As the 'Beast from the East' arctic storm is set to hit Burton and South Derbyshire from today, which will see temperatures plummet to as low as minus 5 with snow and ice warnings, we have put together a list of survival tips.

From travel advice to how to heat your home, we have all the information you need to ensure you stay safe and healthy during the treacherous weather conditions, which are set to be here for the rest of the week.

The snow is expected to start falling at 8am today, Tuesday, February 27, with motorists warned to take extra care and allow more time for their journeys.


First up, people are being advised to seek help from a pharmacist if they start to feel unwell. Even if it is a cough or cold, do not wait until it gets more serious, say health bosses.

Weather Picture for the Beast from the East
Pictured: Suvra Biswas
Suvra Biswas wrapped up warm as the Beast from the East arrived in Burton and South Derbyshire


Motorists, must only travel if necessary and they must make sure they take precautions such as checking weather forecasts before setting out and ensuring they follow guidance on emergency equipment to keep in your car, including having a blanket and a torch.

It may also seem obvious, but the safest way to avoid disruption on the commute is to leave extra early if you have somewhere to get to.

The elderly

With the elderly and the vulnerable such as pregnant women and young children most at risk of falling ill during the winter months, take the time to check on neighbours and make sure they have everything they need and are warm and well.

Keeping warm

This includes keeping blinds and curtains closed and getting out the hot water bottles, but it is important to make sure you keep moving, eat hot meals wherever possible and do what you can to keep your spirits up.

'Beast from the East'

The "Beast from the East" is the name that weather forecasters have given to the icy weather frontage which is set to hit the country from Russia - the east. It will see some parts of the UK set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead and may take hold next week too.

Police have issued advice to motorists about keeping safe in the snow

Today, Tuesday, February 27, people can expect a severe frost early on, before a spell of more persistent snow moves southwestwards later on in the morning. Further snow showers to follow throughout the afternoon accompanied by a bitterly cold easterly wind and highs of 2C.

Wednesday will also be a bitterly cold day with temperatures of around minus five in Burton and South Derbyshire. Thursday will be the coldest day across the UK, with some areas getting temperatures as low as minus 8. Burton and South Derbyshire will be down to minus three degrees celcius.

Katie Greening, forecaster at The Weather Channel, said: "Thursday will be the coldest day across the UK, with temperatures struggling to lift above freezing in the day and possibly -7C or -8C overnight.

"There will be a risk of snow throughout the week, mainly for eastern coastal areas and northern England but snow cannot be ruled out farther westward.

"Tuesday will see more in the way of widespread snow, turning to ice later in the day and overnight into Wednesday.

"Overnight frosts will be a feature of the weather - most intense cold expected on Wednesday, February 28, and Thursday, March 1."

Thursday - the first day of meteorological spring - is on course to be the coldest day of the week with lows of -5C predicted as an intense icy blast grips most of the UK and Europe.

Temperatures are expected to plummet to -8C during the week

The prolonged cold spell is being caused by a relatively rare phenomenon in the North Pole, called a sudden stratospheric warming. The weather phenomenon weakens the jet stream, allowing high pressure to form and drag a mass of polar air towards Europe and the UK.

Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said the yellow weather warnings will be in place Tuesday and Wednesday. Although snowfall is predicted in Burton and South Derbyshire on Thursday and Friday, weather warnings for those days have not yet been issued.

He said: "The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It is not going to be record-breaking, but it will be pretty exceptional.

"Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.

"We don't want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather."

How to stay safe in the snow

Police officers have been issuing advice to motorists to keep themselves safe when they are out and about.

A spokesman from Derbyshire Police, said: "Winter motoring requires special care and a little preparation if you are to avoid a breakdown or accident.

"If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure you and your vehicle are well prepared and that you know how to handle your vehicle in dangerous road conditions.

"Before you set out always check your route, making sure you listen for real-time weather warnings and traffic information, and are prepared to change or delay your journey dependant on advice being given. Let somebody know where you are going and the route you are intending to take, too."

Rule 229 of the Highway Code states that, before you set off:

  • You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all of your windows;
  • You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible;
  • Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are de-misted thoroughly;
  • Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users; and
  • Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.

Officers have also advised motorists that it could be extremely useful to have an emergency kit in their vehicles of a de-icer, ice scraper, torch, warm clothing, boots, a first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel. If drivers have these items in their car, they should be able to get themselves out of a tricky situation.

Driving safely on icy roads:

  1. Drive at slower speeds - Officers encourage motorists to drive much slower than normal and leave more room between the car in front in case they need to stop. This is because the roads could be slippery and could cause the car to skid. Breaking gently will reduce the chance of skidding.
  2. Turn on all lights - Cars should be driving with their lights on when it is foggy, even if it is the middle of the day, so that other motorists can see them on the roads.
  3. Clear any snow off the top of the vehicle - It can slip down over the windscreen and obscure the view or blow off onto following vehicles.
  4. Be careful on infrequently used roads - Even when the temperatures are above freezing, ice could appear in shady areas or on exposed roadways, such as bridges. If the roads are not used by a lot of people, the surface might not have been broken and ice could cause problems.
  5. Skidding - If a vehicle skids, drivers should depress the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When the vehicle has straighted, steer along the road. Do not brake as it will lock wheels up and could cause skidding again.
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If you get stuck or stranded:

Following the advice from Derbyshire Constabulary should mean that you won't get stranded in bad weather, but some things are unavoidable and it is important to know what to do.

