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Deep weekend freeze of -10C sparks fears of winter energy crisis for millions

Millions cannot afford to heat their homes as temperatures plummeted to as low as -10C this weekend, prompting fears of a winter energy crisis.

Ministers said they were taking advice on how to protect vulnerable people as arctic weather for at least the next seven days will bring wintry downpours and “freezing fog”.

Nearly four inches of snow could fall in southern England within days, while temperatures could plummet to as low as -10C causing travel chaos.

On Friday the Met Office issued a yellow snow and ice warning for London and south-east England on Sunday and Monday after identical warnings in other parts of the country.

It comes after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) sent out a level three cold weather alert covering England until Monday.

Temperatures fell late on Thursday to as low as -9C in the village of Benson, South Oxfordshire.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “The outlook for the UK remains cold at least for the next seven days, with the potential for this to continue even longer.

“Along with the cold air there are a number of weather-related hazards including freezing fog, especially for Sunday and Monday mornings in the south of England.

“Overnight temperatures are likely to dip widely below zero with some more sheltered spots dropping to -10C.”

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggested many households would struggle to pay for warm clothing, heating and food, while more than 700,000 were unable to afford essentials and were already in arrears.

The weekend is the first real test of how Britain will navigate squeezed supplies of gas this winter, as the war in Ukraine continues to push up prices. The National Grid warned on Wednesday that “margins are expected to be tighter this week, particularly for the next few days”.


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