LiveSnow report: Thursday

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

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  • We bring you the latest weather news as the county prepares itself for a cold snap. Please send us your updates and pictures to, or on Twitter @dorsetecho or by using the hashtag #dorsetweather




Dorset is waking to a heavy covering of snow with more predicted through the morning.

Motorists are being urged to take care on the roads.

No school closures in our area announced yet but we will keep you updated.



No Dorset schools(In the Dorset County Council area) have closed yet. A few have in Bournemouth and Poole in preparation. See the council's closed schools list



With large parts of the county set to experience heavy snow and icy conditions tomorrow, Dorset Local Resilience Forum is encouraging the public to take simple measures to ensure they stay safe and well.

Dorset Local Resilience Forum – an emergency planning group which is made up of agencies including Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, NHS, South West Ambulance Service, local authorities and the Highways Agency – has put plans in place to increase preparedness for the anticipated severe wintry weather.

Dorset Echo: Nicky Searle

Chief Inspector Nicky Searle of Dorset Police said they have put in place contingency plans to maximise the level of service that can be provided across the county.
She added: “Local authorities are invoking emergency planning arrangements and the emergency services are sharing resources and enlisting voluntary assistance to ensure vehicles and personnel stand the best chance of reaching those in need.
“We would encourage members of the public to stay safe by following our advice.”


• Do not to drive in snow or icy conditions unless it is absolutely necessary.
• If motorists have to drive, ensure the vehicle is roadworthy for the conditions – check tyres, windscreen washers and wipers, lights, petrol and oil levels and that the heater works.
• Make sure that any snow or ice is cleared from the windscreen and other windows of the vehicle before driving and carry warm clothing, a blanket and a flask containing a hot drink in case your vehicle breaks down or you become stranded.


For more advice about driving safely in wintry conditions please click here

Members of the public are also being urged to ensure they stay healthy and well during the cold wintry weather. Make sure homes are well heated and check on elderly neighbours and relatives to make sure they are ok.

More advice is available on the NHS Dorset website. Go to

Gritters will be out in force across Dorset overnight to ensure the roads are as safe as possible.

To find out the latest weather forecast and warnings from the Met Office, go to or follow @metoffice on Twitter.

To find out the latest traffic information from the Highways Agency, go to, follow @Highways_Agency on Twitter or call the Highways Agency information line on 08457 50 40 30.


With sub zero temperatures suddenly upon us, the RSPB is advising people to make sure their bird feeders and tables are full of high energy foods.Richard James, one of the RSPB's wildlife advisors, said: “The sudden drop in temperatures across the UK will have been a big shock to birds' systems after spending the past couple of months with few worries in terms of food availability. Thanks to the recent mild weather, many natural food sources have been readily available and water has been easy to come by. Now the snow and ice are here birds will need all the help they can get to survive the winter.”The RSPB suggests calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seed and good quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps, like mild grated cheese, rice and porridge oats.



For more information about road salting, passable roads routes and how the weather is affecting essential services, such as schools, day centres and waste collections go to





Twitter users @RainfallDorset are reporting that the snowfall has started around Bulbarrow Hill, to the north of Dorchester.


As temperatures fall, and with snow predicted across the county, Dorset County Council’s highways staff are gearing up to keep main routes passable.

The Met Office has today issued a weather warning, with heavy snow and wind expected in from the west tomorrow morning.

Drivers are being advised to take extra care if travelling on Dorset’s roads tomorrow morning, when snow is forecast to sweep across the county.

Dorset County Council’s Traffic Control Centre in Dorchester will be manned from midnight tonight to coordinate the winter highways operations.

Gritting teams will be on 24hr standby to carry out pre-salting of the winter network and plough any snow that builds up, so that traffic can keep moving as safely as possible across the county.

Salt stocks are healthy, with additional supplies delivered today. All salt bins across the county are full, allowing borough, town and parish councils to treat roads and footways off the salted network.

Salt bins in strategic locations will be refilled as soon as possible but crews will concentrate on keeping priority roads cleared first.

Gritting teams will be out from midnight treating the priority network ready for sub-zero temperatures. Community routes connecting schools, hospitals and isolated communities were gritted earlier today, and snow ploughs have been fitted to vehicles in preparation for heavy snow tomorrow.

Motorists should take extreme care when travelling, keeping their speed down and maintaining a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front to be able to brake and stop safely. It can take 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions.

The county council will be working hard to make sure front-line services operate as normally as possible.

For more information about road salting, passable roads routes and how the weather is affecting essential services, such as schools, day centres and waste collections go to

For highways emergencies call 01305 221020.








