Government body issues weather advice for North East as icy winds and wintry showers arrive

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SNOW, sleet and heavy rain is being driven over the North East by strong winds as a cold weather front hits the UK.

Public Health England is urging people to take extra care after the Met Office issued a Level 3 cold weather alert for the North East.

Steve Willington, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “The weather is turning colder across many parts of England for the next few days, so it’s important people stay up to date with the forecasts.

“The Level 3 alerts are issued when severe weather is occurring. This is when average temperatures have dropped to 2°C or below, and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is present. Level 2 alerts are issued when there is a greater than 60 per cent chance that we will see this weather within 48 hours.”

Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at Public Health England, said: “Parts of England are really going to feel cold for the next few days so it’s really important people take extra care when out and about.

“It’s worth remembering that most outdoor slips, trips and falls in weather like this are of those who are of working age, accidents can happen to anyone. So if you’re heading out wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip.

“If you’re staying indoors have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are over 65, and check weather forecasts and plan your day around them.

“Also take some 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 and it’s important we all do what we can to protect those around us.

“Although most of our advice on keeping warm and well in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important to remember that cold kills, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest.”

Top tips to prepare for colder weather:

• Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and managing to heat their homes adequately.

• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.

• Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help).

• Take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days.

• Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls.

• Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself.