Health alert as freeze takes hold


Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The Met Office has issued a severe weather alert across large swathes of the country, prompting warnings of health risks to the young, old and ill.

Social and healthcare services had been put on high alert, the forecaster said, as the UK faces no let-up in the winter conditions which claimed one life and caused chaos on roads and rail yesterday.

Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and the North West are subject to a level three amber alert, the second highest, with average temperatures set to fall below 2C, while the West Midlands, the East Midlands and the east of England are on a yellow warning.

Public Health England (PHE) have urged people to help vulnerable family and friends to keep warm.

Dr Angie Bone of PHE’s extreme events team, 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.

“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 Met Office website said: ” There is a 90% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions until noon on Monday in parts of England. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

“I ncreasingly cold air will spread from the North West across England on Thursday night and during Friday, with showers turning more wintry from the north.

“Average temperatures are expected to continue falling through the weekend, with a northerly airstream likely to be established by Sunday.

“Frost and ice are expected to become increasingly widespread through the period, with some severe overnight frosts likely in the north over any snow cover by Monday.”

Persistent high winds in Dover mean sea conditions in the Channel are rough, with the Port of Dover warning passengers to expect delays.

The port said on Twitter: “Ferry crossings are subject to weather related delays. Freight demand continues to be high. Plz allow extra time for your journey.”

And P&O Ferries said: “Due to adverse weather some sailings are subject to delays of up to 90 minutes. Please check in normal time for your departure.”

Yesterday, one man was killed when a tree fell on his car in Co Antrim, while 5ft of snow in parts of Scotland left motorists stranded overnight on the A9 route to the Highlands.

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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