Winter Gritting Experts

Winter Weather Prediction, And Why The Polar Vortex Matters

November 15, 2019

Accurate weather forecasting is a key start to our service, and whereas the Highways Agency operates to an 85% successful prediction rate, our weather forecaster MetDesk boasts an impressive 98%. Whilst other winter services suppliers maybe satisfied with air temperature predictions for winter forecasting, GRITIT uses bespoke Metdesk local quadrant road temperature analysis developed for use in logistics and transportation.

Weather activated services

metdeskGRITIT’s fixed cost services include proactive temperature-activated winter gritting, car park, footpath and facility snow clearance, both manual and mechanical, with a 24/7 operations centre backed up by full liability protection. The midday MetDesk road temperature weather forecast activates mechanical snow clearance and is activated when the forecast is for 5 cm or more of snow to fall between midday and 6.00am the following day. When snow clearance is also selected, GRITIT seasonal operators ensure snow clearance from your pedestrian car park, footpath and facility areas on your site.

winter weather

GRITIT’s technology stack turns winter compliance into our responsibility, with no management intervention required by yourselves and leading-edge use of technology to notify you every time that jobs are started and completed - on any device, anywhere. The GRITIT system automates winter processes from pre-job weather analysis to job completion, with audit level reporting and winter risk assessments provided as standard.

GRITIT has five regionally based directors and headquarters, each of which manage strategically placed machinery and saltpile depots in their regions, together with GRITIT teams of local winter gritting operatives spread throughout these regions. The GRITIT strategic regions, depots and teams comprise of Scotland, Northern England, The Midlands, London and the Southeast and Wales and the Southwest, which ensures that we’re always nearby and available so that your facility’s operations remain running when freak winter conditions occur, as they will. GRITIT is unique in this regional model, our weather prediction system and our fantastic service record during 2018’s Beast from the East saw many national FMs and PMs turn to GRITIT’s professional snow clearance operations in favour of cheaper local contractors lacking local equipment and salt stock.

The local model works for you, the customer, on a number of levels. Not only does it make for a fast response winter service for you, but local weather and road knowledge gives us an extra edge during winter weather. This in turn also passes savings onto you, as local specialists make for a vastly reduced fossil fuel footprint.

Polar vortex instability

The Polar Vortex is a band of strong winds up in the North Pole, high up in the atmosphere that keeps bitterly cold air locked around the Arctic region. The Polar Vortex is nice and predictable when it's a stable straight line weather cap across the Arctic, but the pattern in the last 24 months has been of a wavy unstable nature, which results in greater unpredictability and variation as shown by the graphic below.

GRAPHIC - polarvortex_explained_updated 012919 - 4034x2912

Last winter, the polar vortex broke in two, bringing the coldest conditions in decades to the midwest US, and Chicago was even colder than Antarctica. This time the Polar vortex has resulted in an extreme temperature anomaly across eastern Europe, with unseasonal warmth across the mainland of the continent - temperature anomalies were more than than 15C across E Europe while further east anomalies were close to 20C above normal. 

In Britain, the Polar Vortex has led to wintry showers at high elevations this week, with cold air coming in from the north and leading all the way down, whilst a wintry front worked its way east and created snow in Wales and the Cotswalds. In central and southern areas in addition to showers, rainfall is likely to dominate the news headlines for some days to come. At GRITIT, although we're expecting a great deal of weather turbulence in the weeks to come, the Metdesk local quadrant road temperature analysis will let us make sure that regardless of your location in the UK, if your site needs gritting we'll be there.

Contact us today for winter gritting

The extremes of recent years have demonstrated the unpredictability of winter weather in the UK. If you're responsible for a portfolio of buildings, facilities, business or retail parks, this can make it challenging to budget for the costs of winter services. At GRITIT, we offer a breadth of commercial arrangements with the flexibility to meet the needs of your business. Pay for gritting and/or snow clearance only when needed with a cost per visit (CPV) arrangement that ensures you only pay when the weather conditions trigger a visit. For more cost predictability, fixed price deals for the winter are ideal and ensure peace of mind that no matter how harsh the winter, you will only pay the agreed price.

More Information 

This covers all visits for winter gritting and/or snow clearance when the agreed weather condition trigger is reached. For clients seeking a hybrid model that combines elements of both arrangements we can create a tailored commercial plan. We can also work with you to customise the triggers for visits according to the exact temperature or snow conditions that meet your requirements – and advise on best practice for doing so while keeping your sites safe.


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