Last updated:
19 December 2017

Dealing with heavy snow and ice

Find out what to do before, during and after it has snowed.

1 Before snow or ice

  • Keep in touch us by following WSCC news on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
  • Sign up to receive severe weather and school closure email alerts
  • Prepare your home for winter weather. Contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012 for free impartial advice on reducing your heating bills and making your home more energy efficient.
  • Check on the latest forecast from the Met Office and watch out for severe weather warnings.
  • Make sure you have some basic supplies at home. See our emergency survival checklist for more information. If you need medication make sure you have enough to get you through the bad weather. Stock up on alternative fuels such as wood and oil if you can and always use these safely.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbours and make sure they have the supplies they need.
  • Make sure that your car is prepared for winter weather by following RAC advice.
  • Put grit, sharp sand or salt on paths or driveways to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow.
  • Make sure that you have a shovel available.
  • Our Protect your business pages provide information on how to prepare a business continuity plan to help in the event of extreme weather.
  • Complete a Household Emergency Plan, which can include important numbers, such as your home insurer, doctor and the police.
  • Make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged.

Supporting document

2 During snow or ice

  • Stay warm and well. Find out if Cold Weather Payments are being made and if you are eligible.
  • Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you're worried about them, contact us.

Venturing out on foot

  • If you go outside put on sturdy footwear to avoid slips and trips. Be particularly careful going up and down steps and pavements.
  • Wear several layers of clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat. Keep moving your arms and legs to help the blood circulate.

Venturing out by car

  • Avoid travel if possible. Try to wait until the roads have been gritted before travelling, and keep an eye on weather warnings.
  • Extreme weather conditions and icy roads can make driving more difficult. By following Government advice you can help to make your journey safer and reduce delays for everyone.
  • Refer to our winter service pages for information on snow gritting routes and our Twitter feed for daily decisions about gritting.
  • See the safe driving advice from the RAC.

If you do get trapped or stranded:

  • protect yourself, wrap up warm and wear a hat, as a large percentage of your body heat can be lost through your head
  • wear lots of layers of clothing as multiple layers are better at keeping you insulated than 1 or 2 thick layers
  • stay in the car and do not leave it to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards in case you become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow
  • display a trouble sign by hanging a brightly coloured cloth on the radio antenna and raising the bonnet
  • occasionally run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour to run the heater and keep warm and turn on the car's light
  • beware of carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping the exhaust pipe clear of snow and opening a downwind window slightly for ventilation
  • watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia
  • do minor exercises to keep up circulation
  • try not to stay in one position for too long by clapping your hands and moving your arms and legs occasionally
  • take turns sleeping if more than one person is in the car and huddle together for warmth
  • use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.

Clearing snow and ice

There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully.

  • Check out Government advice on clearing snow.
  • We will put out bulk bags in key areas that have been identified by your parish council with the expectation that the salt will be used before snow falls. This salt can be used by the community to assist in clearing public places.

Weather information

Travel information

3 After snow or ice

  • The action of freezing and thawing may damage the road surface. Please report potholes using our online form.
  • Be extra careful when travelling as an initial thaw could create black ice. 
  • Replace any supplies or food you have used to ensure you are ready should severe weather return. 
  • Check on vulnerable neighbours to see if there is anything they need.

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