A 48-hour long snow and ice warning has been issued by the Met Office which covers eastern parts of the Scottish Borders.
The warning, which comes into effect at midnight tonight (Monday) and runs until 12noon on Thursday, covers the likes of St Abbs, Ayton, Eyemouth and Foulden. The warning extends into northern Scotland, but in our region the main risk is ice rather than snow.
Freezing conditions across region
It will however be exceptionally cold across the whole region, with road surface temperatures forecast to reach as low as -10 degrees Celsius widely this evening. Road surface temperatures on Sunday evening dropped to -7C, after being as low as -5C on Saturday. Sudden and heavy snowfall on Sunday morning also impacted on various parts of the Borders too.
Gritting is taking place on all primary routes this afternoon, with further treatment to take place in the morning. Priority footpaths will also be treated in the morning, along with secondary routes and further footpaths where resources allow.
Following tragic events at the weekend, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued safety advice on frozen areas of water.
Winter information and advice
A wide range of information, including maps of gritting routes and details of priority footpath routes can be found on the Scottish Borders Council website – www.scotborders.gov.uk/winter. These webpages also include FAQs on winter services and advice.
As a reminder, parents of school pupils who use school transport should listen to Radio Borders, on radio, online or smart speaker, for morning updates on any school transport cancellations or amendments.
We have recently added six new gritters to our fleet, with a seventh arriving shortly, to help tackle winter conditions. This continues our investment into winter maintenance resources to help keep the Borders moving during any periods of snow and ice.
Councillor John Greenwell, Executive Member for Roads Development and Maintenance
“Each year we review the impact of the previous winter’s weather, our response to it and feedback from communities, and that helps to ensure that our refreshed Winter Service Plan is robust and that we are best placed to support our residents during the most challenging winter weather.
“The role that our Resilient Community groups and individuals can play through self-help and providing support to the vulnerable in the adverse weather is vital to local communities and is hugely appreciated by the Council too.
“The key thing is to be prepared. As a Council we are prepared for winter and it is important that the public take steps to ensure they are too. From getting your vehicles ready and allowing more time to travel to having the right supplies and equipment in your home and vehicle and being signed up for SB Alert messages, there are lots of simple steps you can take.
“When bad weather hits, it is important that people also make good decisions about travelling and making use of available resources, such as salt bins.”
Winter maintenance operations
Our Executive Committee endorsed a Winter Service Plan earlier in the autumn which aims to ensure the safety of communities through any adverse weather this winter.
Flexibility is a key factor throughout winter months, with gritting extending into April this year, and we are confident that our plan for this winter will keep communities moving and safe as much as possible.
This year’s plan is similar to that for last winter, focusing on intervention and prevention - ensuring the safety of people on travelling across the 3,000km long road network and 787km of footpaths across the region as far as possible. BEAR Scotland provides winter maintenance on trunk roads in the Scottish Borders, including the A68, A1 and the A7 south from Kingsknowes, Galashiels.
The introduction of salt bins for Resilient Community groups to use will also enable more community self-help in particularly wintry conditions.
Among the ways the public can prepare for winter is by signing up to the free emergency messaging system SB Alert to receive early warning of adverse weather. Alerts can be provided by phone, text or email and the type of alert received can be chosen when signing up.
Borderers are also encouraged to ensure households are stocked with a food supply and bottled water and have an emergency kit including emergency numbers, first aid kit, batteries and torches ready ahead of winter.
More detailed advice on being prepared for winter can be found on the Ready Scotland website.