HAMPSHIRE councils say they are well prepared as the county braces itself for snow this weekend.

Civic chiefs, universities and airports are all confident that they are ready for the winter blast set to hit over the next 48 hours.

As reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo, Hampshire has been placed on weather alert, with a bitterly cold snap set to move in from Russia today, causing temperatures to plummet to around -5C.

The Siberian blast will leave a trail of freezing fog, ice and snow before Monday, with the bone-chilling conditions set to last up to three weeks.

The bleak outlook prompted the Daily Echo to launch its Stay Warm campaign, urging people across the county to come together to look out for our elderly friends, family and neighbours, as the mercury dips below zero.

Council bosses last night heaped praise on the campaign and say they have taken steps of their own to combat the big freeze.

Southampton’s environment and transport boss, Cllr Asa Thorpe, said: “I commend the Echo for its Stay Warm campaign and fully support this useful initiative.

“We are being warned that freezing weather may be on the way. Our city is in a good position to keep the roads moving if the bad weather hits.

“The council has worked hard with Balfour Beatty, our partners, to ensure that we have the necessary resources in place to tackle the worst conditions if they do visit Southampton.”

Southampton City Council chiefs added that they had 800 tonnes of salt in stock at its city depot, with access to 3000 tonnes more should it be needed.

A four-man crew and a supervisor will be on call 24 hours a day during the cold snap, with access to five gritting vehicles in extreme conditions.

Similar measures have been taken by Hampshire County Council.

Council leader Ken Thornber said: “Our salt barns are well stocked with enough salt for 15 days continuous round-the-clock salting, 3,000 community salt bins have salt in them for people to deposit salt on public roads and pavements.

“Additionally around 100 farmers are ready to assist with clearing the roads of snow using snow ploughs if needed.

Southampton Airport chiefs have put together an updated airport snow plan, which took five months to complete, to help tackle the Siberian blast.

Dave Lees, managing director at the airport, said: “Southampton Airport started its snow planning in the summer and we have invested significantly in snow clearing equipment over the last two years, including the purchase of new snowploughs.

“Our plan incorporates all airport teams, so that should the bad weather hit we are able to respond quickly and keep passengers well informed throughout.”

The University of Southampton was forced to cancel lectures after heavy snowfall swept Hampshire in 2010.

But a spokesman for the university said they had “robust procedures” in place and would be doing “everything we can to stay open”.