What to do in severe weather

What to do in severe weather

Find out what to do in the case of severe weather such as snow and ice, storms and gales or a heatwave.


A heatwave would occur when temperatures in London reach 32ºC during the day and 18ºC at night for several days.

Very hot weather can make living, working and travelling round the city uncomfortable.

It can also cause illness or death – very young or elderly people, and people with heart and respiratory problems are particularly at risk. 

What you can do

  1. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am–3pm).
  2. Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows, or using light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  3. Drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty – water and fruit juice are best.
  4. Take cool showers or baths and splash yourself with cool water.
  5. Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat when you do go outside.
  6. Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

The Met Office operates Heat-Health Watch from 1 June to 15 September each year.

For more information on what you can do to look after yourself and other people in hot weather see the NHS Choices website.   

Find out how London’s organisations would respond to a heatwave. Download the London Resilience Heatwave Plan (pdf 438K). 

Schools in severe weather 

How to find out if any schools are affected by severe weather.

Snow and ice

Find out what to do in the event of heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

With Transport for London we share responsibility for gritting and keeping roads open

What you can do  

  1. Only go out if you have to. Keep warm and well.
  2. If you do have to go out, check the weather forecast first. If driving, follow the advice given in the Highway Code.
  3. Be a good neighbour. Often the people most at risk during cold weather are the least willing to ask for help. Check up on neighbours, relatives or friends who may be more vulnerable in cold weather – make sure they’re warm enough and have enough food and medical supplies. If any residents are especially vulnerable you can help refer them to our Warm Homes Healthy People scheme.
  4. Help keep pavements clear. Get advice on how to clear snow and ice from outside your home . Find out more about getting ready for winter.

Storms and gales

Strong winds can damage buildings and infrastructure (e.g. power supplies and transport networks) as  well as endanger lives. If storms bring heavy rain, this may cause flooding. 

If storms and gales are forecast, the Met Office will issue a Severe Weather Warning and provide advice on the likely impacts of severe weather

What you can do 

  1. Avoid travelling wherever possible.
  2. Make sure anything left outside is tied down or brought inside.
  3. Prepare for possible power cuts – have emergency supplies to hand, e.g. have tinned or prepared food ready, a battery powered or wind-up radio and torch.
  4. Make sure you are prepared for possible flooding if heavy rain is forecast.
  5. Ask your neighbours if they need any help, particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable.

Find out what else you can do in the event of storms and gales.

Please note we will not usually remove storm-damaged trees in private gardens, on private roads or on ‘red routes’ maintained by Transport for London (TfL).


Emergency Planning
020 8314 6000 (via the Council switchboard)