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Cold Weather Alerts

Cold weather alerts are issued by the Met Office when the winter weather is most likely to significantly impact people's health.

What is a cold weather alert?

The Met Office's cold weather alerts are a way of warning about cold weather conditions in advance - so you can take extra precautions to keep safe and well. They operate from November 1 to March 31 every year, in association with Public Health England.

They are issued by the Met Office when the winter weather is most likely to significantly impact people’s health, i.e.

  • when the mean temperature falls below 2°C for 48 hours or longer
  • during heavy snow and/or during widespread ice.

Only one of these thresholds needs to be met or exceeded for an alert to be triggered.

Where can I find cold weather alerts?

The alerts themselves can be found on the Met Office website, their Twitter feed and on TV and radio. You can find out more about the Met Office’s Get Ready for Winter campaign. The alerts will also be shown on this page.

New figures show that there were 31,800 excess winter deaths last winter among people over 65 from cold-related illness such as heart attacks and strokes. It is vital that we increase the awareness of the effects of cold weather on health.

What should I do?

It's important to keep warm and well in winter.

As we get older, it takes longer for us to warm up which can be bad for our health. The cold thickens our blood and increases blood pressure, and breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.

The ideal temperature is 64°F (18°C) for your bedroom and 70°F (21°C) for your living room. Check your thermostat or use a room thermometer to monitor temperature, and keep your bedroom window shut on a winter’s night.

If there is anyone you know who might be at risk, make sure they know what to do.

Preparing for winter

We explain what you can do to get yourself and your home ready for winter, as well as where to go for more information and support.

National weather forecast

Watch the latest weather forecast for the UK, provided by the Met Office.

For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 055 6112.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.


Last updated: Nov 15 2018

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