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Jan 30th  2019

US to shiver in 'once-in-a-generation' polar vortex

The US will shiver this week in a once-in-a-generation deep freeze, forecasters warn.

The most extreme arctic blasts, caused by a spinning pool of cold air known as the polar vortex, could bring temperatures as low as -53C (-64F).

Weather officials in the state of Iowa have warned people to "avoid taking deep breaths, and to minimise talking" if they go outside.

At least 55 million people are forecast to experience sub-zero temperatures.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois as well as in the normally more clement southern states of Alabama and Mississippi.

John Gagan, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist, said: "The intensity of this cold air, I would say, is once in a generation."

The NWS is warning that frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures.

§  How to survive extreme cold

§  What is a polar vortex?

The coldest temperatures are expected to hit from Tuesday to Thursday, with forecasters predicting that Chicago will be colder than Antarctica.

The Illinois city could experience a low of -27F, with freezing winds making that feel closer to -50F, officials say.

As much as 2ft (60cm) of snow is forecast in Wisconsin, and 6in is expected in Illinois.

Alabama and another southern state, Georgia, are expecting snow, too.

How did President Trump inject controversy?

President Donald Trump, who has questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change, tweeted about the conditions.

"What the hell is going on with Global Warming?" he said. "Please come back fast, we need you!"

But one of the US government's own meteorological agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, posted what was widely interpreted as a rebuttal to the president.

Feb 28th 2018

Baby its cold outside, remember that song?

Six things you shouldn't do as temperatures across the UK plummet

Temperatures across the UK have plummeted to seriously sub zero with heavy snow and extreme cold causing misery.

The coldest place in the UK was Farnborough where the Met Office recorded temperatures of -8.9C overnight.

But the forecasters have warned that it could plummet as low as -12C over the next 24 hours.

But as the country shudders to a halt there are several things that you need to avoid doing if you want to minimise the impact of this week's snowy spell.

So we all know we should be avoiding all unnecessary travel during snow fall and taking extra care while out and about.

But here some tips you might not know according to the Liverpool Echo. 

DO NOT pour boiling water on your car windscreen

Pouring hot water on your windscreen may seem like the quickest way to defrost it, especially in that early morning rush.

But the rapid expansion and contraction of the ice as a result of the hot water could cause the screen to crack.

Instead, turn on the engine and allow the air-conditioning to circulate around the car.

DO NOT leave your car unattended

Owners who leave their engines running while they run inside to grab something they’ve forgotten are a car thief’s dream - and also breaking the law.

Drivers have to be ‘in control’ of their vehicle at all times. If you need to go back into the house you should turn off the engine, lock the car and head in. Car insurers rarely pay out if the keys are left in the car.

DO NOT drive to normal road conditions

Driving in snow and ice should not be taken for granted, no matter how little your area might have received.

Black ice in particular has caused many accidents on roads where people thought they were clear to drive as normal.

Leave plenty of time for all journeys and take extra time to get from A to B.

Don’t forget to maintain safe stopping distances and use your fog lights accordingly.

DO NOT neglect your health during cold spells

The Met Office have provided a number of tips to keep people healthy while weather warnings for ice and snow are in place

1.     Keep your hands and face warm - if they get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at increased risk of a heart attack.

2. Remember that several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air.

3. Wear warm clothes in bed. When very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat - a lot of heat is lost through your head.

DO NOT go to A&E with treatable winter illnesses

If you are normally fit and well, many of the coughs, colds and minor illnesses that seem to strike us in winter can be safely managed by yourself.

The NHS has provided plenty of advice on their website on how to treat these common ailments and you can also talk to your local pharmacist.

Hospitals are often left in crisis due to overcrowding during winter months as people turn up at A&E with cold and flu like symptoms.

Nine ways to keep your house warm

This can cause longer waiting times for people with serious illnesses and injuries. If you have any concerns you can call the NHS helpline on 111 for advice on whether to attend A&E or your local walk-in centre.

