Level 3 cold weather alert announced for the Midlands after weekend of floods
A Level 3 cold weather alert has been issued for the Midlands and the Met Office have alerted councils and emergency services in the region about the severe cold weather moving in.
The severe weather alert, which is expected to bring icy conditions, was announced this morning and will be in place until Friday 20 January.
The Met Office and councils are warning residents that there are increased health risks to vulnerable people and there is likely to be disruption to the delivery of services.
The advice is to look after elderly neighbours, those living alone, family and friends to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
Councils are also urging residents to report any rough sleepers they see.
A level 3 amber alert has been announced across England, which means for the next four days there will be severe weather action.
At this stage, social and healthcare services target specific actions towards high-risk groups.
What is the Met Office's advice during the weather alert?
Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold
Ensure friends and loved ones have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.
Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have a long-term illness or are 65 or over.
Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls
There are 4 levels on the alert scale, with level 4 being a national emergency.
Level 1 - Winter preparedness and action
Level 2 - Alert and readiness
Level 3 - Severe weather action
Level 4 - National Emergency
There are two different thresholds for the cold weather alert service. Only one of the thresholds needs to be breached for a warning to be issued.
The thresholds are:
Mean temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius for 48 hours or longer
Heavy snow and/or widespread ice
Met Office said: "There is a 90% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions between Monday 16 Jan and Friday 20 Jan in parts of England."
The Met Office is warning the Midlands that there will be widespread frost and daytime temperatures will struggle to get above freezing.
Brisk winds and spells of wintry showers are also expected, with potential icy conditions developing.
The Met Office is also warning that during cold winter spells, people with certain medical conditions and some older people can become more vulnerable.
Residents in the Midlands are being reminded to:
Heating your home to at least 18°C
Using electric blankets as instructed and never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
Have a spare supply of oil you are not on mains gas or electricity
Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains
Have plenty of food and drinks in - stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out