Severe Weather

  Page image 13   High Winds   Extreme dry weather

The lead agency for severe weather events depends on the type and impacts of the weather.


Merseyside generally has a temperate maritime climate with typically warm rather than hot summers and cool to cold winters. The effect of our west coast location means that weather extremes are sometimes moderated, however, there is a risk of heavy rainfall, snow and strong winds on occasion.  Like much of the UK, our weather can be unpredictable, with severe weather most notably tending to affect transport, utilities and communications.

We are unable to reduce the likelihood of severe weather, however, by being prepared for such events we can reduce the impact to ourselves and our communities.


  • The impacts of severe weather are varied, some common issues include travel disruptions, damage and disruption to basic utilities and damage to property.
  • Severe weather affects individuals, the community, businesses and the ability of agencies to deliver essential services to the community.


  • We have plans in place to manage and co-ordinate the agencies responding to severe weather events;
  • When we plan for big events like the Grand National, parades or other public events we take the likely weather conditions into account.


  • The Met Office have recently updated their Community Resilience leaflet which provides practical steps to take to prepare for severe weather.  Please download a copy and share with members of your community.

WeatherReady (1)                           Be Winter Ready


To 'Get Ready for Winter' you should:

  • Prepare your property and vehicle ahead of winter and take responsibility for your own safety;
  • fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors;
  • make sure you have loft insulation and if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too;
  • insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes;
  • draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms;
  • make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains;
  • be aware of the latest weather forecasts and warnings from the Met Office;
  • be prepared to alter your plans in times of severe weather;
  • keep an eye on the elderly and vulnerable members of your community this winter, check on them in times of severe weather, discourage them from going outside when it’s icy and help them with shopping; if possible;
  • cold weather affects the health of the elderly often resulting in slips and falls or hypothermia which can be fatal. Keep an eye on those who might be vulnerable and ensure they are well looked after and warm;
  • identify if the roads you use are priority gritting routes, if they are not, then you may need to do some extra planning for travelling during winter weather;
  • when travelling in potentially bad weather prepare for the unexpected by packing a survival kit should you be stranded somewhere (check Highways England website for detailed information and any traffic information that may result in you cancelling or changing your timing and or route);
  • if travelling by public transport, check on a regular basis, the local travel updates provided by Merseytravel.

To 'Be Winter Ready' you should:

  • Know your free emergency numbers - in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999;
  • prepare your home - keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Contact your gas or electricity network to find out more. Visit to find out who your network operator is;
  • keep your eyes open - keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you lose your electricity supply or have a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.


Keep warm, keep well

  • Cold weather brings with it bugs and viruses. Keep warm and well this winter by preparing for illness as much as you can, especially if you (or your loved ones) suffer from asthma, CoPD or other illnesses where sudden drops in temperature can affect health;
  • please follow the links to the Winter Survival Guide and 'Keep Warm Keep Well' leaflets for advice and information on how to keep warm and well during winter. 

Look after yourself

  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks; 
  • aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day;
  • stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy;
  • exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter;
  • if possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans;
  • wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat;
  • wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls;
  • make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out;
  • check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.

Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely

  • Heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing;
  • get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated;
  • use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket;
  • do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill;
  • make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter.

Get financial support

  • There are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in.

Driving advice

  • Only travel at a speed at which you can stop within the distance you see to be clear.  Speed limits are the maximum in ideal conditions, in difficult conditions they can often be too fast;
  • avoid harsh braking and accelerations, or sharp steering;
  • always reduce your speed smoothly and in plenty of time on slippery surfaces;
  • slow down in plenty of time before bends and corners;
  • if ice and snow are present, get into a low gear earlier than normal and allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently, this will prevent the wheels from locking;
  • increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front, it is suggested you may need up to TEN TIMES the normal stopping distance when applying your brakes;
  • keep your vehicle well-ventilated, if the vehicle heater is turned up fully you can quickly become drowsy;
  • visibility will probably be reduced, so use dripped headlights;
  • during wintry weather, road surfaces are often wet and/or covered in frost and ice or snow, therefore, for everyone's safety please 'Drive to Arrive'.


  • Remove any snow early in the morning to allow the ice to melt during the day;
  • take care when driving or walking on compacted snow as it may have turned to ice. If possible, travel during the day and stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts;
  • monitor your health and if you have any symptoms consult your doctor for advice.




Merseyside flooding (1) 

Photograph - Two people were rescued after torrential rain caused a residential street to flood in Holden Road, Waterloo, October 2014.

Visit the Flooding section for advice on what you can do:

  • Before a flood;
  • During a flood;
  • After a flood.

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Public Health England has issued a heat warning encouraging vulnerable people to take care during exceptionally hot weather. 

People ‘shielding’ indoors from COVID-19, older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children are all more vulnerable from the higher temperatures.



  • Listen carefully to weather forecasts or visit websites, heed warning and advice;
  • download the latest Heatwave Plan for England for advice on looking after yourself and others during hot weather.


  • Listen carefully to weather forecasts or visit websites, heed warning and advice;
  • where possible stay out of direct heat between 11.30am and 3.00pm;
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat;
  • avoid extreme exertion and wear light, loose fitting cotton clothing;
  • cool yourself down; have plenty of cold drinks; avoid excess alcohol and caffeine;
  • if you feel unwell contact your doctor for advice.


  • Monitor your health and if any symptoms return consider the actions above.

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  • Listen carefully to weather forecasts or visit websites, heed warning and advice;
  • Check your insurance cover related to storm damage;
  • Make sure you have enough insulation in your loft and external water pipes;
  • Check the condition of trees/structures near to your home;
  • Check you have deicer/grit and tools to keep your home safe and clear of snow or ice;
  • Put away/secure anything that can be blown about possibly causing damage to your home or car;


  • Listen carefully to weather forecasts or visit websites, heed warning and advice;
  • Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary;
  • Do not travel unnecessarily;
  • In very cold weather turn off the water supply to external water taps;
  • Put away/secure anything that can be blown about possibly causing damage to your home or car;
  • Keep warm and safe in winter;
  • If leaving your house unoccupied for an extended period when icy conditions are likely, consider setting your central heating to come on automatically for a short period in the morning and in the evening to stop internal pipes freezing;
  • Check on neighbours, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable to see if they need help.


  • Consider any damage caused during the storm or gale, in particular loose cables that have been blown down or are still hanging, if in doubt obtain expert advice and do not touch them;
  • Avoid walking near walls, buildings and trees that may have been weakened.