UK Health Security Agency issues weekend cold weather alert for the West Midlands as freezing temperatures will bring wind and wintry showers
Bitterly cold air from the Arctic will lead to freezing temperatures this weekend - prompting the UK Health Security Agency to extend its cold weather alert for some parts of England.
The West Midlands is among six regions being warned to prepare for a brutal cold snap expected to last until Monday.
The UKHSA is encouraging people to stay warm and look out for family, friends or neighbours most at risk from the cold weather.
Cold air being drawn quickly across the Atlantic from the Canadian Arctic is the reason behind the bitterly cold temperatures being forecast, says the Met Office, with strong winds and wintry showers also contributing to make it feel even colder in more exposed areas.
Today's cold weather alert is the second to be issued this week. The first, which affected the whole of England between Wednesday and Thursday, brought ice and severe frosts to a number of areas.
Persistent bitterly cold temperatures are a concern for those most at risk from the cold say health officials, such as the elderly or people with underlying health problems.
The UKHSA says it has supplemented its Cold Weather Plan for England with more information and advice, including in relation to the 'concurrent risks of cold weather and coronavirus', details of which can be found here.
Agostinho Sousa, a Consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, said: "It’s important to try to heat your home to at least 18C, 64.4F, particularly if you have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition.
"Please check on those who are more vulnerable to cold weather, such as elderly or frail friends and family, especially if they live alone or with a serious illness. This can make all the difference."
For people struggling to afford heating bills, Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants that are available to help while the advice for anyone struggling to keep their homes warm is to heat just the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep.
Wearing thin layers is also more successful at trapping heat than just one thick layer while hot food and drinks can also help maintain body temperatures.