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What is a Level 3 cold weather alert?



A Level 3 cold weather alert has been issued for the whole of England after temperatures plummeted overnight and parts of the country were pummelled by snowy showers.

The snow caused travel chaos across the UK, with flights at some airports grounded or delayed, travel warnings on the roads and widespread problems on rail networks.

The Met Office also placed much of England under an Amber snow warning from 3pm on Thursday to midnight on Friday, anticipating up to 40cm of snow could fall in some areas.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said: “As of Wednesday 8 March, the level 3 cold weather alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has been extended until 9am on Monday 13 March.”



<img decoding="async" alt="Weather warnings for snow &amp; ice March 8-10 2023. (PA)" src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/FCdqBYaR3YDPWGSq2UHwqA--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MA--/https://s.yimg.com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2023-03/aadd23e0-bdd0-11ed-b5f7-ff542f991841" class="caas-img"/>

Weather warnings for snow & ice March 8-10 2023. (PA)


Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “During periods like this, it is important to check in on family, friends and relatives who may be more vulnerable to the cold weather, as it can have a serious impact on health.

“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.”

But what is a Level 3 cold weather alert?

Cold weather alerts are ranked from levels 1-4 depending on the severity of the weather and how long it is expected to last.

Level 1 (green) is “the minimum state of vigilance during the winter”, whereas the highest level 4 (red) is described as a “national emergency” that is “reached when a period of cold weather is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system”.

At Level 4, “the health effects may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups”, according to UKHSA.

The Level 3 warning that is currently in place across England, and is expected to remain in place until after the weekend, means there is a “mean temperature of 2 °C or less and/or widespread ice and heavy snow” and “alerts social and healthcare services to take specific actions to help protect high-risk groups”.

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<img decoding="async" alt="People walk under the snow along the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle, Berkshire, Wednesday March 8, 2023. Parts of the UK wake up to snow and a yellow weather warning. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)" src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/4MI9ssSmSDW6pbUSaxYvHg--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MA--/https://s.yimg.com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2023-03/0137cc20-bdce-11ed-a9f1-cc055f5e8605" class="caas-img"/>

People walk under the snow along the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle, Berkshire, Wednesday March 8, 2023. Parts of the UK wake up to snow and a yellow weather warning. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)


Alongside the warning is suggested action for people to take, advising them to “look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold, and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.”

Additionally, under a Level 3 warning, people should “try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have a long-term illness or are 65 or over.

Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls and stay up to date with the latest weather forecasts on the Met Office website”, the Met Office said.

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