Ice warning as floods loom

CHANGEABLE winter weather conditions are continuing to keep Devon County Council's highways teams busy.

CHANGEABLE winter weather conditions are continuing to keep Devon County Council's highways teams busy. While gritters and ploughs have been out again over the weekend dealing with the prospect of ice, and clearing snow drifts to make sure that roads are passable, heavy rainfall is now adding to the potential hazards.Motorists are being warned to drive with care as heavy rain deluges the county and the rest of the region. With up to 50mm expected to fall in some areas, and combined with melting snow, it could cause localised flooding. Surface water is already widespread and Langford Bridge in East Devon is closed due to flooding.Snow could also remain an issue across high ground as there is the possibility that the rain could turn to snow, and North Devon could face up to another 5cm of snow overnight. Sub zero road temperatures could make roads icy overnight, particularly in east Devon, so gritting teams will now have to find the optimum time to salt Devon's major roads to prevent ice forming, but without the salt being washed from the roads. Gritters will be out from 6pm and will inspect again in the evening and early hours, and all agencies are on high alert for all weather conditions.Councillor Margaret Rogers, Devon County Council Executive Member for Environment, said: "With such a mixed bag of weather there is a potential for a variety of significant problems, from flooding to icy roads and snow. The amount of rainfall we've received is another challenge on top of everything else and it is a hazard that drivers should treat with extreme care."All major roads are clear except some minor routes on Dartmoor and in the North Molton, Brayford and Parracombe area where ploughs and snow blowers are clearing snow.The County's Highway Operations Control Centre, which is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year, is monitoring the county's highway network. Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of roads - the biggest network of any local authority in the country.

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