SEVERE cold weather and icy conditions are expected to affect the North East until at least Monday.
The Met Office has issued a ‘level three’ warning, stating that the low temperatures could “could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services”.
NHS England has also issued a cold weather alert and is asking people to take extra care.
On its website it says the wintry weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and flu and can also see people slip and injure themselves in the ice and snow.
The Met Office warning adds: “After less cold conditions overnight Wednesday and for a time on Thursday, increasingly cold air will spread from the northwest across England on Thursday night and during Friday, with showers turning more wintry from the north.
“Average temperatures are expected to continue falling through the weekend, with a northerly airstream likely to be established by Sunday. Frost and ice are expected to become increasingly widespread through the period, with some severe overnight frosts likely in the north over any snow cover by Monday.”
The service’s forecast states the coming days should be bright and clear but with the occasional wintry shower, and with widespread overnight frost and icy patches. Mist and freezing fog could also be a risk to motorists.