Gritters are at the ready as winter weather sets in
COUNCILS across South West Wales are gearing up for snow and ice — and there is a little taste of wintry weather on the way this weekend.
Local authorities said they had stockpiled grit and had plans in place for whatever the coming months might throw at them.
And people may have to raid their wardrobes for winter woollies sooner than expected with a cold snap forecast today and tomorrow.
With temperatures plunging to freezing and the clocks going back there will be no mistaking the fact the seasons are changing.
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Swansea Council said it had its stocks of road salt ready for action — and that gritter lorries could be on the roads as early as this weekend.
A spokesman said: "We have over 6,000 tonnes of salt available in preparation for any cold weather spells during the coming winter.
"All 800 grit bins have been filled and are available for residents to make use of if required.
"The latest forecast means we plan to be out treating roads this weekend where required. However, this could change based on later forecasts."
Carmarthen Council also said they were ready for winter — and had twice as much salt in stock this year compared to three years ago.
The council's executive board member for street scene, Councillor Colin Evans, said planning for winter had started over the summer, and there was 16,500 tonnes of salt in storage.
He said: "We set aside £1 million each year as part of our winter maintenance programme and staff are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We do all we can to keep our roads safe for both pedestrians and motorists in what can sometimes be very difficult conditions."
The last bad winter for South West Wales was in 2010, when weeks of below-zero temperatures and heavy snowfalls caused chaos to thousands, brought many roads to a standstill, disrupted services and closed all but a handful of schools.
The latest long-range weather forecasts suggest winter 2012 will be milder than 2010.
Neath Port Talbot Council said "every effort" was being made to ensure the county would be kept moving over the coming moths.
The council's head of streetcare, Mike Roberts, said road salt had been stockpiled and vehicles checked, and the authority's 474 roadside grit bins were being filled.
He said: "The gritting operation covers 42 per cent of the county borough road network, which is above the Welsh average, and includes all principle roads as well as access routes to hospitals, fire stations, police stations, main bus routes and the M4.
"Over recent weeks drivers have undergone winter service training and route familiarisation and since last week crews have been on standby ready to respond out of hours should weather conditions dictate."