Snow Watch in the Thames Valley

With severe weather warnings and snow likely to fall this weekend, Heart's been getting advice on staying safe.

Parts of the Thames Valley were officially the coldest in the country on Friday night - dropping beyond -11 in Benson and South Newington in Oxfordshire. Now forecasters are issuing warnings for snow on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

Click here for the latest warnings from the Met Office.

NHS South Central has given out the following advice to stay safe and healthy in the cold weather:

  • Keep the heat in your home: Insulating your home helps to keep the heat where you want it, and ensures your money goes as far as possible.  Ensure your heating is set for the right time and temperature as shown on the thermometer here.
  • Get financial support: There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.  Financial help, such as the Winter Fuel Payment, is available to people finding it hard to meet their heating costs. 
  • Eat well and keep moving: Food is a vital source of energy, so try to ensure you have hot meals, and drink regularly. Keeping active will generate body heat, helping to keep you warm. 
  • Get a flu jab: Available for free from your GP to protect yourself against seasonal flu if you are over 65, have a long-term health condition, or are pregnant. 
  • Look after yourself and others: On cold days, try to avoid going outdoors; but when you need to, remember to wrap up warm. If you have older friends, neighbours or relatives, look out for them during winter to make sure they are safe and well.

This week the AA based in Basingstoke have seen a 50% rise in the number of breakdowns they're called out to.

Darron Burness, the AA's Head of Special Operations, says:

"Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, as we could get either rain or snow.

"Either way, take plenty of warm clothing, food, water, de-icer, ice scraper and a fully-charged mobile in case you run into difficulty.

"Before heading off, give yourself enough time to completely clear the car windows of any frost. Remember to free the wiper blades before turning them on, as they can stick to a cold windscreen and you risk burning out the motor and blowing a fuse. Also, ice crystals are sharp and can cut the rubber blades."

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