DEVON is braced for a cold snap which will see a sharp fall in temperatures in the coming days.

The Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency says the South West is on "amber alert" until Friday.

Although conditions are forecast to be drier and brighter, it’s expected to be much colder from this weekend onwards and Devon Highways is preparing for a prolonged cold spell.

Met Office yellow weather warning for ice 08/01/24
(Met Office)

An amber alert means the weather is likely to impact the whole health service for an extended period of time, with potential for the whole population to be at risk - meaning health services may have to co-ordinate a response.

Overnight road surface temperatures are set to fall slightly below zero in some places and will be close to freezing in others, increasing the risk of icy patches by tomorrow morning.

Gritters will be out across the county tonight treating several precautionary salting routes from 9pm. Other routes will also be monitored in case more treatments are needed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “With such a marked drop in temperatures after the relentless wet weather we’ve had, it’s likely that we’ll be facing some challenging conditions as we go through the weekend and into next week.

“Standing water and runoff from fields are likely to affect some parts of Devon’s road network for some time so there will be a risk of icy patches. Our fleet of gritters will no doubt be getting busier as the cold spell progresses, but please remember that roads could be hazardous.”

UKHSA cold weather tips (UKHSA)

Please remember the following advice:

• Allow additional time for your journey. Never drive through floodwater or swollen flowing water, you don’t know how deep it is. Find an alternative route;

• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;

• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front;

• Drive with care and according to the conditions;

• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. The NHS website has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;

• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications.

For more information and travel advice visit Devon County Council’s winter travel webpages or for updates follow @DevonAlert on Twitter (X) and Facebook.