Weather stations sited to inform travellers ahead of winter weather

This story was published 1 October 2021

Road users across North Yorkshire will be able to benefit from additional travel information transmitted from ten new weather stations erected in advance of this coming winter.

New weather station

These new stations, installed by North Yorkshire Highways, now mean that the county has the most up-to-date, extensive range of weather stations in the country.

They will help decision makers have better and more detailed knowledge of the prevailing weather conditions over some of the highest and most exposed roads in the county.   

These new sites will be equipped with solar powered cameras that will shortly have their images displayed on our website. This will also enable members of the public to see the road conditions before commencing their journeys. 

Until now, highways officers have not been able to run cameras from solar powered sites, but camera and battery technologies have improved over the past few years to allow them to do this.

The weather stations, which have been provided by Vaisala, a global technology leader in weather measurements, can be found on high, remote roads such as the B6255 at Ribblehead,  a vast area of moorland at the head of the River Ribble with the famous peaks of Ingleborough and Whernside in view.  In winter the snow can sweep in rapidly and conditions for travelling deteriorate quickly.

Another weather station sited in Craven is on the A6068 at Cowling Moss, a route which climbs and twists between Crosshills and Colne across Pennine hills.

There is also a station on the C20 at Blakey Ridge which runs up towards Teesside across the windswept heath of the North York Moors and is regularly snowed over in winter with the council’s farmer contractors having to dig motorists out of sudden snowdrifts. Another station is at the Hole of Horcum on the A169, which winds across moorland between Pickering and Whitby.

The weather stations form yet another tool in the county council’s armoury to battle against the harsh wintry conditions that affect the county’s vast uplands.  North Yorkshire spends between £6m and £10m each year on winter gritting, depending on the severity of the weather with a fleet of 80 gritters to serve its 5,800 miles of road, along with over 100 farmer contractors.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said: “This is a great step forward. This state-of-the-art equipment allows us to have invaluable, up-to-the-minute information about the state of our roads across some of our highest roads.  

“North Yorkshire has some of the most challenging and remote routes in England in the winter as many of our roads pass over the high ground of the Yorkshire Dales as well as the North Yorks Moors and this can make travelling treacherous at times.  Our winter gritting fleet works highly effectively throughout the winter, but despite our best efforts the weather can change dramatically for the worst in these remote routes and so accurate information about road conditions is essential to inform and keep the travelling public as safe as possible.”

“With the data and images provided by these weather stations we hope the public will be able to make more informed, safer, journey choices during the winter period.”

“North Yorkshire County Council has been a highly valued Vaisala customer and partner for over 30 years. Our collaboration includes thermal mapping, weather station supply, data management and maintenance services”, says Erik Sucksdorff, Sales Director, UK & Ireland and West Europe Ground Transportation at Vaisala.

“The council has recently undertaken a large program of weather station upgrades and renewals across the county and now has the widest network of RWS200 weather stations among all local authorities in the UK.”

“Vaisala RWS200 road weather stations used in North Yorkshire are trusted by road authorities globally to ensure road safety, optimise winter maintenance and enable smooth traffic in all weather conditions. The RWS200 network provides the best weather data in one integrated system, utilizing trusted and future-proof technologies.”

The ten weather stations are as follows:

  • B1257 Clay Bank
  • B6267 Low Burton
  • C20 Blakey Ridge
  • A169 Hole of Horcum
  • B1248 Wharram Le Street
  • B6255 Ribblehead
  • A6068 Cowling Moss
  • B6265 Greenhow
  • A63 Selby Bypass
  • A167 Carlingholme Hill