Sunderland ready for winter deluge with 17,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled and a fleet of gritters at the ready

Sunderland during 'the Beast from the East'
Sunderland during 'the Beast from the East'
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More than 50 snow-busting vehicles and 17,000 tonnes of grit are ready to go should the weather turn fierce in Sunderland.

After the onslaught of the Beast from the East left the country at a near standstill earlier this year, councils have been gearing up for winter and preparing for the worst as the colder weather arrives.

Local authorities have stockpiled 1.4million tonnes of salt as they get ready to try to clear snow and ice on the roads this winter, according to new figures.

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Preparations to tackle any big freeze or flooding this winter sees 94% of councils with either more salt in stock for this year or the same level as they did last year, according to the Local Government Association's annual Winter Readiness Survey.

Funding pressures and limited resources mean that 55% of councils will share salt stocks, 30% will share gritting machinery and 22% plan to send staff to key locations across neighbouring areas when needed.

Sunderland City Council has 17,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled at its two depots, 15 gritters that can also be fitted with snow ploughs, and 36 tractors and mini-tractors that can be used for ploughing footpaths.

It may also use specialised weather forecasting that predicts estimated road surface temperatures.

The LGA survey found that 72% of councils will be looking to use GPS to manage gritting and 80% will provide local communities with grit bins so residents can help themselves to salt.

Council leaders are also urging people to check that vulnerable friends, neighbours and relatives are safe when the big freeze bites.

LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett said: "Councils are constantly monitoring the weather, with up-to-the-minute reports to stay one step ahead.

"Depots are filled with 1.4 million tonnes of salt and gritters are ready to be deployed instantly to make sure our local roads are clear and open to our residents where possible."

However, while it will be chilly in the North East this week, it doesn't look like we're in for any immediate influx of ice and snow.

Temperatures through the day this week are forecast to be around 7°C.

Today is set to be largely cloudy with showers merging at times into longer spells of rain, with only isolated brighter intervals likely.

A more noticeable breeze which will make it feel chillier than Saturday.

Tonight will continue rather cloudy with showers, locally on the heavy side at times. The noticeable breeze persisting overnight, giving a chilly feel. The minimum temperature will be 3°C.

Monday will see showers becoming more confined to coastal areas through the day. It will still feel rather chilly, but the breeze gradually easing. The maximum temperature will be 7°C.

The outlook for the rest of the week is for a mostly dry, bright morning on Tuesday, but heavy rain and strong winds later. Wednesday is set for a mainly dry start, but with wet and windy conditions developing. Thursday, is forecast to windy with blustery, perhaps thundery, with showers.