PEOPLE are being advised to travel only if absolutely necessary as gale force winds are forecast for parts of North Yorkshire later today (November 26) and into tomorrow due to Storm Arwen.

The storm is forecast to bring winds of up to 55mph to the county from around 3pm today and through the night into Saturday morning. There is also a possibility of sleet turning to snow on higher ground, with drifting possible, particularly over the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales. Frost and ice is also forecast.

The Met Office has issued a red warning, the highest level, which is issued very rarely, meaning there is potentially a risk to life.

But, North Yorkshire County Council’s highways teams said they are well prepared.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “All our highways teams are in place and will be able to respond to any conditions that arise over the weekend. In addition, the 100 farming contractors that support our winter highways operation are primed to help if required, particularly if the strong winds exacerbate any impact of snow through drifting.

“We would ask anyone planning to travel to consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary. If they do need to travel, they should be alert to the conditions, drive accordingly and leave extra time for their journey.

“High winds can affect vehicle handling, so drivers need to adjust their driving by slowing down and being careful when passing high-sided vehicles on exposed roads. They should also give extra space to cyclists and motorcyclists when overtaking. Drivers should make sure their vehicles are prepared for winter.”

Meanwhile, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is advising customers to defer travel due to the anticipated extreme weather conditions as a result of the storm.

The train firm is encouraging any customers booked to travel from today until the end of service on Sunday to defer their travel if possible. Tickets will be valid on LNER services on the following dates: November 29 and 30 and December 1.

Network Rail has imposed emergency speed restrictions as the extreme weather conditions begin to impact the East Coast route.

Warrick Dent, LNER safety and operations director, said: “We expect services to be extremely busy throughout the weekend and advise customers to check our website and social channels for the latest information.”

LNER has apologised to customers for disruption impacting customer journeys today and across the weekend. Anyone who decides against making a journey can claim a refund from the original point of purchase.