Press release

Cold weather alerts issued

Warnings have been issued across large parts of England after the Met Office forecast a spell of colder weather.

Wintry scene with frost and ice

Warnings have been issued across large parts of England after the Met Office forecast a spell of colder weather.

Earlier this week the Met Office warned that cold weather was on its way to northern England and it declared a Level 2 cold weather alert. Yesterday (15 January 2015) the forecaster issued a Level 3 alert for Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and the North West, meaning the severe weather was occurring. Today (16 January) that Level 3 alert has been extended to the whole of the Midlands. The East of England, the South West and South East and London are now all on Level 2.

A Level 3 is declared when average temperatures have fallen, or are about to fall, to 2°C and if either widespread ice or heavy snow is present. Level 2 means severe weather may soon be on the way.

Eddy Carroll, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

England is likely to experience colder than average conditions over the next few days. Widespread overnight frosts are expected; in some areas these could be severe. Wintry showers are also expected for most areas and could lead to icy stretches in places and the chance of snow, especially in the north. Please stay in touch with the weather forecast for latest developments.

Dr Angie Bone of the Extreme Events team at Public Health England 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 mobility isn’t an issue 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 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.

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 18°C, 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.
  • take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
  • 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 so yourself

Notes to editors

  1. More information about the Cold-Weather Alert system from the Met Office.

  2. Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

  3. For more information or interviews call the PHE press office on 01235 825405 or 07795 452392.

Public Health England Press Office, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards

Chilton, OX11 0RQ

Published 15 January 2015
Last updated 16 January 2015 + show all updates
  1. Extension of Cold Weather Alert Level 3 to the Midlands.
  2. First published.