DO NOT let the temperature drop in your home

Putting the heating on might sound obvious, but different bodies have different temperature needs depending on age and general wellbeing.

If you’re 65 and over, not very mobile or suffering from a health condition such as heart or lung disease, the NHS recommend heating your home to at least 18C.

If you’re healthy and active you can safely have your home cooler than this, but babies should sleep in rooms heated between 16C and 20C to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.


Nov 8th 2016

Sub-zero temperatures are expected to sweep across Britain this week after the first cold snap of the year, prompting warnings that vulnerable people should prepare for a freezing winter.

The chilly weather coincides with the launch of a major NHS campaign urging people with long-term health conditions and the over-65s to take action in an effort to reduce the 25,000 extra deaths that occur each winter.

Prof Keith Willett, medical director for acute care at NHS England, said: “It is vital that the most vulnerable people take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well. We have a high number of A&E attendances over this time that are due to issues that could have been avoided had people sought advice at the first sign of illness.”

The Stay Well This Winter campaign will use TV, radio and social media to encourage people to wrap up warm and consult a pharmacist as soon as they feel unwell rather than waiting. It also encourages people, particularly those with long-term illnesses or mobility problems, to heat their homes to at least 18C (65F) and to check on friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable.

Prof Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, said: “With winter on the way, now is a good time to make sure you, and those you know who may be particularly at risk from the cold, are as prepared as possible. If you qualify for the free flu jab, get it now.

“Also remember that eating a healthy, balanced diet and that staying physically active can keep you healthy.”

He added that assistance with heating costs is available to those who might need it. “There are a variety of ways you can apply for help to keep your house warm, such as winter fuel payments, warm home discounts and cold weather payments. If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers.

“Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C (65°F), particularly if you find it hard to get around, have a long-term illness or are 65 or over. You may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer,” he said.

Cold weather increases the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia, as well as making heart attacks and strokes more likely.

For each degree centigrade the temperature falls below five degrees, there is a 10% increase in the number of older people seeing their GP about breathing problems, a 0.8% increase in emergency hospital admissions, and a 3.4% increase in deaths, research shows.

The UK shivered through a chilly Bonfire night, as temperatures fell below freezing in places, snow fell on higher ground and biting winds made conditions feel colder. On Sunday night temperatures outside the south-east were expected to fall below zero across much of the country.

A little frost can turn a winter scene into a very pretty picture, but not for everybody, if you are a soft fruit grower the last thing you want to see if your fruit trees covered in a layer of frozen dew, and when a wet road freezes it can turn your journey to work into a nightmare skating rink, black ice on the walkways has been the cause of very many accidents.

The picture above shows a tree with a heavy layer of ice caused by a prolonged low temperature spell and its effect on the moisture in the air, and icicle falling from your gutter turns into a dangerous missile so don’t stand underneath admiring the beautiful show, stand well back where you are safe.

If it takes you five minutes to clear your vehicle windscreen and windows, and you’re only one of 10,000 others doing exactly the same job, that’s a lot of man hours just to get you mobile, apart from the visual aspects there is very little good to be said for this aspect of mother nature, on the other hand there are dozens of different reasons why we would be better off without it, it is a gardener curse and if you’re out and about and not well protected your extremities can suffer badly.

You need to be particularly aware of frostbite if you spend any length of time outside in the cold weather, and it’s not good to be dehydrated, under the influence of alcohol or homeless without adequate heating and shelter combined with probably not getting enough to eat, it used to be said of the mentally ill that they haven’t got enough sense to come in out of the cold.

You don’t have to spend a longtime subjected to cold conditions, as little time as 15 or 20 minutes is sufficient, for it to damage your extremities enough to necessitate medical treatment and in extreme cases this includes amputation, some workers who have of necessity to spend long periods working outside in the cold, but still need their fingers exposed to get the dexterity to carry out their tasks will suffer from skin damage and much discomfort.

Keep your eye on the local weather forecasts will tell you when it's likely to happen and protect your extremities whenever you go out

Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.

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