Each Operating Company is required to obtain the services of an expert weather forecasting provider and operate a computerised road weather information system.
This displays data from road sensors, weather cameras, forecasts and weather radar to assist the operating company to make decisions on the deployment of winter maintenance resources.
Expert meteorologists provide daily weather forecasts to the Winter Service Managers from 1 October to 15 May.
The forecasts arrive around midday, allowing daily winter action plans to be prepared by 3.00 pm, outlining pre-treatment arrangements on roads for the next 24 hour period.
Operating Companies monitor forecasts using actual data from weather stations and sensor sites. Further information is also collected by liaising with the weather forecaster, gritter drivers, winter patrols, the police and third parties.
Weather stations throughout the trunk road network relay information to the Operating Companies, including temperature, wind speeds and rainfall. Many of the weather stations have cameras attached allowing decision makers to remotely monitor the locations.
Operating Companies monitor and update this database of information around the clock, with any changes required to action plans being implemented, as far as is reasonably practicable, in advance of adverse conditions.
Where it is not possible to predict adverse conditions, the Severe Weather Manager has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that reactive requirements are implemented within the required timescales.