Temperatures are poised to plunge to lows of –5C across Derbyshire overnight – amid warnings that the severe cold snap could kill someone every seven minutes.
Parts of the county – like Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock – will be colder than Russia’s capital Moscow and the Finnish city Helsinki throughout the night, according to the Met Office.
Ice could cause big problems on Derbyshire’s roads during the Monday morning rush-hour – when temperatures will struggle to rise above freezing.
Over the next five days, daytime temperatures will fail to exceed 3C in many towns and villages across the county while overnight temperatures will again reach lows of –5C.
The Met Office has triggered a severe cold weather alert for Derbyshire lasting until Thursday.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It’s a shocking fact that this winter one older person could die every seven minutes from the cold.
“With just under one million older people living in fuel poverty, many simply cannot afford to heat their homes to a temperature high enough to keep warm and well.”
Dr Steve Lloyd, chair of the NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group, which represents a number of GP practices across Derbyshire, added: “Now is a good time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbours, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions.
“These groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold so think now what you could do to help.
“Look out for them and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.”
The county’s hospitals have been warned to expect increased demand during the coldest spell of the winter.
Meanwhile, the RAC is braced for a 50 per cent increase in breakdowns.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Cold weather creates a giant spike in drivers running into problems.
“Motorists should plan journeys and pack an emergency pack containing hot drinks, food, warm clothes, blankets, a first-aid kit and a fully-charged mobile phone.”
Derbyshire County Council’s gritting team is tonight working to treat primary and secondary routes. They also plan to grit primary routes from 4am tomorrow.
A spokesman for Derbyshire fire service urged people to keep their children and dogs away from frozen water, adding: “If disaster strikes, call 999.”