Police have issued a reminder to Geordies to wear their coats this weekend.
Drinkers in Newcastle are famed for going out without a top layer, and pictures of revellers enjoying a night on the toon in just their party dresses featured in the national press this week.
Northumbria Police was moved to issue the warning after temperatures dropped to well below minus 10C in some parts of the region.
There are fears that people wrongly-dressed could become dangerously ill if they have to wait for a taxi after a night out. Temporary Superintendent Andrea Henderson said: “People on nights out over the weekend should be aware of the very cold conditions and dress appropriately – bearing in mind that they may have longer to wait at taxi ranks and bus stops.
“It is a good idea before leaving home to make sure someone knows where you are going and to think about how you are going to get back. You should also have a fully charged mobile phone with you, with credit on it.”
Sue Gordon, acting executive director of public health for NHS North of Tyne, working on behalf of Newcastle and North Tyneside Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Northumberland Care Trust, said: “Everyone needs to take this cold weather seriously and look after themselves and others.
“Cold weather increases the risk of hypothermia for vulnerable people and can cause complications with other illnesses and long term health conditions.
“We are urging people to wrap up warm this weekend when they go outdoors as there are serious health risks to exposing themselves to the cold. People are particularly at risk from hypothermia when they’ve been drinking. Layering up is recommended, as well as wearing a hat and gloves. It’s about getting a balance between a good time and common sense.”
Last year researchers at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle said they were creating an experiment to see if women in the North had thicker skin than women down South, and could withstand the cold better.