Grit lorries practice on Sussex roads ahead of winter freeze

Gritters in West Sussex SUS-150926-123149001

Gritters in West Sussex SUS-150926-123149001

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Grit lorries have been practicing their routes in Sussex this morning (September 26) as forecasters predict now and ice in the coming months.

More than 20 gritting lorries for West Sussex County Council rehearsed their winter routes around the county from 7am to 11am.

Contractors for the council practiced clearing the county’s main roads as well as approaches to schools,colleges, hospitals and busy bus routes.

The practice, named Operation Snowflake, allowed drivers to check their equipment and familiarise themselves with the routes.

Cabinet member for highways and transport, John O’Brien, said, “The major benefit of this rehearsal is that it makes our drivers aware of the routes they are travelling.

“They see any problems, such as overgrown hedges, which may affect the real runs later in the year.

“It helps us prepare to make sure when day one of the real gritting work starts, we get everything completed in the correct time.”

Each driver has a specialised GPS system which measures the driver’s speed and pin-points where each gritter is on a map, in case of emergencies or break-downs.

More than 9,500 tonnes of salt is stockpiled at the council’s depots in Drayton, Clapham and Jobs Lane, near Hickstead.

The practice comes after a long-range weather forecaster predicted Sussex and the rest of the UK will be in the grip of snow and ice for much of this coming winter.

Exacta Weather provides long-range forecasts and its latest predictions show that temperatures this winter will be below average.

The forecaster said changes in the Gulf Stream and low solar activity over the last year signal a harsh winter to come.

Exacta’s current long-range forecast says, “There have been no improvements since we first reported on these changes, if anything the overall situation has worsened.

“This now means that those who like cold and snowy winters will not be disappointed this year, in particular, in the UK, Ireland and the north/east coast of the United States.”

The Met Office provides an outlook for the next 30 days and is predicting some unsettled weather with chilly nights and local frosts.

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