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Cold snap

Avenue with trees and fields around that are snowed in
A cold snap is a continuous period of at least five days during which the maximum temperatures remain below freezing, and the minimum temperatures on at least three of these days are lower than -10 degrees (= severe frost).


  • Before winter, check that your heaters are still working properly.
  • Check the insulation of your pipes: the cold can corrode them and cause heating failure.
  • Check your car. For example, provide winter tyres.
  • Provide a blanket, scraper, and a bottle of water in your car.


  • Stay inside as much as possible.
  • Set the thermostat to a minimum ambient temperature that is still comfortable. Avoid excessively high temperatures.
  • Ventilate your home for 10 minutes every day.
  • Close the rooms you do not or rarely use.
  • Think of your pets. Keep them inside or make sure they have plenty of food and drinking water.
  • Do not overload the stove. Beware of CO poisoning.

Do you have to go outside?

  • Wear multiple layers and cover your entire body. Also wear a hat, for example. If you go outside without headgear, you lose 30% of your body heat.
  • Do you have to go on the road? Watch your speed when taking your car on the road. Be extra careful when cornering. Read the ten tips from VIAS to get through the snow safely by car
  • Take a blanket, hot drinks or water in case you get stuck in a traffic jam.


  • Be careful when it thaws: frozen pipes could be damaged and may leak.

What does the government do?

The RMI closely monitors the weather situation and issues warnings in the event of a cold snap. These warnings are in the form of colour codes. Based on these colour codes, local or regional authorities can take various measures, for example:

  • Starting winter shelters for the homeless.
  • Starting a gritting plan to make the roads free of snow and black ice.