Cold weather alert for Observer area

THE Met Office and Department of Health have today (Wednesday, February 20) issued a cold weather alert.

The alert is due to remain in place until 7am on Sunday (February 24).

It is a level-three ‘cold weather action’ alert – the only higher alert is ‘emergency’.

Looking at weather in the South East for the next few days, the Met Office said: “Turning colder over the next couple of days with a high likelihood that the temperature threshold will be reached by the end of the week. No major disruption from snow is expected.”

It added: “This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

“Please refer to the national Cold Weather Plan and your trust’s emergency plan for appropriate preventive action.”

The Met office’s forecast is as follows: “Turning colder across all areas through the remainder of the week. Rather cloudy conditions are expected too with the best of any bright or clear spells across western parts.

“It will remain dry and settled for most through this period although there will be a few snow flurries at time, particularly for eastern areas.

“Brisk easterly winds will also exacerbate the cold feel, especially in southern areas where penetrating overnight frosts are likely.

“Untreated roads and pavements are likely to be icy over the next five days.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Health risks to those such as older people, the very young and people with pre-existing medical conditions may be increased.

“Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, influenza and other diseases.

“If you know or look after someone who may be particularly susceptible to the effects of very cold weather, please help make sure they stay warm and well.”

The county council also issued the following advice:

Stay tuned to the weather forecast

Check and maintain daytime room temperature at 21°C

Check bedroom night-time temperature and maintain it at 18°C or warmer

If you have to go out, make sure you dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Also tell someone where you are going and let them know when you get back. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and on you at all times

Keep active

Dress warmly, eat warm food and take warm drinks regularly

Check on those you know are at risk

If you are concerned about your own health or welfare or that of others, alert the emergency services

Please see the NHS Keep Warm Keep Well booklet for more advice.