Winter weather

You can protect yourself, your car and your household from the many hazards of winter weather, by thinking and planning ahead.

Weather forecast

Check the Met Office website for the latest weather forecast.

Weather warnings

MET Office - Weather warnings

School closures

Find out if a school is closed

Heatwave

Extreme heat can do you harm.  Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat, or has over-exercised for their age and physical condition.  The elderly, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to be affected by extreme heat.

Here are some things you can do to counter the effects:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor away from the sunshine.  Remember that electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
  • Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless advised to do so by your doctor.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty.  If you have epilepsy, or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on a fluid-restrictive diet or have a problem with fluid retention, you should speak to your doctor before increasing your liquid intake.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink, as alcohol causes dehydration.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day.  Try not to work alone when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Regularly check on family and friends who are vulnerable, such as the elderly.

You can get more advice on how to stay cool in this leaflet.

Advice on how to stay safe during the winter

Click on the headings below for advice on how to stay safe during the winter.

Driving safely in winter
Gritting the roads
We spread salt on roads to prevent ice forming on every night when icy or frosty conditions are forecast.

Find out which roads we grit. 

Driving in wintry conditions
You should always drive safely for the weather conditions, regardless of whether the road has been gritted or not.  

Get advice on how to drive safely in wintry conditions. 

Emergency supply kit for your car
You should have an emergency supply kit in your car, in case you break down or get stuck. This should contain:
  • A warm coat, extra hat and mittens or gloves
  • Suitable winter footwear
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Torch and extra batteries, or wind up torch
  • Shovel, Tow chain or rope
  • Windscreen scraper, Jump leads, Mobile phone and batteries
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries, or wind-up radio            
Floods
Make your home safe for winter
Prepare to survive in your home on your own, without outside help, for at least three days. Assemble a disaster supply kit and be sure to include winter specific items such as rock salt to melt ice and sand to improve traction, snow shovels or other snow removal equipment. Keep a stock of food and extra drinking water.

If your house could be isolated, here is some useful advice:
  • Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular fuel sources may be cut off, as well as emergency heating equipment plus sufficient fuel for it in case electricity is cut off, such as a portable gas fire, a wood burning stove, a fireplace or a kerosene heater.
  • Keep all heaters at least three feet from flammable objects. Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes and always refuel outside.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. Never burn charcoal indoors.
  • Make sure that your walls and attics are well insulated before winter.
  • During a storm, listen to the local radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Dress for the season with several layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer layer should be water repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Always wear a hat, most body heat is lost through the top of your head.
  • Don’t over-exert yourself when shoveling snow, as it can bring on a heart attack.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get the person to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the centre of the body first, and give warm non-alcoholic beverage if victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible. 
Clearing ice and snow
Anyone can clear ice and snow from the pavement outside their home or public spaces to prevent trips and falls.

Don't be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries if you have cleared the path carefully.

Tips and advice on clearing ice and snow.