Belfast Telegraph

Met Office issues weather warning as temperatures set to drop

People have been warned to prepare for cold weather as ice and snow is set to hit the country.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for ice in parts of the UK over Friday night and Public Health England has told people to take precautions as temperatures look set to drop.

Snow is predicted to fall overnight, mainly on higher ground, with up to 5cm of snow possible in some areas over 300m.

The weather warning, which is in place from 5pm on Friday to 10am on Saturday, has been issued for Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland and Wales as well as the north of England, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

The forecaster said: "A band of rain, sleet and snow showers will move from the North West to South East across the yellow area through Friday, clearing during the early hours of Saturday, followed by further wintry showers.

"Icy patches are likely to form on untreated surfaces as temperatures fall."

Public Health England reminded people to be prepared ahead of the cold weather, with temperatures expected to fall below 2C in some areas before Saturday.

Dr Thomas Waite, of their Extreme Events team, said: "We're well used to winter in this country so most people know what to do to protect their health before and during cold spells.

"But there are people who may not take precautions and who are at a very real risk.

"We know that every winter thousands of people fall ill and many die because of exposure to cold both in the home and while outdoors.

"Those most at risk include older people, very young children and those with conditions like heart and lung disease.

"That's why every cold season we urge people to look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be at risk.

"Ask yourself if you could check on a neighbour to see if there's anything they need?"

Paul Gundersen, chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "Colder air has now reached most parts of England, with temperatures expected to fall further by Saturday, when the cold will be accentuated by strengthening winds."

Figures earlier this week showed there were more than 34,000 "excess deaths" across England and Wales over the last winter period, the second highest level in eight years.

The Office for National Statistics said the rise was likely to be due to a "predominant strain of flu prevalent during the 2016 to 2017 winter".

Dr Waite said: "We know that more deaths occur every winter in the UK than in the summer due to a wide range of causes including cold weather, influenza and other respiratory infections.

"The flu vaccination is the best protection we have against flu and it's really important to have it if you are eligible."

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