Health chiefs have issued a Level 2 warning as a severe bout of cold weather is set to hit Cambridgeshire in the next few days.

Officials are urging people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when out and about as the Met Office has forecast severe wintry conditions for the county.

Cold weather will dominate the next few days and there will be a widespread frost, with patches of ice. Most places will probably be dry and bright during the day but rain showers are likely in the south east.

The Met Office says snow is possible anywhere, but more likely over northern and eastern areas and over high ground. Overnight frosts remain likely.

Today:

Cold and windy towards the coast with occasionally heavy and wintry showers. Sunnier through the afternoon but further wintry showers possible, especially towards the Norfolk coast. Winds easing. Maximum temperature 4 °C.

Tonight:

Clear skies tonight with winds easing light will allow a severe frost to form in places. Some icy stretches are likely to form by the end of the night too. Minimum temperature -3 °C.

Friday:

A fine and frosty start on Friday with plenty of sunshine on offer. Cloud may increase during the afternoon, turning the sunshine rather hazy, but all parts should stay dry. Maximum temperature 4 °C.

Outlook for Saturday to Monday:

Cold through the period with widespread overnight frosts. Variable cloud with some clear or sunny spells. Occasional showers possibly wintry in places, perhaps heavy at times on Sunday.

A county council spokesman said Cambridgeshire is due to experience severe cold weather between the early hours of Friday January 18 until early morning on Monday January 21.

"Temperatures are looking to drop all around the county triggering a Level 2 Cold Weather Alert," said the spokesman. Some wintry showers are also expected on Thursday, giving some icy patches overnight."

The spokesman said severe cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people aged 65 or older, the very young or those with chronic disease.

Val Thomas, consultant in public health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "It's so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren't at their lowest.

"Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, it's important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.

"We are also asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk during this period of cold weather. If you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can."