Friday, November 26, 2010
Liverpool City Council Winter Weather Preparations
Please see note received on Thursday afternoon, lots of good stuff in here, including the truth that of course you can legally clear the snow from your path, doh!
Firstly, despite some of the images you might have seen today of the snow affecting parts of the UK, at the time of writing to you, there have currently been no Met Office Weather Warnings issued for the Liverpool area (please see edited NW weather briefing below from our Public Weather Advisor). Forecasts show that the over next few days - although there will be below zero temperatures at night - that no snow is forecasted for the Merseyside area. We will as ever continue to monitor this situation and update you all accordingly should this situation change. For your information, however, Liverpool City Council has been making preparations for any potential adverse winter weather conditions or prolonged cold snap event, the key points are outlined below as follows: -
o 2000t held at Newton Road with 1000t call off contract with Salt Union giving greater resilience. However, the Cabinet Office’s ‘Salt Cell’, if invoked, may influence this call-off ability.
o Gritting routes have been reviewed to take into account strategic network, key transport nodes and critical infrastructure
o Gritting routes can be viewed on the LCC internet and Enterprise Liverpool websites
o Advice has been prepared for schools/building managers regarding clearing of pathways to/from buildings and PMU will act as a conduit for those wishing to procure grit salt etc. Should the need arise for additional resources to be diverted to Emergency Rest Centres; this can easily and quickly be carried out.
o ‘Safethaw’ pavement clearing equipment purchased plus 4000l of product for city centre pavement de-icing.
o Cemeteries & Crematoria have 30t salt in store at Springwood Crematorium
Communication with Staff & Public:
Myth busting advice has been issued by the Department for Transport in the form of the Snow Code. The Snow Code gives tips and guidance to the public on clearing snow and ice from the pavement themselves - text of which is shown below. The Snow Code the salient points of which have been copied and pasted below.
Severe & Extreme Weather Warnings above certain thresholds are now posted on Liverpool City Council's intranet and internet with a link to Met Office website
Receipt and dissemination mechanism for Severe and Extreme Weather warnings by Liverpool Direct (LDL) have been verified and additional familiarisation delivered to call centre team leaders by Met Office Regional Public Weather Advisor
The Emergency Planning Unit’s Let’s Get Ready Liverpool contains guidance and tips on how to prepare for winter weather and is available to download on the LCC internet site
Children’s Services have introduced a Single Point Of Contact for reporting school closures and Out Of Hours contact details are held for all Head Teachers
PMU (I dont know what the PMU is sorry...) is to act as single point of contact for individual schools for procurement advice on salt supplies for them to order and use. Advice for schools will be placed on Ednet (intranet for all Liverpool schools) in unison with the information on LCC intranet.
LCC Business Continuity:
Emergency Planning Unit to call tactical meetings of relevant Business Units when forecast predicts disruption to council services
Business Units have strengthened their Business Continuity Management plans in light of learning from last winter’s severe weather event and the related interruptions.
Please be assured that in the event the Met Office forecast should prove to be inaccurate, corporate arrangements are in place to respond accordingly.
Notes from the Met Office Forecast - Main Points:
1.) There are no major changes to the forecast across NW England for
Thursday and Friday - the much-heralded cold spell is now underway and looks set to last for the foreseeable future (i.e. at least in to the middle of next week). We have prepared revised graphics indicating the national snow risk for both the above days. These can be accessed on our website at the link below. Note that on both Thursday and Friday there is a low risk of some snow penetrating the region - the Pennine fringes on Thursday and then the western fringes on Friday. The Friday risk seems to be more focussed on Merseyside and west Cheshire during the afternoon and evening but it remains a low risk at this stage.
2.) The overall message for the region is for largely dry conditions
(Isolated snow showers) with widespread overnight frosts to predominate over the next 36 to 48 hours. As is so often in these cold spells it is the eastern half of the UK that cops most of the snow. This is certainly the case at the moment. Back on Monday I commented that the situation may get more complicated by the weekend with an increased risk of snow showers, probably biased more towards the Pennine fringes. That advice still holds but as yet there remains no firm detail on which, if any, areas are at greater risk from any significant snow. Come the weekend small scale weather features could quite easily generate some localised snowfall but such features are well nigh impossible to predict this far off.
3.) Further updates will be issued as and when appropriate. Perhaps the most important aspect to emphasise at the moment from a resilience standpoint is the forecast duration of this spell and the possible effects it may have on the more vulnerable sections of the community. To this end there are some useful links provided at the bottom of the above weblink.
There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully. Follow the snow code when clearing snow and ice safely.
The snow code - tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces
Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.
If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured.
Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.
Clear the snow or ice early in the day
It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.
Use salt or sand - not water
If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.
Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage.
If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.
Take care where you move the snow
When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths
If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.
As always, I am very happy to take any calls from any residents or businesses in Kensington or Fairfield who need any help or support.
Photo: Taken by Louise Baldock, January 2010, Liverpool