Get ready for winter blog

Category: Winter

Spring has arrived...

  • 28 March 2014

British Summer Time begins this weekend and is marked by the clocks going forward by 60 minutes, at 2am on Sunday 30 March 2014.

Fire safety - tick tock test

Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they work. Fire Minister Brandon Lewis MP, is encouraging everyone to check their smoke alarms at the same time they change their clocks. "You are four times more people are likely to die in a fire in your home if there is no working smoke alarm, this simple check is a real life saver. By pushing the 'test' button on every smoke alarm, you could save the lives of your nearest and dearest - children, parents and friends alike."

The  Fire Kills campaign is run by the Department for Communities and Local Government in partnership with England's fire and rescue services.

Winter 2013/2014 summary

It was the wettest winter for the UK, England, Wales and Scotland, and the second wettest winter for Northern Ireland in the record series dating from 1910. It was the stormiest UK weather for 20 years with at least 12 major winter storms affecting the UK in two spells from mid-December to early January, and again from late January to mid-February.

See the info-graphic below for more facts and figures on the recent winter weather.

As we have moved into Spring our Get Ready for Winter initiative is drawing to a close. Thank you to all the partners involved for their support and contributions.

Summer 2014

As June approaches, we will be launching our Get Ready for a Great British Summer campaign. The initiative aims to help you plan and enjoy the summer, whatever the weather.  Covering the main summer holiday season, the 16 week campaign recognises that a great British summer is likely to see a mix of weather and will feature ideas and safety tips to help you make the most of the summer.

Winter summary

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190 years ago today, the RNLI was founded in a London Tavern...

  • 4 March 2014

The industrial revolution was in full fog and London was thriving as the largest city in the world. But it was one man, from a small island, that would unite the nation's movers and shakers in creating the lifesaving charity we know today as the  Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Living in Douglas on the Isle of Man, Sir William Hillary saw the treacherous nature of the sea first-hand. Many ships were being wrecked around the Manx coast and Hillary refused to sit by and watch people drown. He saved many lives with the help of locals but knew more had to be done.

He drew up plans for a lifeboat service manned by trained crews, for all of the UK and Ireland. In 1823 he published a pamphlet, appealing to the British Navy on forming A National Institution For The Preservation Of Lives And Property From Shipwreck. This noble idea fell on deaf ears - the Admiralty refused to help. So he changed tack, rebranding his appeal for the more philanthropic members of London society instead. This time the idea caught the eye of Thomas Wilson, energetic MP for Southwark; and shipping magnate George Hibbert. Hillary, Wilson and Hibbert became a formidable trio and the campaign rapidly gathered momentum.

They agreed that a public meeting should be the main launch pad. And what better venue than the fashionable London Tavern where other charities had been founded?

In the tavern that day, The Archbishop of Canterbury presided over a crowd of aristocrats, clerics, politicians, naval officers, brokers, bankers, merchants and philanthropists, including anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and sea safety guru Captain George Manby.

The plans for the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck were then set out before the distinguished gathering. Little did they know that the 12 resolutions they agreed on would still stand as part of the RNLI's charter 190 years later.

Wilberforce said he was honoured to be there and that 'an Institution like this seems so natural to this country' that he was 'astonished it had not long before this period been established'.

RNLI 190th

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All sorts of weather

  • 14 February 2014

What might be the last big storm of the current spell will be crossing the UK early this weekend. It's going to bring heavy rain, high winds and some snow in different areas. With a risk of frost and ice to follow over the rest of the weekend it looks like the country will be experiencing the full mix of winter weather. The strongest winds are expected later on Friday and Friday night with winds of 60 to 70 miles per hour over some southern areas. Gusts nearer 80 miles per hour are possible near English Channel coasts, where some big waves are likely again.

Heavy squally showers are likely on Friday night and Saturday, but as these tend to die down frost and ice will become a problem in places by Sunday morning.

Finally there's a real risk of  snow over some of the hills and mountains of Northern Britain.

Below is an image of the storm as it moves towards the UK on Friday.

Storm 14 Feb

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Further wind and rain forecast

  • 11 February 2014

Met Office forecasters are warning that further very wet and windy weather this week could bring disruption to parts of the UK. Wednesday will see a vigorous low pressure system move in from the west, bringing a band of rain and gales across the country. Around 10-20mm of rain is possible fairly widely with 20-30mm possible in parts of Wales and South West England.

The strongest winds are expected during the afternoon and evening across Wales and northern England. Gusts of 70-80mph and perhaps as high as 90mph are possible around exposed western areas, with 50-60mph generally across inland and southern areas.

These potentially damaging winds could bring down trees and cause disruption to travel and power networks.

In addition, large waves could cause problems around coastal areas.

Below is the latest most likely track of the storm for tomorrow.

Storm track 12 Feb

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Weekend amber and yellow severe weather warnings

  • 7 February 2014

Amber and yellow warnings for wind and rain are still in place for today and tomorrow (Saturday).

Latest forecast 07 Feb

Keep up to date with the latest forecast.

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I want to...

  • Help communities

    There are practical steps you can take to support your community in preparing for winter weather.

  • Stay warm and well

    Helping you keep warm and well this winter.

  • Protect my home

    There are certain practical steps that you can take to protect your home from winter weather.

  • Travel

    Preparations and precautions when travelling in winter.

  • Promotional material

    Free downloadable promotional resources