SHEFFIELD has been warned to ‘batten down the hatches’ with heavy snow predicted to hit the city in the biggest freeze of the winter so far.
Forecasters say around 5cm of persistent snow will fall across the city tomorrow - and Sheffield Council is geared up in preparation.
A fleet of gritters has been salting the streets for days as temperatures plummet - reaching as low as -6C last night - and are ready to work throughout Saturday.
And there is 18,000 tonnes of grit in stock - enough for around 36 days - with around 100 snow wardens on standby to clear pathways and roads.
The snow is not expected to be as extreme as last winter’s blizzards, which caused chaos up and down the country.
But Wayne Southall, the council’s emergency services manager, advised people not to travel on Saturday unless essential and take precautions if they do.
He said: “If people can just batten down the hatches for a day or so it will all pass through.
“The forecasts are very clear that the snow is going to be a problem this weekend, we will do our best by making sure the roads are treated.”
Meteo Group is now predicting ‘persistent’ snow through Saturday afternoon and night that will leave around 5cm of the white stuff on the ground.
Forecaster Julian Mays said: “We’re not talking about flurries, we are talking about quite persistent snow that is going to last until probably just after midnight in the Sheffield area.”
A few showers of snow are expected before the weekend and temperatures are set to stay at freezing on Sunday with an icy start to Monday.
Gritters were out again last night as the council prepared for the predicted snow.
Mr Southall added: “We are geared up. We’ve got salt down on the roads and were laying more last night.
“They will be out doing a full grit and road temperatures are predicted to be about -4 to -6C, we’ll be doing another grit on Friday night.
“At the moment I’m not expecting to do anything in the day but Saturday is looking like we might need them.”
Mr Southall advised people to take warm clothing on journeys and make sure cars have enough fuel before setting out.
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Gritting by numbers:
n 30 - council gritters
n 59 - per cent of Sheffield’s roads which are treated
n 18,000 - tonnes of grit in stock