Extreme weather

Snow and ice

Heavy snow and freezing temperatures can cause huge upheavals to road, rail and air travel, and disrupt day to day life across London.

Gritting London’s roads is the responsibility of highways authorities, including Transport for London, the London boroughs and the City of London.  In prolonged periods of cold weather, gritting routes may have to be prioritised – find out your local authority’s plans for gritting and snow clearance.

How can I prepare my business?

Ninety three per cent of managers asked in the CMI’s 2011 Business Continuity Management Survey reported their organisation was disrupted as a result of the severe weather in winter 2010-11.

Prepare your business now by thinking about the impacts heavy snow and freezing conditions could have on your business – would your staff be able to get to work? Can you continue to meet the needs of your customers? What would happen if supplies or deliveries couldn’t get through

Include in your business continuity plan how you could manage this situation – for example, some of your staff may be able to work from home, or you could use teleconferencing facilities if people can’t make it in for meetings.

Find out what gritting provision your local authority has in place.

How can I help my community?

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.

Clearing snow and ice - There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully.  Check out the snow code for tips on clearing snow and ice safely.

Further information


A heatwave would occur when temperatures in London reach 32ºC during the day and 18 ºC 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.

You can stay safe by:

  • staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm)
  • keeping 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)
  • drinking regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty - water and fruit juice are best
  • taking cool showers or baths and splash yourself with cool water
  • wearing loose, cool clothing and a hat when you do go outside
  • checking up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

Find out what the current heatwave alert level is at the Met Office’s Heat-Health Watch (operates from 1 June to 15 September each year).

For more information on what you can do to look after yourselves and other people in hot weather see this leaflet or look on the NHS Choices website

Find out how London’s organisations would response to a heatwave in the capital in our Adverse Weather Framework.

Storms and gales

Heavy winds could damage buildings and infrastructure (eg power supply and transport networks) in London, and endanger lives.  If the storms also bring heavy rain, this may cause surface water flooding.

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

If storms and gales hit London, stay safe by:

  • avoiding travel wherever possible
  • making sure anything loose is tied down or brought inside
  • preparing for possible power cuts – have emergency supplies such as a torch and battery powered / wind up radio to hand
  • making sure you are prepared for possible flooding if heavy rain is forecast
  • asking your neighbours if they need any help, particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable
Related documentsSize
AdverseWeatherFramework 1.0 web.pdf674.84 KB