The UK is set to face up to three weeks of cold weather with experts predicting that temperatures will drop to -12c and a possible large increase in deaths as a result.
It’s thought that this will be the coldest December since 2010 when we had a ‘Big Freeze’ across the country that saw snow and ice cause mayhem Britain’s transport networks.
Health bosses, concerned about the sudden drop in temperatures, have expressed their concern for the vulnerable over the period and are asking the public to keep an eye on those that it may affect.
If 2010 is anything to go by, we can expect heavy snow and ice which will completely cut off some roads with trains being cancelled and possibly plans being grounded as well.
The Weather Company and The Weather Outlook are both predicting -12 temperatures, even in the South of the country.
Dr Thomas Waite from Public Health England’s Extreme Events team has said “As the weather is going to get colder everywhere in the coming days, this is a really good time to check on those who may be at-risk.
“People with diseases such as heart and lung conditions, older people and young children can feel the ill-effects of cold weather more than the rest of us.
“To stay well this winter we all need to play a part. Is there someone you know who could be at risk when the weather gets cold? Could you help them out by fetching shopping or prescriptions?
“When the colder weather arrives there are several things we can do to keep well, wear several thin layers instead of fewer thicker ones, keep parts of the home you’re using heated to at least 18C and keep a careful eye on the weather forecasts.”
On average, the cold winter weather sees a death toll of 25,000 but with the UK set to be colder than St Petersburg in Russia, it’s feared that the toll may rise to 40,000.
It is feared colder-than-usual weather will kill close to 40,000 Brits this winter, after 34,000 excess winter deaths were recorded in the mild winter a year ago.
Luke Miall from the Met Office said: “Tuesday’s hill snow is most likely across the north, with Wednesday to Friday seeing showers increasingly focused across the East, and coldest on Thursday when snow is possible to low levels.
“Low-level snow is possible, mixed in with sleet, hail and rain, even down towards Essex. Coastal areas in the North and Wales also risk snow.
“The -6.3C coldest temperature of the season could be beaten on Wednesday and Thursday night, with the coldest temperatures from the South right up to the North, well inland.
“Less cold weather on Saturday is followed by cold, frosty weather in the East from Sunday, and then a cold northerly airstream may become established across all areas until a few days after December 11.
“Temperatures are set to be rather cold or cold everywhere, with showers wintry to low levels, especially in the East and North-East.
“From mid-December, there is an increasing chance of rainfall especially in some western areas, encouraging temperatures to recover closer to average.
“People need to be prepared for winter conditions and take heed of severe weather warnings, with ice warnings expected at short notice.”