Scots urged to prepare for thaw

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After weeks of coping with the most severe winter in decades, preparations are now underway to deal with the aftermath and thaw which is predicted to begin this week.

Forecasts predict a period of thawing throughout the week and across Scotland preparations by the Scottish Government and local and national agencies are now in place to deal with its effects.

Ministers are also urging individuals to take steps to protect themselves and their families during this difficult period. From today, information on dealing with the thaw is available on the Scottish Government’s website at www.scotland.gov.uk/thaw.

Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, said:

“The efforts of everyone from individuals to agencies to cope with this spell of extreme weather has kept Scotland moving. Now, however, we must be well prepared for the next stage which could bring just as many challenges. The predicted thaw will present all kinds of problems and we must stand ready to deal with any eventualities.”

Burst pipes are expected to be a major concern and Scottish Water has already mobilised to ensure that the water supply to their customers’ homes is maintained and that should they experience any problems, they respond as quickly as possible.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s director of customer service delivery, said: “We would like to re-assure our customers that we have put contingencies in place to meet the challenges. We have manpower, vehicles and materials in place so repairs are performed as soon as possible.”

Melting snow flowing into rivers and lochs is also of concern to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency which is monitoring water levels in rivers and lochs. This information is used alongside forecasts and models to issue flood alerts as part of the national flood warning system.

Drivers are also warned to be extra aware of black ice over the next few days as the combination of above zero daytime temperatures and sub-zero night temperatures create black ice on the roads. Scotland’s road network is prepared to deal with the challenge and gritters will continue to treat roads at risk of icing.

If you think your area may be at risk of flooding you can get up to date information at the SEPA flood warnings web page or call Floodline on 0845-988-1188.

As part of the Scottish Government’s contingency planning for winter, there are presently 125,000 tonnes of salt in stock with a further 435,000 tonnes on order.

There are a number of simple steps and precautions you can take to prepare for and deal with the thaw – these have been brought together in a ‘Dealing with the thww’ section of the Scottish Government’s ‘Ready Winter’ pages. This provides advice and links to more detailed guidance on issues such as dealing with burst pipes, safe driving and reporting blocked drains.