September 27, 2008

Mild Winter Ahead, With Cold Snaps Too

Forecasters at the Met Office in Exeter are predicting another milder than average winter.

It is also expected to be drier than last year.

Seasonal forecasts from the Met Office are used by many government agencies, private sector firms and charities to help their long-term planning.

Earlier this year, John Hirst, chief executive of the Met Office and Michael Lake CBE, director general of Help the Aged, signed an agreement to explore ways in which the two organisations can actively use weather information to support the health and well- being of older people.

The forecast of another mild winter has been welcomed by Help the Aged.

Dr James Goodwin, head of research at Help the Aged, said: "The onset of winter causes significant anxiety among many older people.

"This forecast will assist policy makers to adapt their strategies to ensure that the negative effects of winter weather are reduced as far as possible."

Despite the forecast of a milder winter generally, people should still be prepared for the risk of colder spells at times.

Dr Tish Laing-Morton, clinical director at the Met Office, said: "Sudden cold snaps, especially in a generally mild winter, can be a real problem for older people and those with respiratory illnesses.

"This is why the Met Office has developed a Healthy Outlook service, which helps people suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease successfully manage their condition."

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