Level 3 cold weather alert issued for London
17 January 2023
The Met Office has issued a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert in London, in anticipation of severe cold weather and icy conditions.
There is a 90% probability of severe cold and icy conditions until 9am on Friday 20 January in parts of England, including in Richmond upon Thames. Very cold nights are expected, with potentially severe widespread frosts. Daytime temperatures expected to sit near to or just above freezing.
We have rounded up advice on ways to keep your home warm, efficient, and safe (and the support available to you to do so), and how best to look after yourself and others through the cold months.
The Met Office has produced a useful bank of information to help you get Weather Ready and stay warm and safe during extreme cold weather over the winter period.
To keep up to date with the latest forecasts, visit the Met Office's website.
Public Health advice
Ways to keep your home warm, efficient and safe:
- Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, and it is therefore important to try and heat the rooms you use to at least 18°C if you can, particularly if you have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease.
- Overnight, people who are 65 and over or who have pre-existing health conditions may find bedroom temperatures of at least 18°C are good for their health; this may be less important if you are a healthy adult under 65 and have appropriate clothing and bedding.
- If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep.
- Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated.
- If you have an electric blanket, use it as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.
- Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can kill.
- If you are not on mains gas or electricity, make sure you have a good supply of heating oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas or solid fuel so you do not run out in winter.
Cost of living support and Warm Spaces
If you're struggling to cope with the cost of energy to keep your home warm this winter, be assured that there is help and support available to you, including a number of Warm Spaces that are open to all residents across the borough.
View all available support, including available grants to help with heating costs and free local advice and support lines, on the Cost of Living Hub.
Those who use a prepayment meter to redeem their vouchers for the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
We work closely with Thinking Works to provide a winter warmth home service during the winter months for people aged over 65, people with a respiratory disease, people with a cardiovascular disease, people with any other long-term limiting illness, and families with young children on a low income.
South West London Energy Advice Partnership are available to offer detailed advice for those who are struggling with energy bills, are on benefits, have long term health conditions, are over 65, have children under five, speak English as a second language or are otherwise finding it hard to manage at the moment.
Looking after yourself
Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be bad for your health.
- Sitting or sleeping in a cold room is not good for you and increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and breathing problems. Keep your bedroom windows closed on a winter’s night; breathing cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
- Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter. Keep moving if you can, this will help keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour, get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day. Visit our Richmond Moves page for support to get started moving more.
- Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; this will trap the heat better to keep you warm. Thin layers of clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good for maintaining body heat. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls. Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out.
- Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks. Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count towards your five a day.
- Prepare for cold weather. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, warm clothes and any medication so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
- Power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts. Find out if you meet the criteria and if so, sign up.
Looking after others
All of the advice for looking after yourself can be used to plan how to help others.
- Check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
- Ask about living in a cold home and support vulnerable individuals to access existing resources to keep warm, including potential nearby warm spaces and available financial support.
- Those with care responsibilities, whether that’s for family members or on a professional or voluntary basis, should consult the Cold Weather Plan for England for useful advice.
- The local outreach service relies heavily on members of the public to alert them to where people are sleeping rough in the borough. This is done by completing a referral on Streetlink London. The more information the outreach team gets regarding location of sleep site and person’s appearance, the more likely they will be able to locate them.
Up to: December 2022
Updated: 17 January 2023