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Ice on Dorset roads causes chaos for drivers
ICE caused chaos on Dorset’s roads, with forecasters warning that worse is on the way.
Rush-hour traffic on the A35 near Askerswell came to a standstill after a single vehicle collision and drivers were stuck in their cars on a sheet of ice in Sydling St Nicholas.
The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for Dorset, coming into effect on Friday, with snow and blizzards possible for the county.
The warning said: “As the weather breaks down there is the potential for a spell of snow to spread from the south west.
“As winds strengthen, blizzard conditions are a possibility, especially over high ground.
“Accumulations of 2 to 5cm are possible quite widely and, in some locations, especially higher ground, 15cm are possible.”
While Weymouth and south Dorset remained snowless yesterday, there were reports of snowfall on the higher ground in west Dorset.
But the ice across the county caused difficulty as people tried to get to work.
A road was closed and six drivers were trapped in their cars due to sheet ice in Sydling St Nicholas, near Dorchester.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said a silver Rover 25 registered to a Dorchester woman was in a ‘dangerous’ position at the top of the hill.
He added: “The female driver was unable to get out of the vehicle due to the road being too slippery.
“A short time after a total of six vehicles were stuck on this stretch of road.
“The ice was very thick and pedestrians were unable to walk up the hill.”
Another woman had a lucky escape after a single car accident on an ‘extremely dangerous’ stretch of road on the A35 near Askerswell.
Paramedics were called to attend, but were cancelled before they arrived when the driver confirmed she had not been injured.
The Dorset Police spokesman said: “This incident is believed to have been caused by a sheet of ice along this stretch of road that was deemed extremely dangerous.
“The local authority was contacted and two gritters attended to make the road safe.”
Drivers reported journeys between Weymouth and Bridport to be taking up to three hours with ice being blamed for hazardous driving conditions in Abbotsbury and Winterbourne Abbas.
There were also crashes in Meplash and Halstock.
Experts warned motorists to keep their speed down and watch out for pedestrians to stay safe.
Darron Burness, of the AA, said: “The main problem is flat or failed batteries.
“When you get in your car, switch off all the electrics before starting it and dip the clutch while starting to take some of the load off the starter motor.”
Dorset weatherman Bob Poots said the past few days had seen a ‘definite drop in temperature’.
He said: “The month started off with temperatures of about 10 degrees Celsius, and there has been a fair drop in air temperature to about five degrees.
“The ground temperature at 9am yesterday was -3.2 degrees and the air temperature was 1.9 degrees.”
Gritting teams ready to keep traffic moving
DORSET’s grittting teams were due out this morning making sure the county’s roads are clear.
Teams were set to leave the depots at 4am this morning to spread salt onto the main routes around the county.
This followed on from a previous treatment yesterday afternoon at 2pm.
Dorset County Council sends out teams to salt the 680 miles of major routes around the county when conditions are ‘damp and road temperatures are forecast near freezing or before snow.’ The Highways Agency is responsible for salting the A31, A35, west of Bere Regis, and A303 trunk roads.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said they were out at 4am this morning as well as at 2pm yesterday.
A spokesman for Dorset County Council said that the weather forecast last night was for temperatures to ‘drop sharply’ with a wide spread ‘hard frost’ expected overnight.
He said: “We have 11,500 tonnes of salt in stock throughout the country.
“We normally use 6,000-10,000 tonnes a year.”
But he added that they always kept a minimum of 5,000 tonnes in stock and when they got down towards 5,000 tonnes they restocked to maintain a good level of salt.
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