The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for Dorset tomorrow.

A band of snow, heavy in places, will spread northeastwards across Wales and the southwestern half of England, during Friday morning, lasting through the afternoon and evening across much of Wales, the Midlands, southern and parts of southeast England. Winds will strengthen, leading to drifting of lying snow.

Many areas across the country are likely to have 20-30 cm of snow with strong southeasterly winds causing blizzards, severe drifting of lying snow and thus severe disruption. The public should avoid all non-essential journeys.

Elsewhere, accumulations of more than 5-10 cm of snow will occur quite widely, with 15 cm in some western parts of the Amber area, falling within 3-6 hours. The public should be prepared for disruption, including altering travel plans.


South West Trains is advising passengers that a revised Weymouth to Waterloo service is planned for tomorrow as a result of the forecast for severe weather and heavy snowfall.

A severe weather warning of heavy snow has been issued for South West England on Friday 18 January, which includes the South West Trains network area. Heavy snowfall and blizzards have been predicted, which could affect train services.

Jake Kelly, Customer Service Director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “Over the past few days, we have been carefully monitoring the weather forecast to enable us to make a decision about the level of service we should plan to run.  With severe weather warnings in place for heavy snow on our network, we have taken the decision to put a special timetable in place for Friday 18 January.

“We know that what our passengers want most is certainty about when and how they are going to get to their destination.  This special timetable helps ensure this by running slightly fewer services and allowing more time for trains to cope with poor conditions.
“In addition, it allows us to avoid train crew being in the wrong place which can cause further disruption.
“The revised timetable we have in place for Friday will help to ensure we make best use of our resources to deliver the most robust service we can for passengers should the forecasts prove accurate and will help our passengers plan ahead."

Revised timetables are available online at



The Highways Agency has put out a warning to drivers ahead of tomorrow's forcasted snow.

Motorists are advised to check the weather forecast tonight and tomorrow morning, and allow extra time for travel.

Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre said: “It would certainly be a good idea to check the latest forecast before you go to bed tonight so you’re prepared for the morning – and then set your alarm a bit earlier so you have extra time to prepare your car and make your journey in the morning.

“During periods of severe weather we also suggest people consider whether their journey is essential. They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.”

Mr Crosthwaite added: "We are using salt to treat the road network and have ploughs and snow blowers on standby if necessary. Our traffic officers are working around the clock to monitor our road network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving.”

Rain moving into the south west after midnight is expected to turn to snow as it moves inland.

Drivers can follow the latest weather news on the Dorset Echo website.

If they are travelling they should keep up to date with weather and travel advice, heed warnings and electronic message signs and drive according to the conditions – leaving extra time for journeys and extra room for braking and avoiding sudden manoeuvres such as braking or changing lanes suddenly.

Incidents and breakdowns can prevent winter service vehicles from treating the roads, causing further problems.


If you are messaging on Twitter regarding the weather use hashtag #DorsetWeather


BLIZZARDS could bring Dorset to a standstill tomorrow, forecasters have warned.

Strong winds, sleet and snow are set to sweep across the country with the south of England expected to get its first major snowfall of the year.

Motorists have been warned to take care and members of the public have been urged to keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours as temperatures plummet.

The mercury is set to remain at freezing point overnight and local authorities are preparing to do their best to keep drivers safe on the roads.

“There is the potential for a spell of snow to spread from the south west,” said a spokesman for the Met Office.

“As winds strengthen, blizzard conditions are a possibility, especially over high ground. Accumulations of two to five centimetres are possible quite widely and in some locations, especially higher ground, 15 centimetres are possible.”

Travel disruption is expected from tomorrow until Sunday with most snow expected to hit Dorset from mid-afternoon tomorrow until midday on Saturday.

And has warned that more snow could hit the area before the month is out. It has warned the white stuff could return after a few slightly warmer days next week.

Related links
•Do you know how to drive in snow?

Age UK has urged elderly people to keep warm. Suggestions include closing bedroom windows at night, wrapping up well when going outside and keeping living rooms at 21C and bedrooms at 18C.

Householders have been told crews will return to attempt to empty them on the next scheduled collection.




Advice from the Highways Agency to stay safe in the snow tomorrow is to be prepared.

Make sure your vehicle has an ice scraper, de-icer, warm clothes and blankets, a torch with spare batteries, boots, a first aid kit, jump leads, a shovel and a road atlas in case of emergencies.

Sunglasses, food, a thermos flask and any medication regularly taken by the driver or passengers is also a good idea.



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