HEALTH chiefs have issued a rare warning ahead of the coldest night of winter so far.
Mercury will drop to around -5C in London in the early hours of Friday, as an outburst from the Arctic keeps the country in its grip.
Forecasters say it will be so cold that night frosts will last all day in some areas.
The UK Health and Safety Agency has now alerted people in central and southern England to beware of vulnerable neighbors during cold weather.
Agostinho Sousa, a public health medicine consultant for the organization, said the cold can have deadly consequences.
“Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, especially for the elderly and those with heart and lung problems, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and lung infections,” he said.
“Remind vulnerable family members and neighbors to heat their homes to at least 18°C, especially if they have limited mobility, are 65 or older, or have a medical condition.
“If they have to go out, it’s important that they wear shoes with good grip. »
Weather Bureau meteorologist Aidan McGivern said southerners are expected to shake through the week.
“Friday morning there will be widespread frost,” he said.
“It may be the coldest night of winter for some parts of the south of the country. »
However, the weather will be milder in the northwest, where the sky will be cloudier to limit frost.
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His colleague, Chief Meteorologist Steve Ramsdale, said: “A change in conditions is bringing cold air to the UK.
“It will spread out from the north later on Wednesday and then remain over England and Wales for the rest of the week and into the weekend.
“With decreasing winds and good clear passages, widespread frosts are likely Thursday and Friday morning with temperatures rising a bit during the day. »
And meteorologist Stephen Partridge urged Britons to bring out “the big coats” in frigid weather.
Temperatures will not exceed 5°C for the next two days, he warned.
Meanwhile, snow is expected to fall in London before the end of winter.
The rains are expected to reach the capital on February 9.
Before then, however, parts of Scotland and the North East will be hit on January 28.
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