Council staff are working flat out round-the-clock repairing the damage caused by Storm Ciara, closing roads to deal with fallen debris, and supporting communities hit by flooding, while making sure they are fully prepared for any further extreme weather.
The storm has seen much of the country battered by strong winds as well as heavy downpours, causing flash flooding in some areas.
The Local Government Association said many councils have closed roads to deal with a high number of fallen trees and other debris, while others have evacuated residents from flooded homes.
Motorists are being advised to drive with caution with safety warnings issued to people to take care when out and about.
It comes as UK weather warnings from the Met Office currently remain in place until the middle of the week, with further windy conditions and wintry showers and ice forecast for some areas.
The LGA said councils develop comprehensive plans to cope with any bad weather and are working hard to ensure the safety of residents, homes and businesses, shore up flood defences, and protect road networks and power supplies as much as possible following the storm.
Dedicated council staff are out clearing roads, highway teams are trying to pump and drain floodwater and continue to work closely with affected residents. Social services and housing teams are also out visiting their older and vulnerable residents to make sure they are okay.
With snow and ice now forecast in some parts of the country, the LGA’s new annual winter readiness survey shows councils in England and Wales have stockpiled an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of salt – enough to fill around 275 Olympic swimming pools – to cope.
Highway teams remain on standby around the clock ready to be deployed to grit thousands of miles of roads when temperatures plummet.
Councils are using social media and their websites to provide rolling updates on the situation in local areas.
Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s transport spokesman, said:
“Preparing for bad weather remains a key priority for councils.
“Storm Ciara has brought chaos and unleashed havoc in much of the country. Councils have been working round-the-clock to protect residents and minimise disruption caused by the storm and the snow, ice and flooding it has brought to some areas.
“Highways staff have been out clearing roads of any debris and damage and will continue to monitor up-to-the-minute weather reports to make sure they stay one step ahead of the weather.
"Councils urge residents to check in on neighbours, especially those who are vulnerable or elderly. Everyone has a role to play. It could just be a case of simply knocking on someone’s door to make sure that person is safe or in need of any help.”
The LGA’s annual winter readiness survey reveals how councils have prepared for winter. This includes:
- 89 per cent of councils planned to take action to reduce the risk of flooding on roads, through using a mixture of gully-sucking lorries, sandbags, pumps and additional gully and drain inspections
- Councils have on average 10 full-sized gritters, one mini-gritter and four pieces of other gritting equipment, including snow blowers, tractors and quad bikes, while three-quarters plan to share resources with other councils and emergency services over the winter period.
- Nearly three-quarters of councils planned to use GPS to manage the gritting process, while 69 per cent are planning to equip street cleaners with salt
- Seven in 10 councils put plans in place to use community grit bins for the public, 49 per cent will provide salt to other local groups, and 21 per cent are proposing to use community flood wardens.