SUSSEX is bracing itself for icy conditions this week.

Public Health England has issued a Level 3 cold weather alert for the south east, which is expected to last until the end of the week.

The alert is issued when average temperatures have dropped to 2C or below or widespread ice and heavy snow is present.

The Met Office has also put out a weather warning for snow and ice for parts of East Sussex tomorrow.

The cold spell could also put pressure on already busy hospitals as it can affect elderly and vulnerable people with respiratory problems.

Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Cold conditions will persist, with widespread overnight frosts, locally severe, and low daytime temperatures.

“The cold conditions will be accentuated at times by strong winds, especially across eastern and southern England later in the week.”

Angie Bone from Public Health England, said: “Further parts of the country are really going to feel cold for the next few days so it’s important people take extra care when out and about.

“Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable.”

Free packs with winter essentials including hats and blankets are being handed out across West Sussex to people who need help to stay warm.

The packs also include insulated mugs to keep drinks hot, socks and hand warmers as well as practical advice and information about staying warm, switching energy providers and being energy efficient.