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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Britain to shiver in temperatures 'colder than the South Pole' as health chiefs say more than 1,500 people a week could die from killer freeze


Britain to shiver in temperatures 'colder than the South Pole' as health chiefs say more than 1,500 people a week could die from killer freeze

  • Department of Health issue 'Level 3' cold-weather alert as freeze poses significant health risks
  • Warning of ice forming on untreated surfaces

By Chris Parsons
Last updated at 11:40 PM on 31st January 2012

A cold snap that has left dozens dead across Eastern Europe will reach Britain by the weekend.
Temperatures are set to plunge far below freezing point making the country even colder than the South Pole. Forecasters are expecting overnight temperatures of between  -8c (18f) and -10c (14f) on Friday.
The McMurdo research facility in Antarctica is currently recording -6c (21f) at night. The bitter cold has forced some countries to deploy their armed forces and set up emergency accommodation.
Health chiefs have also started warning that as a result of the freezing conditions, more than 1,500 people a week could be killed by the weather.
To help deal with the extreme cold, the Army has been put on standby.  Around four inches of snow and ice could cover part of the country after a high pressure system hanging over Scandinavia which is pushing raw winds towards the UK.
Braving sub-zero temperatures, Tom Nelson, 27, leads fellow mountain biker John Weeks, 25, along an icy path at the end of Rushup Edge, above Edale in the Peak District, Derbyshire
Braving sub-zero temperatures, Tom Nelson, 27, leads fellow mountain biker John Weeks, 25, along an icy path at the end of Rush up Edge, above Edale in the Peak District, Derbyshire
Deer prepare for a cold night at the Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife park in the Peak District, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire
Deer prepare for a cold night at the Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife park in the Peak District, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire
The Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer said that around 1,560 people, many elderly, would die due to cold weather each week between now and March in normal winter weather. That figure will rise 'substantially', however, due to extreme cold like that we are currently experiencing.
During last year's big freeze, the death rate in England and Wales shot up by 21 per cent from 9,220 a week to 11,193.

Getting there: A Post Office van makes its way along the roads of Exmoor, Somerset, despite the heavy snowfall that the area has experienced
Getting there: A Post Office van makes its way along the roads of Exmoor, Somerset, despite the heavy snowfall that the area has experienced
A dark brown Exmoor pony stands out in contrast to the

 white snow as it forages for food with another horse
A dark brown Exmoor pony stands out in contrast to the white snow as it forages for food with another horse


A couple walk their dog up Dunkery Hill on Exmoor as blue skies break through the snow clouds above them
A couple walk their dog up Dunkery Hill on Exmoor as blue skies break through the snow clouds above them
A van gets stuck in the snow after slipping on an icy road up Dunkery Hill in Exeter
A van gets stuck in the snow after slipping on an icy road up Dunkery Hill in Exeter


A cyclist makes his way home through the snow in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales
A cyclist makes his way home through the snow in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales
The beacon at the top of Dunkery Hill makes for a chilly scene as temperatures fall lower than at the South Pole this week
The beacon at the top of Dunkery Hill makes for a chilly scene as temperatures fall lower than at the South Pole this week
A car

 struggles up a treacherous mountain road that connects Abergwynfi and Treorchy in Wales
A car struggles up a treacherous mountain road that connects Abergwynfi and Treorchy in Wales

A woman appears to struggle through the snow as she reaches a drift that has formed along a footpath on Exmoor
A woman appears to struggle through the snow as she reaches a drift that has formed along a footpath on Exmoor

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Finding the right direction to Wheddon and Exford might not be too difficult, but following the snow-covered path might be a challenge
Finding the right direction to Wheddon and Exford might not be too difficult, but following the snow-covered path might be a challenge