Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Mild winter ahead, but colder than last year

May 18 2009
The Met Office predict a wet winter, but charities gear up for harsh weather just in case The Meteorological Office is predicting a mild winter, with temperatures averaging at 4.6¬?C in London. Although unable to offer any detailed weather predictions beyond the usual 5-10 day forecast, a Met Office spokesman told The Pavement: "Generally speaking, this winter will be relatively mild, though not in the same bracket as last year." Last year was the second warmest winter on national records since 1914. This winter, temperatures will fall somewhere between the UK average of 3.7¬?C and last winter's mild mean temperature of 5.5¬?C - most likely around 4.3¬?C-4.5¬?C. In the South East, the predicted mean temperature will rise to 4.6¬?C. "Urban heat produces its own energy stores," explained the spokesman from the weather and climate change forecast office. "Concrete and other similar materials absorb heat in the day and emit it at night. In rural areas, grass radiates heat much more quickly than in the city." The Met Office was also unable to give a definitive prediction on rain and snowfall; however, we have already seen frosty conditions, and they say we will undoubtedly see more such cold spells. Although they cannot yet say when these will be, they are likely to be less frequent and prolonged. Easterly winds bring biting cold to London, but are dry: westerly winds are milder but wetter. The likelihood is for slightly more westerly winds, until around March, when warmer southerly winds usually bring winter to a close. Shelters across London are already gearing up for the cold months. St Mungo's Outreach Manager, Luton Sinfield, said that although the charity has rolling shelters throughout the year, they will add extra places in the event of severe weather: "If the temperature in Central London goes below zero for three consecutive nights, we'll open an emergency shelter as quick as we can". Sinfield said that St Mungo's, which has been working with everyone from government departments and London boroughs to night shelters and churches, is "very keen that everyone's got somewhere to go. The brutal truth of central London is that we have to really target our services, sometimes there are more people than places". This means not releasing details of where the emergency shelter is going to be, so that St Mungo's can provide immediate places for those who spend a lot of time on the streets and perhaps rough sleepers who may usually refuse offers of accommodation.