A cold weather alert for the UK has been extended by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as residents brace for another deep freeze. The “level three” warning, which was first issued at the beginning of December last year and indicates “severe cold weather”, will run until 9am on Friday (January 27).
It comes after snow, sleet and rain battered Scotland, Wales, northern Ireland and much of northern England last week, sparking numerous weather warnings for snow and ice. Alex Deakin, meteorologist at the Met Office, warned of a “contrast” this week, with temperatures now taking a dip in the south instead.
He said: “Big contrast with the temperatures at the moment - it’s much milder across the north, compared to the south where it was a very cold start to Monday (January 23) and not much is changing, certainly for the next couple of days.”
He added that despite sunny spells in the south of the country, temperatures will only peak at 5°C or 6°C at best throughout the day on Monday, and clear skies will lead to “things turning frosty very quickly” into the evening. On Monday night, the Midlands, Wales and south west England will be the areas most affected, with temperatures plummeting as low as -3°C, before the frost returns “rapidly” on Tuesday evening (January 24).
The chilly front will continue into Wednesday, when a band of rain will make its way down the UK from the Arctic to “mix things up”, although most places will stay “largely dry”. Mr Deakin added: “It’s going to turn a little milder in the south over the next few days and a little cooler in the north, so we will start to lose that contrast.”
Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “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.
“During this period, it is important to check in on family, friends and relatives who may be more vulnerable to the cold weather. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18°C if you can.”
UK weather forecast, according to the Met Office
Monday, January 23
Frosty start across central and southern England, with freezing fog patches, persisting throughout in a few places, with sunny spells developing. The odd shower far southeast, whilst cloudier and milder across west and north with some drizzle in the west.
Tonight will be frosty with freezing fog reforming across central and southern England and east Wales. Cloudier far southeast, and also in northwestern areas with some light rain or drizzle.
Tuesday, January 24
It will be cloudy with occasional rain in the northwest. It will be bright and very mild in the northeast.
Fog patches will be slow to clear over central and southern areas, elsewhere it will be dry with some sunshine.
Outlook for Wednesday, January 25 to Friday, January 27
Fog patches will develop in the south early on Wednesday with rain moving south later, sunny spells following this. Most places dry Thursday and Friday with sunny spells, rain in the northwest later.