The Met Office has issued a Level 2 cold weather alert across northern England today (19 November 2015). This means there is a forecast in which there is at least a 60% chance of severe weather, with average temperatures to drop to 2°C or below – the alert covers the period from Friday evening until Monday morning.
Because of that, Dr Angie Bone of Public Health England (PHE) is reminding people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when out and about.
Frank Saunders, Chief Operational Meteorologist said:
The weather will turn much colder from the north through Friday and for the weekend. Strong to gale force north to northwest winds are expected Friday night into Saturday with severe gales likely for a time near eastern coasts, giving a marked wind chill.
Overnight frosts are expected widely, with localised icy conditions possible where wintry showers occur. A band of showers moving south across eastern parts of England on Friday night will turn increasingly wintry with some snow, especially over hills and some slight accumulation is possible. Over the weekend a wintry mix of showers could affect all areas, but with accumulations mainly over hills. However, milder air is expected to spread in from the west during Monday.
Dr Angie Bone of the extreme events team at PHE 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, 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 18°C, particularly if you have to sit still for long periods, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
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 - if you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can.
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.
During colder weather you should:
- look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are 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
For lots more useful advice, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.
- For interviews contact the CRCE press office.
- The Cold Weather Plan for England is updated each year to provide health and social care services with emergency planning and preparedness guidance in the event of severe weather and periods of cold weather.
- For more information about the Cold-Weather Alert system, visit the Met Office website.
- Read more information on winter preparedness.
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 and Facebook.