UK weather: Cold snap prompts authorities to issue warnings for ice, as sleet and snow arrive.

Amber cold health alerts are in effect in England, with some areas still dealing with flooding caused by heavy rain. Forecasters have issued new ice warnings, advising millions of Britons to prepare for a cold spell. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for ice in southern England and south Wales, lasting from 3pm on Monday to 3am on Tuesday. This wintry weather follows Rishi Sunak’s visit to flood-affected residents in Oxford, while the Environment Agency continues to address the aftermath of Storm Henk’s heavy rainfall and strong winds. London and the south-east woke up to ice, sleet, and snow showers on Monday morning. Temperatures dropped to -8C in Altnaharra, Scottish Highlands, and are expected to remain below average for the week. Southern regions may experience icy patches on roads and possible falls on slippery surfaces due to “ice and small amounts of snow.” The EA predicts “significant” floods to persist in parts of the lower River Trent, with minor impacts along the Thames and Severn until Wednesday. Minor groundwater flooding is also expected in parts of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, and potentially other southern areas and Yorkshire. According to the Met Office, the sudden change in conditions is due to cold air from the north and east replacing wet westerly air. Despite the cold temperatures, clear conditions and some sunny spells are expected, with Dartmoor possibly experiencing 1-2cm of snow. Travelers are advised to plan their route, check for delays and road closures, and be cautious of potential hazards. Tuesday night could be even colder, with temperatures dropping potentially to -9C in the Scottish Highlands. Daytime temperatures are not expected to exceed 6C in the south and 8C in the north. An amber cold health alert (CHA) is in place until noon on Friday for the north-west, Midlands, south-west, and south-east of England. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued this amber alert, signifying prolonged health impacts from cold weather throughout the healthcare system. Additionally, there is a yellow cold health alert for the north-east, Yorkshire and the Humber, the east of England, and London. Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections, especially for older people and those with underlying health conditions. Dr. Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UKHSA, urges checking on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable during the drop in temperatures. The EA reports approximately 2,000 flooded properties. As of Monday morning, there were 149 flood warnings and 149 flood alerts in southern England, the Midlands, and Yorkshire. Sunak defended the government’s flood protection efforts, citing over 1,000 Environment Agency personnel aiding local communities and the deployment of over 200 pumps. He highlighted that £5.2bn has been invested in flood defenses, a record sum, which has helped protect over 300,000 homes and affected over 49,000 individuals.

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