HIGHWAYS teams across Hampshire are bracing themselves for a weekend of snow.
County transport bosses have bolstered their fleet of gritters as forecasters issue a yellow weather warning for snow and ice for the next three days.
There have already been reports of brief sleet and snow falls in Portsmouth.
According to the Met Office, there is a 70 per cent chance the precipitation will fall on Portsmouth and the surrounding areas from midday today. It is then expected to continue until the late afternoon, before resuming at 11pm until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘With snow forecast from Saturday afternoon and into the night, our highways teams will be setting out on the first of a number of salt runs to make sure Hampshire’s main roads are treated and ready for traffic.
‘Our farmers, who certainly did a fantastic job at the beginning of the month, have been alerted to the forecast and are to put the snow ploughs on their tractors again, to be ready to clear roads as necessary.
‘Thousands of community salt bins are ready for people to help keep public footpaths free of ice and snow. Only a small amount of salt is needed to treat reasonably large areas.’
The boss also advised residents to ‘heed travel advice and local weather forecasts’ before setting off on any journeys.
With relatively warm temperatures throughout the past week set to tumble to lows of -2C this weekend, the council’s winter gritting fleet began their work at 7pm last night.
Today, they will replenish their stocks at depots, before fitting ploughs for more runs – starting with the county’s main roads,
It comes just a matter of weeks after Hampshire faced widespread disruption caused by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ – which left some residents cut off from county salt routes facing difficulties to get out and buy supplies.
In a statement released yesterday, the council offered an arm of support to those who are vulnerable amid the cold snap.
The authority advised anyone worried about a loved one, neighbour or elderly relative in the conditions to call its Adults’ Health and Care team on 0300 555 1373 this weekend.