A cold weather warning has been issued for northern England from Wednesday to the weekend as freezing temperatures and widespread frost affect parts of the UK and those at risk have been requested to heat their homes to a minimum of 18C.

Stephen Partridge, a Met Office meteorologist, said the weather is “one for getting the big coats out” with temperatures ranging from three-and-a-half to five-and-a-half degrees during the day and -five degrees overnight on Thursday.

After the Met Office forecast temperatures to plummet to as low as -6C (8F), the health authorities issued a weather warning in which they urged Britons to ensure elderly and vulnerable next door neighbours are checked for possible illness.

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The Met Office said the West Midlands, East Midlands, East, south east and south west would experience colder temperatures from around 6pm today and remain cool until at least 9am on Sunday.

Meteorologist Stephen Partridge said the bitter conditions were caused by the Arctic air being wafted around the country.

Met Office chief meteorscientist Steve Ramsdale said: “A change in conditions brings cold air to the UK, spreading from the north later on Wednesday then lingering over England and Wales for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

Agostinho Sousa, specialist in public health medicine at UKHSA, called on Britons to remind older neighbours to keep their homes heated.

Met Office

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The Meteorological Office, abbreviated as the Met Office is the United Kingdom’s national weather service. It is an executive agency and trading fund of the Department for Business, (wikipedia)

UK Border Agency

The UK Border Agency was the border control agency of the Government of the United Kingdom and part of the Home Office that was superseded by UK Visas and Immigration, (wikipedia)