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MET OFFICE FORECASTS HUGE COSTS OF WINTER MAINTENANCE

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The cost of the harsh winter to local authorities looks set to surpass the winter of 1990/90. The actual cost is b...
The cost of the harsh winter to local authorities looks set to surpass the winter of 1990/90. The actual cost is being calculated by the Met Office, which says the full impact will only be known in the next few weeks.

Anthony Astbury, head of the Met Office Open Road Service said: 'The winter as a whole has seen considerable snow. Of the last nine years, this winter has been only the second to have temperatures below average - all the others have been milder.

'Ironically, it followed a summer which was the third hottest on record, and one of the driest. Rainfall was down to just 37% on average.'

The winter saw:

-- many councils running out of budgets during mid February

-- freezing rain on at least four occasions - normally this is a once in a 20-year occurence

-- particularly high impact in south Wales, with the M4 closed for four hours on 30 December

-- severe weather in the south east of England, with the M25 chaos on 5 December

And for some this may not yet be over. For some Scottish authorities the season does not end until around the second week in may - last year there was snow on the Glasgow to Edinburgh M8 in early may.

Mr Astbury continued: 'Thankfully Britain is equipped more than ever to cope, with a network of more than 600 road sensors, and an increasing number of PC-based MIST systems installed in operating rooms.'

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