Snow and ice arrive

Published on: Thursday, 29-January-2015

Snow and cold winds have arrived in northern England, prompting Public Health England to urge people to take extra care.

The Met Office has today issued a Level 3 cold weather alert across Yorkshire and Humber, North East and North West England. Everywhere else is now on a Level 2 alert, with London remaining on Level 1.

Steve Willington, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “The weather is turning colder across many parts of England for the next few days so it's important people stay up to date with the forecasts at www.metoffice.gov.uk for information about the weather and what may happen in their area."

The Level 3 alerts are issued when severe weather is occurring. This is when average temperatures have dropped to 2C or below and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is present. Level 2 alerts are issued when there is a greater than 60% chance that we will see this weather within 48 hours.

Dr Angie Bone, head of Extreme Events at Public Health England, said: “Parts of England are really going to feel cold for the next few days so it’s really important people take extra care when out and about.

“It’s worth remembering that most outdoor slips, trips and falls in weather like this are of those who are of working age, accidents can happen to anyone. So if you’re heading out wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip.

“If you’re staying indoors have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are over 65 and check weather forecasts and plan your day around them.

“Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold and it’s important we all do what we can to protect those around us.
“Although most of our advice on keeping warm and well in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important to remember that cold kills, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest.”

The Cold Weather Plan for England sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.

Top tips to prepare for colder weather:

  • Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and managing to heat their homes adequately.
  • Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C (particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over).
  • Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help).
  • Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, and when you need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles.
  • Take weather into account when planning your activities over the following days.
  • Claim entitlements and benefits vulnerable people can apply for if struggling to keep their houses warm, such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments which are available.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls.
  • Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do yourself (link to Met Office for tips)
  • Visit the Met Office’s Get Ready For Winter webpages for lots more useful advice

Follow #winterready (for message alert levels 0 and 1) and #weatheraware (alert levels 2 to 4) on Twitter for winter health advice.