teams have suspended normal non essential works to focus 24 hours on the up-coming weather patterns.

The council has more than 100 staff involved in winter services, with a large stockpile of salt across the county. It is currently receiving an additional 9,500 tonnes of salt for the 28 multi-purpose gritters which cover 3,000 miles of county road.

Depending on how conditions develop, gritters will be fitted with ploughs to deal with snow conditions and local agricultural contractors will also be mobilised as appropriate. Local teams will also be deployed to salt main town centre footpaths.

Extra teams will also be mobilised to deal with any issues resulting from strong winds, including specialist teams to deal with any fallen trees and branches.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service also have a number of 4X4 vehicles on standby to help if needed.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “Our priority is always to keep people safe and the roads of Northumberland open and we have teams of staff working round the clock to ensure this happens.

“We are set for a period of very severe weather, not just with potential for significant snow but also very cold temperatures and severe wind chill.

“We work closely with our partners in the emergency services at times of severe weather and would also remind the public to take a little extra care when travelling, whether that’s by foot or vehicle.

“People should be prepared - keep up to date with conditions, minimise journeys where they can, keep a shovel in their car and have warm clothes in case they do get stuck.

“We’re conscious that while for some snow can be welcomed, for many it can bring unwanted disruption and concern and we will be working to provide extra support for the elderly and vulnerable in our communities.

“We’d also ask people to check on their neighbours where necessary or contact us if they have any concerns.

“As with all weather forecasts it is not entirely possible to know where any problems could occur but we are prepared for the wintry weather to come.”

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for the region, between 4am and 9pm on Wednesday. Amber warnings are issued when there is an increased chance of bad weather causing disruption to transport and power.