Cold conditions, snow and ice

Snow and cold weather

Snow and severe cold weather can cause disruption and can also affect vulnerable people.

In the event of severe cold weather on the Island, you can get the latest updates by:

Preparation and advice for cold weather

Homelessness support

  • if you are aware or in contact with someone without somewhere to stay, please encourage them to contact the Isle of Wight Council’s housing team on 01983 823040 (out of hours 01983 821105
  • the Salvation Army hosts outreach services, such as drop-in sessions and a warm place to rest and have a cup of tea - more details on the Rough sleeping page
  • if you are or someone you know is under the age of 18 years and rough sleeping, call children's services on 0300 300 0117
  • if you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, you can send an alert to Streetlink or call 0300 500 0914 – this will connect them to local services and support
  • if you suspect someone is in immediate risk, harm or danger from sleeping rough, please telephone the police on 999

Further advice and information about homelessness support 

Practical steps you can take in cold and icy conditions

  • to prevent freezing of internal pipes it is recommended that you turn off your water supply to prevent pipes from bursting. Locate the stop-cock inside your home, this is usually under the kitchen sink. Also, know the location of the stop-cock outside of your home, if you cannot find it, contact Southern Water. You can prepare your home for icy conditions by following the advice from Southern Water
  • Southern Water also maintains a register of priority customers who may be vulnerable due to illness or age. Make sure yourself, a relative or neighbour is added by calling 0800 027 0800 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • keep torches (and any batteries) to hand in case lighting fails or you need to switch off power
  • keep important emergency numbers near your home such as a 24-hour plumber and an emergency salvage and clean-up company. They are usually listed under 'Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners' in directories
  • check your buildings and contents insurance details. Most will be pleased for you to arrange damage limitation with plumbers and cleaners yourself. Note any emergency contact telephone numbers
  • if your house has any exposed pipes, lag them with thick material, old blankets etc. If lofts are very cold, leave trap doors open
  • if you are away from your house overnight or for any long period, leave the heating system on a low setting to prevent pipes freezing. If practical, switch off water and drain pipes
  • ensure everyone living in your home knows where the water stop-cock and electricity mains switch are located
  • if you have a battery radio check it and ensure you have spare batteries
  • if you use candles, electric blankets, or an open fire, be aware of the hazards and view safety information to prevent a fire in your home

Frozen pipes

If you think a pipe is frozen, but has not burst:

  • contact a plumber or if it is safe try to thaw the affected pipe using a hair dryer or hot water bottle (do not use a naked flame to do this). Be aware of the dangers of electricity and water
  • store some water, for personal and toilet needs, for when you have to switch the mains water off later

Burst pipes

If you find a burst pipe, or have water dripping:

  • first switch off your electricity at the mains - but if there is any danger of mains switch being wet seek advice first
  • do not touch any light or power fittings until mains has been disconnected
  • turn off water at the stop-cock
  • phone for a plumber, and if extensive damage is likely, phone your house insurance emergency number for advice. Or get in touch with an emergency salvage and clean-up company. Remember you will have to pay for these services if you have no insurance cover.
  • think about the effects of no water or electricity in your house - if you have problems - ask neighbours or family for help
  • you can report a leak on Southern Water’s 24-hour leak line: 0330 030 0146

Power cuts

If you have a power cut, call 105 to get up-to-date information.

Further advice on power cut

Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign

The Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign is a national campaign to reduce cold-related illness and deaths during the winter. You can find guidance on what financial support is available and how to prepare for cold weather and keep warm.

NHS winter health also offer services and information to deal with the effects to our health brought on during the cold winter months.

General health advice for cold weather

  • make sure you stay warm, eat well and stay hydrated
  • if going outside dress appropriately. Wear shoes with good grip when you go outside to avoid slips and falls on slippery or icy surfaces
  • keep bedroom windows closed. Heat rooms you spend most time in to 18°C (65°F) if you can and wear multiple layers of thinner clothing
  • try not to sit still for more than an hour when inside. If you find it difficult to move about, stretching your arms and legs can also help keep you warm
  • if there is anyone you know who might be at risk, for example, an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do to stay warm and are well stocked with food and medications
  • keeping paths and pavements free of snow and ice can help prevent falls. Older and vulnerable people are most at risk from slips and may need help to keep their pathways clear
  • if you are worried about someone you know or think they may have hypothermia, contact NHS 111 for further assessment. In an emergency dial 999. Typical signs of hypothermia include shivering, slow breathing, tiredness or confusion, and pale, cold skin

More information can be found on the NHS website

Driving in snow and ice

Driving in snow, ice and wintry conditions requires extra care and preparation, and you should only drive when absolutely necessary.

Before setting off in adverse conditions, please check your vehicle, route and the weather forecast.

Follow the AA’s winter driving advice and listen to the local radio for travel news while driving.

Salting and Gritting

Island Roads monitor the weather accordingly to ensure that key main roads are gritted and kept clear. In addition, 4x4 arrangements are in place to ensure that key council staff such as those in social care can continue to deliver services within the community.

Find out which routes are gritted on the Island Roads website

Travel advice

The roads and pavements can be dangerous when icy. If possible, avoid travelling in very bad conditions, but if you must travel check the latest weather and travel advice.

The best advice in snowy or icy weather adverse weather condition is to only go out if necessary.

Keep warm in your homes and check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, such as the ill and the elderly.