HEALTH chiefs have issued a cold weather alert as temperatures plummeted as low as -9C in parts of the country overnight.
Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to look out for those most at-risk as Britain is braced for bitterly cold conditions this week.
Experts warn that freezing fog, which has already caused chaos for commuters today, can increase the risk of deadly heart attacks and stroke.
Dr Emer OConnell, consultant in Public Health at PHE, said: “Older people and those with heart and lung problems are at risk of getting sick in cold weather.
“Keep an eye out for those who may need help staying warm, ensure they wear lots of thin layers and have everything they need.
“Below 18 degrees, changes to the body mean that the risk of strokes, heart attacks and chest infections increase so heating homes to this temperature is particularly important to stay well.”
Temperatures dropped to nearly minus 10C on Monday night – the coldest of the autumn so far.
According to the Met Office, the mercury fell to minus 9.9C (14.2F) in Braemar, north-east Scotland, on Monday night.
Nine of the 10 coldest locations overnight were north of the border, but the coldest location in England was Redesdale Camp in Northumberland, where the temperature was recorded at minus 7.1c (19.2F).
A yellow weather warning for dense and freezing fog was in place across large parts of England and eastern Wales on Tuesday morning.
According to the Met Office, the freezing fog will “linger” across parts of England and Wales throughout the day.
Meteorologist Grahame Madge said: “It’s going to clear, but it might be stubborn to clear in some places, and then eager to re-form.
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“We have weather warnings out until 11am (on Tuesday) but in some places it could persist more than that.”
The freezing fog hung around throughout Tuesday morning’s rush-hour.
Temperatures throughout the day will struggle to reach double figures across much of the country.
Southampton is predicted a maximum high of 11C (51.8F), but only 8C (46.4F) is expected in London.
The mercury will fall again overnight on Tuesday, but Mr Madge could not say “whether they will drop to the levels they did last night”.
He added: “We have a weather front moving in from the west that’s going to stall and bring cloud and rain. But for the east the cold conditions are going to persist.”