Met Office issues yellow weather alert for Lancashire and warns to "only travel if necessary"
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Heavy sleet and snow showers are forecast to hit the county on Saturday, with some very icy conditions later in the day and into the evening as skies clear and temperatures fall further overnight. Further sleet and wet snow is forecast for Sunday, however this is expected to turn to rain during the evening as conditions become warmer and the risk of ice reduces as temperatures reach above freezing into Monday. In addition to the snow and ice, strong winds are expected, leading to periodic blizzard conditions in some areas.
Lancashire County Council's highways teams are gearing up for a very busy weekend with the expectation that gritting crews will be working around the clock to try to keep traffic moving on the main routes. The conditions forecast mean that all of the council's resources will need to be dedicated to ploughing and gritting the main routes, which could remain icy even after being gritted due to continuous sleet, snow and possibly freezing rain. Other roads which have not been treated could be treacherous and people are being asked to consider whether their journey is really necessary before setting out.
County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Please remember that we have to prioritise which roads we grit, with our focus being on keeping the main routes moving. No council has the resources to grit and clear snow on every road so I would ask people to think very carefully about whether it’s a good idea to try to travel in those conditions.
"I know that people in Lancashire always pull together to help each other out as much as they can when we get severe weather like this. I'm grateful for people keeping a check on any friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable due to the cold, or may not be able to make an essential trip to the shops or pharmacist due to the icy conditions.”
Depending on the conditions the county council may activate plans in place with farmers and agricultural contractors to clear snow on roads and provide additional support when resources are stretched.