Warnings have been issued across large parts of England after the Met Office forecast a spell of colder weather for the next few days.
Earlier this week the Met Office warned that cold weather was on its way to northern England and declared a Level 2 cold weather alert. Today the forecaster issued a Level 3 alert for Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and the North West – meaning the severe weather is now occurring. A Level 3 is declared when average temperatures have fallen (or are about to fall) to 2C and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is present. The Met Office has also issued a Level 2 alert for the West Midlands, the East Midlands and the East of England, meaning colder weather could be on the way.
Frank Saunders, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “After less cold conditions overnight Wednesday and for a time on Thursday, increasingly cold air will spread from the northwest across England on Thursday night and during Friday, with showers turning more wintry from the north.
“Average temperatures are expected to continue falling through the weekend, with a northerly airstream likely to be established by Sunday. Frost and ice are expected to become increasingly widespread through the period, with some severe overnight frosts likely in the north over any snow cover by Monday.”
Because of the warnings Public Health England is reminding people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when walking on icy or wet surfaces when out and about.
Dr Stephen Morton, Director of the Public Health England Centre in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but it’s important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.
“Our advice is that when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over. If you are able to move around, keep active as best you can. If you need to go out wear lots of thin layers and wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.
“This is also a good 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 so think now what you could do to help.”
The Cold Weather Plan for England Cold weather plan for England sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary and community groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.