Severe weather advice

Severe weather warnings

The Meteorological Office provides local authorities with a Severe Weather Warning Service. It is designed to advise on the probable locations and duration of severe weather. These warnings are issued to help the public make informed decisions that protect their life, welfare and property in the event of severe weather in the following few hours.

They are issued when fixed weather thresholds are met. For further information visit the website of the Meteorological Office. You may want to look our page on Winter weather advice.

The Meteorological Office website helps you make sure you know what to do when severe weather is forecast.

General precautions to cope with severe weather

A few handy hints for travelling in extreme weather and making your home safe are suggested below:

Be prepared:

  • A supply of torches and/or camping lanterns for emergency lighting.
  • A camping gas cooker or other means of cooking if you rely entirely on electricity.
  • A battery-powered radio (make sure you have replacement batteries) in order to receive regular local radio information bulletins.
  • Have adequate insurance to cover your property. For further advice visit the website of the Association of British Insurers or contact them on 020 7600 3333.
  • Have emergency provisions ready.
  • Secure outdoor items and bring as much as possible indoors, including pets.
  • Close windows, clear window sills and pull curtains to protect against flying glass in stormy weather.

When severe weather is forecast:

  • Do not travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Allow extra time for your journey and ensure your vehicle is in good working order.
  • Stow away garden furniture and remove loose articles from outside the house; these might cause damage if blown around.
  • Store a few filled containers with fresh water for drinking purposes, especially for young children and for infant feeds in case water supplies fail.
  • Check your neighbours to see if they need help.
  • Have items such as rock salt to melt ice and sand to improve traction or other snow removal equipment.

When severe weather strikes:

  • Remain indoors, close windows and curtains to protect against breaking glass.
  • Have your "Emergency Pack" ready.
  • Listen to the Local Radio for help and advice. Never open deep freezers until electricity is fully restored, cover with newspaper and blankets for extra insulation.
  • If food thaws out do not refreeze, use it straight away or consult Environmental Health Services for general advice.
  • Listen to advice given and do not travel. Keep warm and eat regularly, even cold food will give you energy.
  • If your electricity supply fails turn off all major appliances, particularly electric fires and cookers, until power is restored

Updated: 17 September 2010