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Severe weather advice

Tips and advice on staying safe and well during severe weather conditions.

Helpful contacts

  • Check the Met Office website for tips on coping with the cold. The Met Office has helpful advice for driving in icy conditions on its Driving in severe weather page.
  • Visit Surrey County Council's website to find updates on school and library closures, road gritting and salting, travel disruption and changes to bus services.

  • See our Flood emergencies - latest information page for emergency contact numbers in case of flooding.

  • If your property is at risk of flooding, sign up for the Environment Agency's free Floodline service, which sends localised alerts and warnings when flooding in your area is possible.Visit the Gov.UK website to register.

  • Check Eagle Radio on 96.4FM or BBC Surrey on 104.6FM for local weather and travel updates.

  • In the event of a power cut, call 105 for help, and check our page on what to do in a power cut.

  • Keep in touch with elderly neighbours to ensure they're coping during bad weather.

Flooding

See our flood advice pages.

Wind and gales

Gales are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK. Loose objects, falling trees, and damaged structures can all present a risk to both life and property. Knowing what to do can keep you, your family, and your property safe from severe gales.

Before the storm:

  • Securely fasten windows, doors, and gates to prevent them from being damaged by the wind. Where possible, do the same for loose objects such as garden furniture.

  • Where possible, park vehicles in a garage - otherwise keep them clear of buildings, walls, trees and fences.

  • If your house has a chimney stack, especially if it is in bad condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible - if you must go out, try not to walk or shelter near anything that may fall, such as buildings, trees, walls, and fences. 

  • Avoid driving when possible - if you must make a journey, try to avoid exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads.

  • Drive slower than you normally would, and be aware of side winds - particularly if you are towing, or driving a high-sided vehicle.

After the storm:

  • Do not touch any cables that have blown down or are hanging low.

  • Avoid walking close to walls, buildings, trees, and anything else that may have been weakened by the wind.

  • Check on any vulnerable neighbours, friends and family - ensure they're safe, and help them make arrangements for any repairs.

Dense fog

Often underestimated, fog can cause a lot of disruption.When a Met Office fog warning is issued, travel plans are often affected and driving can be extremely dangerous. Tips for driving in dense fog include:

  • Drive very slowly, using only dipped headlights. Full-beam headlights will reflect off the fog and reduce your visibility.

  • Monitor your speed - driving in fog can make it feel as though you're moving slower than you actually are. It can be easy to be going faster than you realise or intend.

  • Use your fog lights, but remember to switch them off once visibility improves.

  • Beware of freezing fog - where droplets of water freeze as soon as they land and can form a layer of dangerous ice.

Heavy snow and icy roads

Sub-zero temperatures don't just result in dangerous driving conditions - it has also been shown that heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory infections are all much more likely during extremely cold weather. Keep in touch with vulnerable neighbours, friends and family who may be at risk.

It is also very important to adjust your driving during snow and icy conditions. When wintry weather is forecast, make sure you know what to do:

Before the snow and ice:

  • If you must travel - make sure you have warm clothes, food, water, boots, a torch, and a spade in your vehicle.

  • Let someone know your route if you're driving, and when you expect to arrive.

  • Put grit on paths and pavements, to reduce the risk of slipping on ice.

During the snow and ice:

  • Avoid travel if possible.

  • Take care around gritters - don't be tempted to overtake.

  • Slow down - it can take 10 times longer to stop in snow and ice, so allow more room.

  • Use the highest gear to avoid wheel spin.

  • Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skip, gently ease off the accelerator, and avoid braking. If braking is necessary, pump the brakes rather than slamming them on.

  • If you get stuck, stay with your car and tie something brightly coloured to your aerial.

After the snow and ice:

  • Be careful when walking or driving on compacted snow - it may have turned to ice.

  • Take care when shovelling snow - the cold makes it harder to breathe, placing more strain on the body during physical tasks.

Keeping well

    Keeping warm

    • Draught-proof doors and windows (see more tips on our Energy saving advice page).

    • Call Action Surrey on 0800 783 2503 to get tips on energy efficiency and insulating your home.

    • To find out about grants to improve energy efficiency in your home, see our page on heating, insulation and renewable technology assistance.

    • Make sure your boiler is checked and serviced annually.

    • Wear several light layers of warm clothing and keep active in your home if possible.

    • Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if you can.