‘Risk to health’ warning as snow forecast and cold alert issued in UK
A number of cold weather alerts have been issued for England while the Met Office expects snow to hit parts of the North as well as Scotland in the coming days.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued amber cold-health alerts for the North East, North West and Humberside until Tuesday, December 5. A yellow alert is in force for the East and West Midlands.
The UKHSA says forecasters predict temperatures will average below 2C in the amber alert areas with wintry showers, icy conditions, and some snow. The Met Office has meanwhile issued a number of snow warnings for the north east and Scotland until Thursday, November 30.
Health chiefs are now urging people to check on vulnerable and elderly neighbours during the cold snap. Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “With a risk of widespread overnight frosts and some snow across the country this week, it’s important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.
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“Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly older people, and those with pre-existing health conditions, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat the rooms where you spend most of your time in, such as your living room or bedroom.”
There are two yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office for snow and ice. One covering northern and eastern Scotland and parts of England with the second reaching down to Yorkshire until 11am on Thursday.
People living in those areas are advised to expect showers throughout Wednesday morning that will likely see ice form on untreated surfaces, which may make some roads and pathways hazardous and slippery. Snow is also expected, especially for people in places away from windward coasts, with the Met Office predicting up to three centimetres of snow will fall.
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Parts of Scotland can expect up to 5cm of snowfall. Some roads and rail services are likely to be impacted, with Britons warned to prepare for longer or delayed journey times on roadways, railways, and public transport.
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist David Oliver warned of an uncertain weather period on Thursday and Friday for the southern half of England and Wales. He said: “The weather models are highlighting several possible solutions from very wet to mainly dry, with a mainly dry picture the most probable outcome at present.
“However, some models include the prospect of an area of low pressure developing and moving in from the south or south-west. If this solution proves to be correct, we could see an area of warmer and moisture-laden air ‘bumping’ into the cold air further north. Along the boundary of the two air masses lies a zone across southern and central Britain where snowfall could develop fairly widely.”
He added: “Snow in any affected area is unlikely to be anything more than transient and short-lived, but it could lead to small totals and some disruption over a few hours before melting.”
Snow is not expected to linger as ground temperatures usually remain relatively high at this time of year compared to late winter after the ground loses more of its warmth.
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