Cold Weather Alert as Arctic blast sweeps in
The Met Office has issued the alert, warning of severe cold weather with icy conditions, wintry showers and snow.
It also said the weather could "increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services", adding: "Arctic air is forecast to spread to northern areas at first, and across the whole of England later.
"Coldest temperatures will be in the north where there is a high risk of snow showers, especially over hills, and overnight frosts.
"Cold weather will extend to the south east later in the period, but coastal and many southwestern parts will escape the coldest of the temperatures."
Cold Weather Alerts are issued when there is more than a 60 per cent chance average temperatures will be 2C or below for at least two days.
Dr Angie Bone, of Public Health England, reminded people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when out and about.
She said: "Over the past few weeks we’ve had some very disruptive weather, but temperatures have been quite mild – now the weather looks like it will turn cold in much of the country which will be a significant change for many of us.
"That’s why it’s so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.
"Our advice is that when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you have to sit still for long periods, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
"Before bad weather arrives is a good 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 so think now what you could do to help - if you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can."