Residents are being warned to take extra care on the roads as plummeting temperatures could see snow and sleet hit the region on Sunday.

Priority routes across Lancashire were gritted last night in preparation for snow, which could turn heavy, with difficult driving conditions and travel disruption possible.

Temperatures are also forecast to drop to minus two across Hyndburn by next Thursday. Lancashire County Council (LCC) has warned that rapidly changing weather could make roads treacherous even after they have been gritted.

A Met Office spokeswoman said: “Very heavy rain is forecast for Saturday. The snow on Sunday may just skirt the area but there is a warning in place so we advise people to be aware of heavy rain turning into snow and to be prepared for possible travel disruption.

“Next week will be a lot colder, especially at night time. The temperatures forecast are average for January but a bit of a shocker after the warmer weather we’ve had.”

LCC’s advice is that gritting does not prevent all danger of slipping.

Rain falling on freezing surfaces can also create black ice which is virtually impossible to see and can happen even when a road has been gritted.

Earlier this winter the council advised the Observer it has more than 30,000 tonnes of salt in stock and 49 gritters ready to go from nine depots based across the county.

John Fillis, LCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, advised: “We get very accurate weather forecasts and grit whenever a freeze is forecast. It isn’t practical to treat every road, however we treat all the A roads, all B roads, and some C roads, which adds up to around 1,500 miles of road – about a third of the total in Lancashire.”

The fleet of 49 frontline gritters can treat the 1,500 miles of the county council’s priority road network within around four hours, costing up to £100,000 a day.

Agricultural contractors are also on standby ready to clear more remote rural roads if there is heavy snow.

Tips and advice for safer driving are available at You can also check forecasts here and see which roads are gritted. Follow #lancswinter on Twitter for real-time gritting updates.·

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