Sadiq Khan activates emergency severe weather protocol for capital over plunging temperatures

7 February 2023, 01:07 | Updated: 7 February 2023, 05:14

Emergency cold measures have been activated by mayor of London Sadiq Khan, with temperatures set to plummet to as low as -6C in the south and east of England.
Emergency cold measures have been activated by mayor of London Sadiq Khan, with temperatures set to plummet to as low as -6C in the south and east of England. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Emergency cold measures have been activated by mayor of London Sadiq Khan, with temperatures set to plummet to as low as -6C in the south and east of England.

The alert comes after an extension of the current level-two cold weather alert put out by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which is responsible for England-wide public health protection, until midday on Wednesday, February 8.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) ensures that councils and charities across the capital open emergency accommodation for homeless people when temperatures fall below freezing.

Brits are being warned to expect frost, fog and freezing fog on Tuesday morning, with areas such as Santon Downham in Suffolk and Benson in Oxfordshire and expected to see temperatures of -6C overnight.

The weather could even seen flights being delayed due to freezing fog, with planes needing to be de-iced prior to taking off.

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The Met Office said it is considering putting out a weather warning overnight because of conditions on the way.

A spokesperson for the weather service said: "For rush hour tomorrow morning, they could make for some difficult driving conditions in central and southern areas."

A view of an obsured City of London skyline, Blackfriars Bridge and River Thames as freezing fog covers the capital, January 25, 2023.
A view of an obsured City of London skyline, Blackfriars Bridge and River Thames as freezing fog covers the capital, January 25, 2023. Picture: Alamy

RAC and National Highways have cautioned motorists not to use full beam headlights because of fog and to remember to keep four seconds away from vehicles in front.

In Scotland, a weather warning is in place for Wednesday as strong southwesterly winds are set to bring travel disruption and danger on coastlines.

This protocol is the third one that's been been activated in London this winter, which has taken 1,200 at-risk people off the streets.

A chef walks along Eton High Street, Windsor, on a chilly morning, January 25, 2023.
A chef walks along Eton High Street, Windsor, on a chilly morning, January 25, 2023. Picture: Alamy

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, encouraged people to check in on family, friends and vulnerable relatives as part of the UKHSA cold weather warning.

He said: "Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, with older people and those with heart or lung conditions particularly at risk.

Cold plants with ice and frost on a sunny winter day. Park with sunshine light, January 17, 2023.
Cold plants with ice and frost on a sunny winter day. Park with sunshine light, January 17, 2023. Picture: Alamy

"If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18°C if you can," he said.

People who can't afford to heat their whole home are advised to heat a bedroom just before going to sleep, as well as wear several layers and have plenty of hot food and drinks during the day.

It's expected the cold conditions will ease by Wednesday.

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