By Connor Steel
LOCAL residents have been asked to protect themselves and others later this week as the Met Office issued a Level Three warning for extreme cold weather in conjunction with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA); an alert that covers Gosport and Fareham with overnight temperatures potentially dipping to -3 degrees Celsius.
Artic winds look set to sweep the county with heavy snow forecast to reach Northern Scotland over the next 72 hours alongside falling temperatures in every region. This could result in widespread overnight frosts and a risk of icy conditions on lower grounds, whilst public transport routes and deliveries may see major delays.
No snow is forecast in Gosport and Fareham with sunny skies forecast until December 11, although daylight temperatures look unlikely to rise past five degrees Celsius. It will feel even colder overnight with clear skies in the early hours potentially causing issues, particularly across Thursday and Friday morning (6am to 8am).
With temperatures plummeting and people being forced to rely on limited heating facilities given the ongoing cost of living crisis, concerns have been raised about the health impacts of this forecast weather on the most vulnerable in society. This covers disabled people, elderly adults and those with an underlining health issues.
The UKHSA officially issued their Level 3 alert on Monday and covers all regions across England, starting at 6pm on Wednesday (December 7) and running until 9am on Monday (December 12). It signals a huge 90% chance of severe cold weather and icy conditions; remaining just below their ‘National Emergency’ threshold.
But whilst officials aren’t advising people to remain indoors or avoid unnecessary travel, they have published advice to help ensure that everybody is safe during the cold weather; thus avoiding pressure for all hospitals and emergency services. This includes wearing suitable clothing and keeping a variety of essential products.
More importantly it asks that people remain vigilant for friends and family who are the most vulnerable in cold conditions; ensuring they have access to warm food and regular drinks when required. It is also advised that those with health conditions should maintain their indoor temperatures above 18 degrees wherever possible.
Those with mobility issues or at a higher risk of cold-related issues are further urged to reduce unnecessary exposure to cold and icy conditions under the alert; which also offers information on collecting medicines as well as reasonable adjustments that employers could make with staff members who have health conditions.
Further advice is available by reading the Cold Weather Plan for England, which remains unchanged for the winter from 2022-23. Readers can also find out more details on current schemes such as the Cold Weather Payment and the Fuel Winter Payment via the Government website, with both links updated early this week.
Information about how cold weather can affect people’s health can also be explored via www.nhs.uk, whilst advice can furthermore be seen on www.nhs.uk/winterhealth. In any emergency readers should call 999 for an ambulance or NHS 111 for advice; whilst all local surgeries and pharmacies will remain open as normal.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2AAJ8P8): Car windscreens will need defrosting across country as cold snap starts.