UK braces for ice cold snap with Arctic air blowing in on Wednesday

Many will struggle to keep warm during the cold snap, ITV News Correspondent Racheal Townsend reports

The UK is bracing itself for an ice cold snap, with temperatures predicted to sink as low as minus 10C (14F) overnight.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for parts of Wales, Northern Ireland, England’s east coast, northern Scotland and the Western Isles.

Forecasters say Arctic air will move in from Wednesday evening, with the UK Health and Security Agency issuing a cold weather alert recommending people warm their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).

Credit: ITV News

Locally some places could even dip to -15C over snow cover, and some spots will not get above zero during the day.

The Met Office said on Twitter: “If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig out the winter hats, gloves and scarves – as Wednesday is looking cold.”

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

Forecaster Oli Claydon said: “Day to day we are in cold conditions already with that north-easterly flow, but conditions are set to get colder through the week, with the worst showers across northern Scotland but also bringing much colder conditions across all the UK.

“Overnight lows of minus 10 to minus 11 (12.2F) in areas where we do get snow in those rural parts of Scotland, with temperatures down to minus six (21.2F) in rural England.

“Cold conditions to remain through the weekend. Signs of warmer weather moving in from the southwest from Tuesday next week.

“But the signs are that the cold weather will hold in the north of the UK, so there will be a split between north and south.”

People should expect snow showers and ice to cause travel disruption and a risk of slippery surfaces.

Warnings will remain in place until Thursday afternoon, but the cold weather will not begin to shift until early next week.

More warnings are likely as we move through the week and the confidence increases. You can keep up to date with these on the Met Office Weather warnings website and remember to check the forecast before you travel.

Not everyone will see the snow. Those through central areas and away from coasts are prone to seeing some brighter days but it will remain particularly cold.

It's worth noting we're not expecting widespread snowfall, just a few flurries the further south you are.

Age UK has advised maintaining a supply of food and medicine to reduce the number of outdoor trips and torches with spare batteries in case of a power cut.

Homeless people in London are to be sheltered after the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was activated for the first time this winter to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

Tips on staying warm inside during the cold snap

Public Health England have issued a Cold Health Alert from Wednesday (7 December) to Monday (12 December).

It advises people to check on vulnerable friends and family and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks, and heating.

It is recommended to maintain an indoor temperature of at least 18°C, especially for those who are not mobile, have a long-term illness, or are 65 and over. Those at higher risk of cold-related illness or falls should avoid exposure to cold outdoor conditions.

  • Layer up

An extra jumper, a pair of thick socks, a pair of long johns or a base layer beneath your clothes can help keep you warm during the colder days.

Wearing layers is often better than putting on one big thick item.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis has also championed the use of heated clothing items such as gilets and gloves. An electric gilet, basically a heated jacket, would cost £46 to buy and just 4p per week to run, while USB gloves would cost 4p per week to run and just £5 to buy.

  • Check out your windows and doors

Once you’ve burned that expensive gas to heat your home you want to make sure that heat stays in your home and does not leak outside where it does little good.

  • Keep moving

By keeping active you can burn more energy in your body, which creates heat and helps to keep you warm.

  • Heat the person, not the room

As long as you are warm it is less important that the air around you is warm. It will be a lot more effective to use hot water bottles and electric blankets to keep warm at night than heating your entire home at night.

  • Be smart with your central heating

Reducing the thermostat by a degree or two can save money and energy, but be careful not to let the home get too cold.

To make a condensing combi boiler more efficient, lower the flow temperature. This will reduce the amount of gas the boiler needs to burn. There are guides available online on how to do this.

  • Don’t heat empty spaces

There is no point spending money heating rooms that you rarely use.

So close doors around your home and turn down the radiators in the rooms where you spend less time.

Remember the five P's in cold weather

The 5 Ps you need to remember with cold weather Credit: Chris Page, ITV Weather
  • People - especially the elderly, if you can please check in on your neighbours and check if they are OK and need anything

  • Pets - in cold weather, animals that may usually be outside, it's worth considering bringing them inside or ensuring they have somewhere warm to shelter. And don't forget that salt spread on the roads can be irritating to your furry friends paws, remember to rinse them in warm water

  • Pavements - remember icy paths and pavements are likely so be careful of slips, trips and falls

  • Pipes - cover your pipes and protect your outside taps from freezing over to help prevent water leaks

  • Plants - cover and protect cold sensitive plants

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