Snow moon and two-day cold weather alert as temperatures plunge
A 48-hour cold weather alert will begin on Sunday night as authorities warning of the health risks of the latest cold snap.
The warning has been issued for Sunday evening by the UK Health Security Agency and continues until 6pm on Tuesday.
The Met Office expects temperatures as low as -3C in rural areas, with widespread frost expected. All regions in England are set to be affected, though forecasters say the West Midlands and the Welsh Borders will be the coldest.
Temperatures will plunge at night but are not expected to fall below mid-single figures during the daytime chilly spells.
Skygazers also can expect to see a “snow moon” on Sunday night, rising in the northeast at 4.23pm before setting at 8.22am on Monday morning in the west-northwest.
The snow moon - which refers to a full moon that falls in February - is set to reach its peak illumination at 6.28pm on Sunday and will appear full for three days until Tuesday.
Dubbed a“snow moon” by Native American tribes, the name refers to the heavy snows that typically fall at this time of year. As such weather also made hunting difficult, it is also referred to as the “hunger moon”.
February is often the coldest month due to the relatively low Sun angle and cumulative cooling in the northern hemisphere, and many countries on either side of the Atlantic experience snowfall. Mars, Jupiter and Venus will also be visible in the night sky.
Amidst the cold snap, UKHSA has urged pensioners and people with underlying health conditions to keep their heating on at least 18 degrees, reminding the public to keep an eye on those who are most vulnerable during cold conditions.
It has advised that if people cannot heat all the rooms they use, they should heat the living room during the day and the bedroom before going to sleep. It has also recommended wearing several layers of thinner clothing rather than one thick jumper.
"Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, with older people and those with heart or lung conditions particularly at risk”, says Dr Agostinho Sousa, consultant in public health medicine at UKHSA.
"It’s important to check in on family, friends and relatives who are more vulnerable to the cold weather. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18C if you can."
David Oliver, a deputy chief forecaster at the Met Office, added: “From Sunday and into early next week an area of high pressure will dominate the UK’s weather.
“This will bring some cold nights with a widespread frost across the country. However, by day temperatures will recover to around mid-single figures, near normal for the time of year.
MET OFFICE OUTLOOK
Many areas having plenty of sunshine, and with light winds it should not feel too bad, despite being less mild than recent days. Northwest UK will gradually turn cloudier and windier, with patchy drizzle in west Scotland later.
Many southern areas dry with long clear spells leading to widespread frost inland and a few rural fog patches. Northwestern UK will be cloudier, windier and milder, with patchy drizzle.
Any fog in the south clearing to give further sunshine, temperatures recovering towards the February average. Northwestern areas staying cloudy, milder and windier, with a little drizzle, mainly western Scotland.
Outlook for Tuesday to Thursday:
Largely dry with sunny spells in the south, but also overnight frost and some freezing fog patches. Cloudie