The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has extended its cold weather alert until Monday (January 23) amid more Status Yellow ice and snow warnings from the Met Office.

The UK’s national weather service has snow and ice weather warnings in place for north Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the east of England for today (Wednesday, January 18) and tomorrow (Thursday, January 19).

The southeast of England has a Status Yellow warning for ice for both days.

UKHSA originally issued a cold weather alert on Monday (January 16) that was set to expire on Friday (January 20).

Chief meterologist at the Met Office, Paul Gundersen, said that people should expect more weather warnings to be issued later in the week.

“Cold air is continuing to push across the UK from the north and many areas have seen some snow, wintry conditions, and overnight frosts,” he said.

“National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued across parts of western England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland with more warnings likely to be issued over the coming days.”  

The weather service has predicted the cold spell to come to an end later this week and through the weekend across western areas, where it will turn milder and windier with some rain at times.

However, the cold air is likely to hang on for longer across eastern and south-eastern parts of the UK with sharp overnight frosts, it said.

Road safety

Rural insurer NFU Mutual has issued safe driving advice after the freezing weather conditions of December 2022 resulted in its busiest day of the year for motor insurance claims.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) insurance branch said that with snow and ice warnings from the Met Office currently in place for parts of the UK, motorists need to be aware of safe driving advice to prevent another big spike in claims.

Head of motor claims at NFU Mutual, David Rossall, said the best way to avoid disruption and injury during weather spells like this is to make adjustments to how we drive.

“Driving in icy and snowy weather requires an entirely different set of skills that we rarely practice in the UK, so it’s vital that motorists pay extra attention to safe driving in the next few days,” he said.

“Compacted snow, black ice and low winter sun can all combine to create a perfect storm of low visibility and reduced control of the vehicle, which is where we see a lot of accidents.

“Our advice would be to avoid driving in severe weather if it is not absolutely necessary to do so, and if you do need to drive, leave extra time for your journey and plan your route to remain on main roads as much as possible.

“While driving, take into account the dangerous conditions and adjust accordingly, leaving more space than you usually would between fellow motorists or other road users and braking and accelerating as smoothly as you can.

“This will reduce wheel spin or drifting, keeping you, your passengers and fellow road users safe.”

National network manager at National Highways, Dale Hipkiss, echoed the advice of NFU Mutual, and said that freezing conditions bring hazards that people are not well aware off.

“It is therefore always important to plan ahead for your journey, listen to the weather forecasts, and if weather conditions become challenging, adjust your driving behaviour and take extra care,” he said.

“We have a section of our website dedicated to travelling during the autumn and winter period, as part of our guide to travelling in severe weather.

“It’s also a good idea for people to check their vehicles, such as tyres, coolant and oil levels, before heading out to reduce the risk of breakdowns.”