Warning as wet roads now "likely to freeze"
By The Bristol Post | Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 08:15
A COLD icy blast will leave Bristol in sub-zero chaos for the rest of the week following a weekend of flooding misery.
With temperatures set to plummet to as low as -4ºC overnight over the next few days, weather forecasts have warned motorists and pedestrians that large areas of surface water could now freeze.
The Bristol area was battered by storms over the weekend, with hundreds of homes flooded and one man left dead.
Some residents in North Somerset have been flooded up to three times in the last week with persistent heavy rain falling in the area.
Many roads have been left unpassable because of flood water, while trains have also been affected.
The Met Office said yesterday that a cold front from the north could now freeze much of the water which has yet to recede completely.
A spokesman from the Met Office said: "The good news is that there's a much drier outlook moving into the end of this week.
"However, it's going to be a lot colder with a northeasterly wind bringing temperatures down from the relatively mild highs of last week and the weekend.
"As we go through the week the temperatures will really drop off and the night-time temperatures will drop down to freezing or below.
"What we are going to see is an increased risk of fog and some possible icy stretches on roads which are still wet. With so much water around still we may well have a few issues on the roads in particular.
"A 15 or 20mph breeze will also make those cold temperatures feel colder than they are by a degree or two."
Motorists across North Somerset – worst affected by the floods – are being advised to take caution on roads in light of the forecast.
Many roads have been left unpassable due to standing water and the heavy rain has caused landslips in Portbury.
Council highway chiefs say that this could cause already wet roads to freeze and cause treacherous driving conditions.
A council spokesman said: "The forecast for the next few days in North Somerset indicates dry but cold conditions, with overnight possible near freezing temperatures.
"This could have a significant impact on roads if sub-zero road temperatures do occur.
"The already wet roads are likely to freeze and cause treacherous driving conditions.
"Gritting vehicles will be deployed as usual if the road temperature falls, but due to water run-off from hills and fields the effectiveness of the salting may be severely reduced.
"Therefore the message to drivers, public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians is to take extreme caution on all roads, whether treated or not."
The council salts 29 per cent of the overall road network across the district, including the main arterial routes.
Roger Lawson from the Association of British Drivers warned drivers to prepare for tricky conditions.
He said: "People should obviously check that their cars are fit to go on the road as the cold fronts start to move in.
"They might want to have a look at winter tyres as are used more commonly on the continent.
"Other than that, they just need to drive a bit more carefully than usual and make sure all their lights are working which is a common problem when it starts to get cold."
Heavy rain over the weekend saw a busy few days for the Avon Fire and Rescue Service after the Environment Agency issued flood warnings for the River Frome, River Chew and River Yeo.
Crews spent hours pumping water out of a supermarket in Thornbury, and an electricity substation in Portishead.
Numerous rescue operations also saw people rescued from their homes in Oldwick Lane and houseboats in Keynsham.