COUNCIL gritters will be out in force today and tomorrow as weather warnings for snow and ice remain in place across Oxfordshire until Friday.

With the freezing conditions expected to last for the next three days at least drivers are being urged to take care on the county’s roads with ice expected to accumulate on untreated surfaces.

Temperatures are expected to drop to -3C, with 'feels like' temperatures of -6C, and forecasters are saying it is likely to be the coldest night this winter.

As of 8.30pm this evening, the Met Office forecast said there was a 90 per cent chance of heavy snow in the early hours of Friday morning in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

The Met Office forecast for Friday, though this has been changing throughout the day

A yellow weather warning for fog and ice will come into force at 10pm tonight until 11am morning, with then a further weather warning for snow and ice in place from 1pm tomorrow until 9pm on Friday.

See below for tips to prepare for the cold. 

WEDNESDAY UPDATE - new snow forecast in detail 

Oxford Mail:

In an effort to keep as much of the county’s road network free from ice as possible Oxfordshire County Council were out salting major routes across the whole of the county from 8.30pm on Tuesday.

Read again: SNOW IN OXFORDSHIRE: When will it actually start snowing in your area?

Also read: Snow in Oxfordshire - Met Office forecast updated

Gritters are scheduled to be out across all three 'salting zones' tonight which includes the Cotswolds (North zone); Central Oxfordshire (Central zone - including the city of Oxford shown below); and the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs (South zone). 

The gritting network covers around 43 per cent of Oxfordshire's roads.

Oxford Mail:

Oxford gritting routes: Oxford City Council assists the county council in gritting the above routes in Oxford.

Routes selected for gritting include roads which carry large volumes of traffic; main bus routes; or those which provide access to hospitals fire stations or other key facilities, and usually take around three hours to complete.

Meanwhile the fire service has urged drivers to take care when driving in extreme conditions.

Last year’s Beast from the East blanketed the county under heavy snow for days, making driving even short distances treacherous.

And while the county is yet to see any significant snowfall this year, motorists are still urged to be aware of the still potentially hazardous driving conditions.

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service's road safety manager, Andy Ford, said: “Plan ahead, monitor the weather forecasts and weather warning in your area.

“Take into account potentially longer travel times and be prepared for delays and disruption.

"Ensure your car has enough oil and water, check your windscreen wipers and washer bottle, clear all your windows so you can see and make sure that your battery is in good condition.

Read again: Battling the 'Beast From The East' - behind the scenes with Oxfordshire's gritting team

“And it's also very important to check your tyres are in good condition and have more than the minimum tread depth.

“Remember to drive to the conditions; stopping distances can be more than ten times longer on snow and ice."

And in the event of another ‘snowmageddon’, the fire service has issued the following tips to stay safe on the roads:

  • Check the weather before setting off. Remember road surfaces are a couple of degrees colder than air temperature and untreated roads could still be icy even if your car isn’t
  • Completely clear all your windows and mirrors of ice and make sure all of your windows are demisted and not just a small area
  • Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. It can take twice as long to stop on wet roads and ten times longer to stop in icy ones
  • Check your tyres – ACT - Air pressure, Condition and Tread depth at least once a month. In rain, ice and heavy snow, the more grip you have the better
  • Ensure your lights are clean and working
  • Ensure your front and rear wipers are in good condition and the washer bottle is full with water and screen wash
  • Check that your battery is fully charged

If you have to travel, keep the following items in your car in case you get stuck.

  • ice scraper
  • de-icer
  • blanket
  • jump leads
  • shovel
  • decent footwear
  • first aid kit
  • hazard warning triangle
  • torch
  • high visibility jacket