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UKHSA issues cold weather alert for central and southern England starting at 6pm on Wednesday, January 19


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Widespread frosts and freezing conditions are set to sweep into Kent tonight and may last until the weekend.

A cold weather alert has been triggered for central and southern England by the UK Health Security Agency after warnings from the Met Office that an icy blast is on the way.

Widespread frosts are forecast from tonight
Widespread frosts are forecast from tonight

Temperatures are expected to drop and conditions will change this evening - with the weather warning currently remaining in place until 9am Sunday morning.

Steve Ramsdale, Met Office Chief Meteorologist, said: "A change in conditions brings cold air to the UK, spreading from the north later on Wednesday then lingering over England and Wales for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

"With easing winds and good clear spells, a widespread frost is likely on Thursday and Friday morning with temperatures recovering somewhat by day."

A cold weather alert is in place until Sunday morning for central and southern England
A cold weather alert is in place until Sunday morning for central and southern England

Elderly and frail people and those with an underlying health problem are among those most at risk when temperatures drop close to or below freezing for a number of days. Health officials are encouraging people to continue looking out for family and neighbours as we go through January.

Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, explained: "Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

"Remind vulnerable relatives and neighbours to heat their home to at least 18°C, particularly if they have reduced mobility, are 65 or older, or have a health condition.

"Should they need to go outside, it’s important for them to wear shoes with a good grip."

Heating one room at a time will help keep costs down if people are struggling
Heating one room at a time will help keep costs down if people are struggling

People struggling to heat their home this winter are advised to keep the living room warm during the day and then heat the bedroom just before going to sleep with a number of thin layers better at trapping heat than one thick layer. Hot food and warm drinks can also be effective when trying to keep warm.

Further help and advice is available in England's Cold Weather Plan and its Keep Warm Keep Well guidance here.

For people struggling to afford heating bills, Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and information on national grants that are available to help keep warm this winter.

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