A COLD weather alert has been issued by the Met Office for Dorset.

The Met Office says there is “a 70 per cent probability of severe weather/icy conditions/heavy snow” over the coming days.

The alert is valid from 6pm on Sunday until 6pm on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: “High pressure will build across the country over the weekend and into early next week. This will bring a spell of dry weather and light winds, with overnight frosts becoming widespread. The cold overnight temperatures will be offset by generally fine daytime conditions with sunny spells. However, fog patches will develop across central and southern areas Sunday night into Monday, suppressing daytime temperatures in places where slow to clear.

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture: the Met Office 

The spokesperson added: “Later Monday and into Tuesday, freezing fog may become more widespread although confidence decreases. Some cloudier conditions are also expected to spread southwards and bring less cold conditions, but the speed of this progress is a little uncertain at present.”

Currently, the Met Office forecast predicts temperatures of 7C on Saturday and 6C on Sunday, with a ‘feels like’ temperature of -4C in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Met Office has four different cold weather alerts ranging from levels 1 to 4.

Level 1 is the lowest rating and calls for winter preparedness and action with level 4 issued when the weather is so severe its affects “extend outside the health and social care system.”

Its newest alert is a level 2 which means ‘alert and readiness’ is required.

Public Health England is urging people to prepare for cold weather conditions and look out for those most at risk.

Dr Owen Landeg, principal environmental public health scientist at Public Health England, said: “Older people and those with heart and lung problems are at risk of getting sick in cold weather.

“Keep an eye out for those who may need help staying warm, ensure they wear lots of thin layers and have everything they need.

“Below 18 degrees, changes to the body mean that the risk of strokes, heart attacks and chest infections increase so heating homes to this temperature is particularly important to stay well.”

The cold weather alerts are triggered by the Met Office as soon as the risk is 60% or above for any of its four thresholds to be breached.

The Met Office says the alerts "take account of temperature along with other winter weather threats such as ice and snow."