Watching the weather

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Snow at St Mary's church

Cold weather is heading for our region over the next few days, with yellow warnings out for frost, ice and snow. This very cold weather will affect us all so be prepared.

A trawl of some of the health and social care websites seemed to be in order to see what they highlighted. Some of the advice on them is obvious, such as wearing very warm clothes and taking care when walking or driving in the icy conditions, but equally they all highlight the importance of keeping frail neighbours in mind and reminding us that it isn’t only the elderly who may be at risk, but anyone who can’t afford to heat their home, is disabled so that moving about to keep warm is more difficult, and people with a heart or respiratory problem.

Reminding us all to eat at least one hot meal a day and drink hot liquids could be a useful tip for some and the importance of keeping at least one room really warm (at least 18C). The winter fuel payment and cold weather payment will also help with costs and the Energy Saving Trust has advice on reducing bills and will give advice on grants and schemes available across the UK.

When the temperature gets below 8C, some people are more at risk of health problems, including heart attack and stroke, hypothermia and falls. Anyone who is eligible is encouraged to have the flu jab, and don’t forget cold weather can also affect people with mental health conditions such as depression and dementia. Dark skies, short daylight hours and being trapped in one environment when the snow falls can be very debilitating.

Whilst roads that take 80% of traffic with more than 1,500 vehicles a day will be salted, there is no guarantee that they will be completely free of ice. In difficult circumstances, busy roads with more than 1,000 vehicles a day and the shortest links to small settlements (100 dwellings or more) will also be treated. But it takes three and a half hours to salt a route (no mention of what length) but the point is taken, and rain will wash away the salt and lead to re-icing. Bear in mind weather forecasts are not always accurate, a point of which we are probably all aware.

So, Age Concern suggests we beat the bad weather by keeping an eye on the forecasts, (accurate or not), making sure we have everything we need, taking care on slippery ground and planning ahead when driving and (a good tip) have a torch – and spare batteries – at hand in case of a power cut.

Stay well, take care, keep warm and remember our most vulnerable neighbours. It won’t last long but Great Britain doesn’t ‘do’ snow and cold very well so be prepared for disruption.

Image Credits: Rye News library.

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