Severe weather advice

Severe weather conditions can cause widespread disruption to areas and even pose a threat to safety. The MET Office monitors conditions in the UK and uses the National Severe Weather Warning Service to issue warnings to the public when severe weather is likely.

For your own safety, it is vital that you understand the information that is issued relating to severe weather, and what to do when you are affected.

National Severe Weather Warning Service

The most important thing to do is to regularly check your local weather forecast and keep up to date with the latest weather warnings. An overview of all of the current weather warnings in the UK can be found on the MET Office website.

MET Office severe weather warnings are issued for hazardous conditions involving rain, wind, fog, snow and ice - and use a coloured scale to indicate both the likelihood and the foreseeable impacts of the particular conditions.

Warning levelWhat this means
GreenNo Severe Weather: There is a very low risk of severe weather, however you should still monitor your local weather forecast and make sure you're prepared for severe weather in the future.
YellowBe Aware: Severe weather is possible over the next few days and may affect you. You should plan ahead, making sure that you are prepared for issues such as power outages and supply shortages as conditions may worsen. Travel delays and disruptions to your day to day activities are possible, and you should monitor the situation based on the MET Office forecast.
AmberBe Prepared:  There is an increased likelihood of bad weather affecting you, which is likely to disrupt your plans and cause travel delays. Disruption to power and other services is likely, so make sure you are prepared with torches, wind-up radios, warm clothing and blankets. You should continue to monitor the MET Office forecast and warnings, and should look out for vulnerable family, friends and community members.
RedTake Action:   Extreme weather is expected, with widespread damage, disruption and risk to life is likely. You must act immediately to keep yourself and others safe from the weather, particularly by avoiding dangerous areas and following the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

What to expect and what actions to take 

The sections below provide information as to the impacts that are likely to be witnessed during each of the severe weather events for which MET Office weather warnings are provided, and some general advice on what you should do to protect yourself from them.

Note that even a "very low" impact rating may still result in weather conditions which are sufficient to cause some minor impacts.


RatingAction required
Very LowLimited flooding of low lying fields, recreational land and car parks may occur, but disruption to travel is unlikely. Take care when driving as wet roads and pooling surface water may make conditions difficult.
LowFlooding of low lying fields, recreational land and car parks is likely, with a small number of homes and businesses also affected. Local travel will be disrupted resulting in longer journey times, and water on roads may make driving difficult. Drive carefully according to the conditions, and aim to avoid areas that are prone to flooding.
MediumSome flooding of homes, businesses and transport links is likely, resulting in disruption to travel. Utility supplies and telecoms are likely to be disrupted, and some evacuations may be necessary. Be prepared to protect yourself and your property, and look out for vulnerable friends, family and members of the community.
HighThere will be widespread flooding of properties, and due to the significant risk to life, evacuation should be expected. Travel and utilities will be severely disrupted - make sure you look out for vulnerable friends, family and members of the community. Above all else, take action to ensure your own safety and follow the advice of the emergency services.


RatingAction required
Very LowSome dislodged debris and branches may occur, with some very limited travel disruption. This is most likely to be on exposed or high level routes, on which vulnerable vehicles (high-sided) should be cautious.
LowSome branches or trees may be brought down, causing localised travel disruption. Drivers should be wary on exposed or wind prone routes, particularly those of vulnerable vehicles. Be aware of small debris being blown around.
MediumMore widespread tree damage is likely, as is other debris such as slates dislodged from roofs. Some minor structural damage is possible, and there is a risk of injury from flying debris. Be prepared for disruption to travel, such as bridge and road closures, as well as localised interruptions to power.
HighWidespread structural damage will occur, such as roofs being blown off, mobile homes overturned and power lines being brought down. Where possible, avoid prolonged close proximity to high walls and standing beneath trees. There will be a risk to personal safety therefore unnecessary travel should be avoided. Widespread disruption to travel and power supplies is likely and may be prolonged.


RatingAction required
Very LowSome limited geographical areas may be affected by non-persistent fog, however care should be taken in these areas, especially when driving.
LowMore widespread, locally dense fog is likely to affect significant areas but will not persist for more than 1 to 2 days. Extra care should be taken when driving through affected areas, and journeys may take longer than usual. Public transport may be disrupted, particularly air travel.
MediumWidespread and dense fog affecting large areas may persist for many days. Travel disruption is likely, particularly as affected airports may close, and drivers should be extremely careful in affected areas.


RatingAction required
Very LowSome slippery road surfaces may be possible due to small amounts of snow on roads and pavements, therefore traffic is likely to move slower than usual. Take extra care when walking, cycling or driving in affected areas.
LowRoad networks will remain generally open, despite more widespread snow lying on roads and pavements. Localised travel disruption may occur, however will mainly only affect particularly prone areas. Journeys through affected areas are likely to take longer than usual, and extra care should be taken when walking, cycling or driving.
MediumWidespread snow will result in a number of road closures, with others passable only with extreme care and by suitable vehicles. Disruption to public transport is likely, and significant delays are likely to affect all journeys.

Widespread deep snow will leave many roads closed and impassible. Driving in these conditions is highly likely to result in drivers becoming stranded and there will be a risk to personal safety. Significant disruption to all forms of transport, as well as school and infrastructure closures will likely disrupt normal day to day life. Any unnecessary journeys should be avoided.


RatingAction required
Very LowLocalised icy stretches on some untreated roads and pavements may occur, therefore extra care should be taken when walking, cycling or driving.
LowRoad networks will remain generally open, despite more widespread icy stretches on untreated roads and pavements. Extra care should be taken when walking, cycling or driving, and journeys are likely to take longer than usual.

Widespread black ice may occur, with some roads only passable with care. Road collisions are possible, and slips and falls are significantly more likely.