29 January 2008
After several weeks of mild weather over many parts of the UK, forecasters at the Met Office are predicting a short cold snap at the end of the week.
Before the colder weather arrives, severe gales will bring heavy rain to all parts later on Wednesday and into Thursday, with Arctic air sweeping south to all parts of the country by Friday. Met Office Chief Forecaster, Frank Saunders, said: "Damaging gusts of wind of up to 60 or 70 m.p.h. could lead to local travel disruption before colder conditions arrive in time for the weekend".
Snow is expected in some places on Friday and Saturday, especially Northern Ireland, Scotland, north-west England, and north Wales where up to 10 cm of snow is possible.
The prospect of colder weather will come as a shock to the system after what has been, so far, another very mild month for many areas.
The predicted colder weather means that the Met Office has activated its 'Healthy Outlook' alert system. Patrick Sachon, Health Forecasting Manager at the Met Office said: "Working with partners, the Met Office will be contacting over 6000 COPD patients across the UK, to warn them about the weather conditions and remind them what to do to stay well."
Temperatures are expected to make a recovery into the new working week, with a return to milder conditions and wet weather at times.
Meanwhile, rainfall amounts for January have been well above the long-term average across virtually all areas. Provisional figures up to 27 January show that 170.2 mm has fallen on average across the country. The long-term average rainfall figure for the UK is 120.5 mm.
The public are encouraged to keep up to date with the very latest Met Office forecasts through its website, on TV and over the radio.
Provisional UK mean temperatures up to 27 January have been 5.3 °C, well above the long term average of 3.4 °C. However, this is not as mild as January 2007 when the mean temperature was 6.0 °C.
Patients with COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease receive the 'Healthy Outlook' service from participating NHS Primary Care Trusts.