Storm Caroline: How the forecast ‘Arctic’ conditions may affect your weekday travels

December 7, 2017

Storm Caroline will arrive on Thursday morning (December 7) and is forecast to bring hazardous weather likely affect road and rail travel

The third named storm of the year could feature high winds, heavy rain and even snow – unlike Aileen or Brian – the Met Office warned on Tuesday (December 5) when it issued a yellow warning.

This warning was on Wednesday (December 5) upgraded to an amber warning, the second most severe, for much of the country.

Although Surrey and the rest of the south east will avoid the worst of Caroline, the Met Office is urging people to be wary of prolonged periods of unsettled weather, especially on Friday (December 8).

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Storm Caroline

The storm is not expected to cause a “significant impact” here but plans are in place should that happen, according to Surrey County Council , as well as the county’s airports and train companies.

Here is how your travels on Thursday and Friday could be affected, and what is being done and what you can do to get on your way safely.


Clear your windscreens

It’s every driver’s worst nightmare travelling in freezing conditions – in fact, more than half of drivers actively try to avoid driving in icy and snowy weather, according to

The price comparison website asked 2,000 UK drivers how they would de-ice their cars, with 7% using their bank or loyalty card.

According to the RAC, this is the worst possible method and could damage your windscreen, a point echoed by Confused’s managing editor Amanda Stretton.

“Worringly, some people are still using ineffective or makeshift methods to clear ice on their car,” she said. “if your windscreen is not cleared correctly, it can land you with up to £60 in fines or points on your licence.”

Braking safely

Surrey Police has warned a car’s braking distance increases by at least 10 times in icy conditions.

Motorists are advised to keep their distance from other road users.

Where are those gritters?

Surrey County Council has confirmed there are no plans to grit the roads until they receive the forecast on Thursday.

“There’s no gritting planned for tonight as the temperature is forecast to be 5C,” said a spokesman on Wednesday.

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

“We won’t know about tomorrow until the forecast comes in, a decision is normally made in the afternoon/early evening.

“The gritters were out and about last week when there were colder temperatures.”


Passengers due to fly while Storm Caroline is here will be reassured to hear there are unlikely to be any significant impact on Heathrow or Gatwick airports.

Both airports have confirmed they do not expect snow.

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Named Storms 2017/18

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “Currently, there is no significant snow impact expected on Heathrow’s schedule this weekend.”

Since 2010, Heathrow has spent £37m on its Winter Resilience Programme to more than double its snow clearing capability, which now extends to 130 snow clearing vehicles or pieces of equipment.


Both South Western Railway (SWR) and Southern Rail have said they are working closely with Network Rail should the forecast become severe enough to make “special preparations”.

Southern Rail

A Southern Rail spokesman said: “Currently weather forecasts for the rest of the week are not severe enough to need any special preparations or changes to timetables.

“We and Network Rail will of course continue to monitor updated forecasts closely.

“Some isolated and brief snow showers are possible in the north of our service area on Thursday and Friday nights.”

(Image: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

The spokesman added: “If forecasts worsen we recommend that passengers check journey planners and our web sites before they travel, and that they take care on potentially slippery surfaces in and around stations if it is raining or frosty.”

South Western Railway

A SWR spokesman said: “Although Storm Caroline is predicted to be at its worst in Scotland, together with Network Rail, we will monitor weather conditions on our network closely.”

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