  1. Do not spin your wheels. If you are stick in a soft surface, such as mud or snow, you should not spin your wheels, as this will only dig you in deeper. Turn the wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  2. Clear snow out of the way of the car. Use a shovel to clear as much snow out of the way of the wheels and underneath the car. Pouring sand, cat litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels will help to get traction and get the car out.
  3. Do not leave your car. If you find yourself stranded, police officers have warned not to leave the car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to help and you are certain it will help your situation. To attract attention, hang a brightly coloured cloth from the radio aerial.
  4. Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Use woollen items and a blanket to keep warm and eat food and drink carried in the vehicle.

Making sure you car is ready for the winter months:

It is important to make sure your car is ready for winter. Give your car a proper check-up, including:

  • Check ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts;
  • Changing and adjusting the spark plugs;
  • Check air, fuel and emission filters;
  • Inspect the distributor;
  • Check the battery - most last between two and four years;
  • Check the tyres of air, sidewall wear and tread depth;
  • Check anti-freeze levels;
  • Service the vehicle;
  • Keep lights clean and check bulbs regularly so you'll be prepared for lower visibility;
  • Make sure wiper blades aren't worn so you can keep your windscreen as clean as possible for the extra spray, ice and rain;
  • Dirty windows and mirrors can make it hard to see as the low winter sun hits - make sure they are kept clean.

If you're not able to check these things for yourself, it might be worth booking your car in at a local garage for a winter service.

Gritters primed and ready as temperatures set to plummet

Gritters in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire are ready to roll as snow and freezing temperatures and are forecast over the next two weeks.

In Staffordshire The county’s 40-strong team of gritters and snow ploughs will be rolling out as and when needed.

County councillor Helen Fisher, cabinet support member for highways and transport said: "This latest cold snap will mean freezing temperatures, which could last as long as two weeks.

The weather phenomenon has been dubbed "Beast from the East"

"Our gritting teams are well prepared to deal with tricky conditions, and our nine weather stations across the county will tell us what the weather is doing at a local level so we know when the gritters need to roll out. If the snow does come, our ice busters community teams will also be out keeping paths and pavements clear.

"With snow forecast this week, it is likely that conditions in some parts of the county may become difficult. Our teams do their best, but I would ask people to take care even on gritted roads, drive to the conditions and allow extra time for their journeys."

In Derbyshire, the county council released a comment saying: "We have gritted the entire primary and secondary network this morning and will do so again this afternoon. Ploughs and farmer contractors at the ready in case heavy snow falls overnight."

UK Weather: What does the law say on employee rights during ice and snow?

Laura Kearsley, partner and solicitor in the employment team at East Midlands-based Nelsons Solicitors, explains what the law says on employee rights during ice and snow.

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My child's school is closed – can I take the day off work?

You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to take care for children if there is unexpected disruption in their normal care arrangements – the closure of a nursery or school would qualify as an emergency. However, this is not time off to look after the child, but to make alternative arrangements for their care instead.

Many employers are more flexible though in these circumstances and will allow employees to take holiday at short notice or, if appropriate, to work from home or make the time up.

I can’t get into work because of the bad weather. Does my employer have to pay me?

No they do not. It is generally an employee’s responsibility to get to and from work and so if this is not possible, the employer is entitled to regard absence as unauthorised. An exception to this would be where the employer provides transport (eg a bus service) and this is cancelled.

Once again, some employers may consider allowing employees to request the time off as annual leave or to work from home. However, it is important to remember your employer should not force or pressure you to attempt the journey if there are safety reasons why you should not travel.

My workplace has closed for the day because of the weather. Does my employer have to pay me?

Unless your contract has a provision allowing for unpaid lay-off, your boss will still have to pay you if your workplace is closed because of the snow; this also cannot be marked down as a holiday. However, they can request you work from home if you are able to.

If you are on a zero hours contract or your employer has a contractual right to decline to offer you work at short notice, they may not have to pay you. Also, if there is advance notice of bad weather, the employer could give notice to require employees to take their holiday.

Is my employer liable if I slip on snow or ice at work?

Employers are required to maintain safe working conditions for employees so they may be liable if there is an accident at work which could have been avoided.

Is there a minimum workplace temperature that should be met?

No, there is not. However, employers are required to maintain a safe working environment. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance and recommends a minimum temperature of 16C for workplaces where the nature of work is fairly inactive/deskbound, such as offices. If the work requires physical effort, the minimum recommended temperature is 13C.

If I’m on annual leave and my employer shuts my workplace for the day, do I still have to use my annual leave for that time, even though the business is shut?

This depends on your employer’s policy and whether employees are still expected to work while the business is shut. You may be able to "claim your holiday back" if everyone else is being given a day off, but if other colleagues are expected to work from home or continue to attend appointments, then it is less likely. A good holiday policy will deal with these sorts of issues.

Who is most at risk?

Very cold weather can affect anyone, but you are most vulnerable if:

  • you're 65 or older
  • you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)
  • you have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • you're disabled
  • you're pregnant
  • you have young children (newborn to school age)
  • you have a mental health condition

How to keep your home warm

Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:

  • if you are not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C (65F)
  • keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed
  • during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer than 18C
  • to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
  • if you're under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable
  • draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
  • get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional

Protect your health in the cold

If you start to feel unwell, even if it Is a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.

Follow these tips on keeping well in the cold:

  • find out if you can get the flu jab for free on the NHS
  • wear several layers of clothes rather than one chunky layer – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat
  • use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don't use both at the same time
  • have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly
  • try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs
  • stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm
  • wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather

Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives

Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, to make sure:

  • they are safe and well
  • are warm enough, especially at night
  • have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather

If you are worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

If you are concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.

Is my child's school open?

Staffordshire parents can check if their child's school is closed during adverse weather conditions by going to the county council’s website and searching for 'school closure list', or by clicking and following the instructions.

For Derbyshire schools, visit: