UK weather - live: ‘Danger to life’ warning in force as extreme heat grips country

·65-min read

An amber “extreme heat” alert has been issued by the Met Office for today, warning of “potential serious illness or danger to life”.

The alert applies to most of England and Wales, except the northern-most parts of England.

Over the coming days, it’s expected that the heatwave will reach its peak with temperatures of up to 41C.

This has triggered a red alert for Monday and Tuesday – when “exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely”, the forecaster said.

Millions have been urged to work from home, as forecasters say there is an 80 per cent chance on Tuesday of the mercury topping the UK’s record temperature of 38.7C (101.7F) – that was set in Cambridge in 2019.

Both the amber and red alerts warn that “population-wide adverse health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life.”

The Met Office adds: “Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines likely to be required.

“Significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents

“Delays on roads and road closures are possible, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with potential for significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays.”

Key points

  • Health sec urges public to look out for the vulnerable

  • Second emergency Cobra meeting held as 40C heat looms and millions urged to work from home

  • Boris Johnson ‘skips heatwave Cobra meeting for party'

  • TfL urges Londoners to avoid travel at the start of next week

  • Met Office issues red 'danger to life' extreme heat warning

  • Schools to send students home early due to heatwave

‘Ferocious heatwave could kill people, says head of paramedics’ assocation

12:00 , Lamiat Sabin

The “ferocious heat” over the UK over the next few days could result in people dying, the chief executive of the College of Paramedics has warned.

Tracy Nicholls told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “This isn’t like a lovely hot day where we can put a bit of sunscreen on, go out and enjoy a swim and a meal outside.

“This is serious heat that could actually, ultimately, end in people’s deaths because it is so ferocious. We’re just not set up for that sort of heat in this country.”

‘Enjoy sunshine but use common sense,’ deputy PM Dominic Raab says

11:02 , Lamiat Sabin

People should “enjoy the sunshine” and be “resilient enough” during the coming days of the heatwave, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said.

The Met Office has issued amber and red alerts warning of “potential serious illness or danger to life” as temperatures reach a peak of up to 40C on Monday and Tuesday.

Mr Raab told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “Obviously there is some common sense practical advice we are talking about – stay hydrated, stay out of the sun at the hottest times, wear sun cream – those sorts of things.

“We ought to enjoy the sunshine and actually we ought to be resilient enough through some of the pressures it will place.”

Put your PJs in the freezer, and other tips for getting to sleep in the heat

10:00 , Lamiat Sabin

A health expert has shared advice on how to drop off to sleep during the record-breaking temperatures expected over the next few days.

Julie Gooderick, an “extreme environments” expert at the University of Brighton, said the ideal room temperature for sleeping is around 18-21C.

Air-conditioning units would easily reduce the temperature of a room – but not everyone can, or is willing, to run the devices in their homes.

Hot weather can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Hot weather can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Using fans, opening windows at night, and keeping the curtains closed during the day will help prevent a room from getting too hot.

She also advises using a thin sheet instead of a duvet, using cooling pads on the skin, having a cold shower, or putting pyjamas in the freezer a few hours before bedtime to help cool down the body as much as possible.

Avoiding napping during the day will also help prevent sleeplessness at night, Ms Gooderick said.

Chafing chefs and boiling brewers: the hardest jobs to do in a heatwave

09:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Some jobs are tougher than others in the heat – especially when already dealing with scorching temperatures, like in a kitchen.

Trade unions have called for working from home to be allowed where possible and many companies have relaxed their dress codes.

But, of course, many jobs cannot be done from home and some become all the more taxing when the weather hots up.

Colin Drury has spoken to some essential workers about how they cope with working during a heatwave.

You can read his list here:

From chafing chef to boiling brewers: the hardest jobs to do in a heatwave

Police warn motorists never to leave pets in cars during heatwave

08:03 , Lamiat Sabin

Motorists should never leave their pets unattended in cars during hot weather.

This has been reiterated by Merseyside Police as temperatures are set to reach up to 40C over the coming days.

Using a string of emojis, the force warned that leaving pets in vehicles during heatwaves could lead to their deaths by overheating.

In the south of England, Thames Valley Police issued the same warning, adding that people should keep the windows of their cars and homes closed – when they go out – to minimise the risk of theft.

Amber and red alerts warn of ‘potential health effects or danger to life’

07:50 , Lamiat Sabin

An amber “extreme heat” alert has been issued by the Met Office for today, warning of “potential serious illness or danger to life”.

The alert applies to most of England and Wales, except the northern-most parts of England.

Over the coming days, it’s expected that the heatwave will reach its peak with temperatures of up to 41C.

This has triggered a red alert for Monday and Tuesday – when “exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely”, the forecaster said.

Both the amber and red alerts warn that “population-wide adverse health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life.”

The Met Office adds: “Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines likely to be required.

“Significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents

“Delays on roads and road closures are possible, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with potential for significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays.”

‘Cloud and patchy rain’ predicted across some northern areas on Sunday

06:55 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Schools to close early on Monday and Tuesday

06:31 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Schools have decided to send children home early on Monday and Tuesday following an extreme heat warning for early next week.

For most schools in England, the week beginning 18 July is the last few days of classes before the summer holidays begin.

However, due to the scorching weather, a growing number of schools have announced they will be finishing the final days of the academic year early to protect both students and staff.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports.

UK heatwave: Schools to close early on Monday as extreme temperatures warned

Heath secretary pledges extra measures to tackle heatwave

05:04 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Health secretary Steve Barclay has pledged new measures, including extra working hours for ambulance crews, to tackle UK’s first national heatwave emergency.

“The clear message to the public is to take sensible steps in terms of water, shade and cover, which many people are aware of. That’s the best way of mitigating against the heat,” Mr Barclay was quoted by Sky News as saying.

“We’re asking people to keep an eye out for their neighbours and those who may be vulnerable. We’re also putting in additional contingency support as well.”

He added: “We’re putting in extra measures in terms of call handlers, support for fleet [and] extra hours of capacity within the ambulances. Each ambulance trust has well-developed contingency plans for extreme weather.”

UK weather: What is a national heatwave emergency?

03:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A national emergency is declared when a heatwave is so severe and, or prolonged that its impacts extend beyond the health sector, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Transport, food and businesses could also be affected and it could cause power or water shortages, according to the agency whose job it is to protect the population from health threats.

A national emergency can also be declared when the “integrity of the health and social care systems is threatened”.

Read more from our climate correspondent, Saphora Smith, here:

All you need to know about national heatwave emergency

Tropical night on Sunday with exceptionally hot weather

02:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

12 best sunscreens for sensitive skin to protect you from the rays

01:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Whatever the weather, sunscreen is an essential part of a daily skincare routine. Experts advise this should be your final step before adding make-up, and should be generously re-applied every two hours.

For full sun care all year-round, broad spectrum products shield skin from both UVA and UVB rays. That covers the ageing effects of sun exposure and potentially dangerous sun burn caused by both types of ray respectively.

Just like any other buy, the type of SPF you choose depends on your skin type. Those with sensitive skin can suffer with redness or irritation from certain ingredients and fragrances in SPF formulas.

Read on for our top pick of the best SPFs for sensitive skin, across all price points.

The best sunscreens for sensitive skin to protect you from the rays

Kent residents without water on first day of heatwave

Sunday 17 July 2022 00:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Saturday kick started the beginning of the heatwave, with Heathrow Airport and Kew Gardens, in west London, recording the highest temperature of 29.1C.

The warm weather saw increased demand for water in some parts, with South East water confirming residents in Challock and Molash, in Kent, having no water due to “continuous hot weather and significantly increased demand for water” putting “significant pressure on our network”.

A statement from the supplier said: “We’re continuing to work on restoring your supplies, and will continue to work on this overnight.

“As a precaution, we’re going to open up the bottled water station at Challock Village Hall tomorrow morning, at 8am.

“The team will be there until 7pm tomorrow night.”

Heatwave: NHS warns of ‘nightmare’ for health workers

Saturday 16 July 2022 23:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

An NHS doctor has warned that the heatwave and the surge in cases of Covid-19 in England are resulting in a “nightmare” for health workers.

Dr Claire Bronze, 38, who is an A&E consultant in London, said she is worried about the effect the hot weather will have on patients and staff.

She said: “In some places there are people waiting in A&E for up to two days at a time for a bed in the hospital.

“There are ambulances queuing to get in; we’ve seen a lot of Covid cases again, and then there’s the heat.

“There’s all these things happening that are just a bit of a nightmare and we’re worried about how it is going to affect patients and staff.”

On Friday the Met Office warned that lives could be at risk as it is likely that a record UK temperature could be set early next week.

Sadiq Khan urges Londoners not to travel on Monday and Tuesday unless essential

Saturday 16 July 2022 23:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

London mayor Sadiq Khan held a special meeting with key senior officials from agencies including the NHS, the Met Police, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, councils and Transport for London on Friday to ensure there is a robust plan in place to deal with the level four heat alert.

Mr Khan has urged Londoners to undertake only essential travel on Monday and Tuesday and to prepare for disruption because speed restrictions will be in place on rail and Tube networks.

A high air pollution alert for London has also been issued by the mayor for Monday.

Labour meanwhile criticised prime minister Boris Johnson after reports said he had failed to attend Cobra meetings.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He’s back to his old tricks of skipping important Cobra meetings.

“Where’s the plan for the delivery of essential services and how people will be kept safe at work, on transport, in schools, hospitals and care homes?

“The public will have no confidence in this zombie Conservative government responding swiftly and decisively to this national emergency as this disgraced Prime Minister prepares to party while Britain boils.”

How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Saturday 16 July 2022 22:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

According to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep expert at Silentnight, the optimal bedroom temperature for sleeping is between 16C and 21C, and your brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body.

“A good night’s sleep is important in order to process information throughout the day as well as to repair and re-balance the body physically and mentally,” Ramlakhan tells The Independent.

“Ideally, in order for us to sleep well, there needs to be a fractional temperature difference between our body and our brain – a warm body and a cool head!”

Here are 20 tips to keep cool at night:

How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Outlook for Sunday

Saturday 16 July 2022 21:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A rainy start for the north tomorrow while intense sunshine and heat is forecasted for the rest of the UK.

Deadly wildfires spread in Portugal, France and Spain as heatwave grips Europe

Saturday 16 July 2022 21:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Thousands of firefighters are battling deadly fires that have swept across Europe this week as a heatwave grips the continent.

A ferocious blaze has ripped through the pine forests in the Bordeaux region of France for five days straight, while wildfires in Portugal have killed one person.

The pilot of a firefighting plane died on Friday when his plane crashed on an operation in the northeast of Portugal.

More than 160 people have been injured by the blaze and hundreds have been evacuated from towns this week.

European Union officials issued a warning last week that climate change was behind the extremely dry and hot summer so far on the continent, urging local authorities to brace themselves and residents for wildfires.

Read more here:

Deadly wildfires spread in Portugal, France and Spain as heatwave grips Europe

Police urge to call ambulance only in emergency ahead of heatwave

Saturday 16 July 2022 20:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The public have been urged to call for an ambulance only in an emergency in advance of an expected heatwave in Northern Ireland.

While there is no extreme heat warning in place for the region, it is expected that temperatures could rise to 30C in some areas on Monday.

The record temperature in Northern Ireland was 31.3C in Castlederg in July last year.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it expected an increase in the number of less urgent calls it receives through the 999 system.

A spokesperson said: “To help us protect the most vulnerable we would ask that the public only call if an emergency, but not to hesitate to do so if necessary.

“Before dialling 999 we would ask other options are considered for less serious issues.

“These options might include self-care or advice from other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists.

“We would also ask, in advance, that if possible patients consider self-transport to ED (emergency departments).

“While speaking to our control staff, the caller may also be asked at that stage if it is possible to transport the patient by other means with the aim of getting them to definitive care quicker when resources are stretched.”

Red and amber weather warnings issued for Britain next week

Saturday 16 July 2022 20:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Red and amber extreme heat warnings have been issued ahead of the scorching over the next few days, where record-breaking temperatures of 40C are expected in some parts of the UK.

Health sec urges public to look out for the vulnerable

Saturday 16 July 2022 19:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Health secretary Steve Barclay has urged the public to look out for the vulnerable and elderly ahead of the extreme weather next week.

Mr Barclay said: “The clear message to the public is to take sensible steps in terms of water, shade and cover. That’s the best way of mitigating against the heat.

“We’re asking people to keep an eye out for their neighbours and those who may be vulnerable.”

Second emergency Cobra meeting held as 40C heat looms and millions urged to work from home

Saturday 16 July 2022 19:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Millions have been urged to work from home during the peak of the heatwave next week as temperatures hit up to 40C.

The extreme heat, which is set to peak on Tuesday with record-breaking temperatures, prompted the Met Office to issue a red ‘danger to life’ warning.

Transport for London (TfL) is advising passengers to only travel for “essential journeys”.

Read more here:

Second Cobra meeting held as 40C heat looms and millions urged to work from home

Transport services to face ‘significant disruption’ next week

Saturday 16 July 2022 19:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Cabinet office minister Kit Malthouse has warned transport services face “significant disruption” due to the heatwave as he urged people to avoid travelling on Monday and Tuesday.

After chairing a meeting of the government’s Cobra committee, Mr Malthouse told the BBC: “Obviously the transport providers are messaging people that they should only travel if they really need to on Monday and Tuesday.

“Services are going to be significantly affected. The heat will affect rails, for example, so the trains have to run slower. There may be fewer services. People need to be on their guard for disruption.

“If they don’t have to travel, this may be a moment to work from home.”

Mr Malthouse said steps have been taken to ensure hospitals and ambulances that may come under pressure were prepared, while schools were being issued with guidance to enable them to remain open.

Firefighters attacked with golf balls as they tackle ‘deliberate’ blaze at nature reserve

Saturday 16 July 2022 18:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Firefighters have been attacked with golf balls while putting out a “deliberate” blaze at a nature reserve.

Crews spent more than three hours tackling the fire at Oak Tree Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire on Friday evening.

They managed to extinguish it shortly before 10pm and stop it from spreading to a nearby leisure centre.

Zoe Tidman reports:

Firefighters attacked as they tackle ‘deliberate’ blaze at nature reserve

Police issue warning over wildfires on moorland near Manchester

Saturday 16 July 2022 17:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Police have issued a warning ahead of the coming heatwave after a series of wildfires on moorland near Manchester which they now believe were started deliberately.

The blaze began last weekend and swept across part of Saddleworth Moor near a car park close to the Dovestone reservoir.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say a joint investigation with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has, so far, established that there were five seats of fire with traces of accelerant found at three of the seats.

Superintendent Phillip Hutchinson, of GMP Oldham district, said: “Inquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible for starting these fires which could have had a devastating impact on the land, the wildlife and residents who live in the surrounding area.

Europe to get hotter with ‘exceptional temperatures’

Saturday 16 July 2022 17:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Met Office has warned western Europe will only get hotter as “exceptional temperatures” are expected.

Portugal set a new record on Thursday this week as temperatures reached 47C.

UK heatwave: Schools to close early on Monday as extreme temperatures warned

Saturday 16 July 2022 16:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Schools have decided to send children home early on Monday and Tuesday following an extreme heat warning for early next week.

For most schools in England, the week beginning 18 July is the last few days of classes before the summer holidays begin.

However, due to the scorching weather, a growing number of schools have announced they will be finishing the final days of the academic year early to protect both students and staff.

UK heatwave: Schools to close early on Monday as extreme temperatures warned

Boris Johnson ‘partying while Britain boils'

Saturday 16 July 2022 15:47 , Zoe Tidman

Labour’s Angela Rayner has said Boris Johnson is “partying while Britain boils” after it emerged he would be missing an emergency Cobra meeting over the heatwave today:

More scenes from Margate beach

Saturday 16 July 2022 15:26 , Zoe Tidman

Some more pictures from Britain’s beaches today:

Britain basked in scorching temperatures on Saturday (Getty Images)
Britain basked in scorching temperatures on Saturday (Getty Images)
Families went to the beach to bask in the sunshine on Saturday (Getty Images)
Families went to the beach to bask in the sunshine on Saturday (Getty Images)
People flocked to Margate beach on Saturday (Getty Images)
People flocked to Margate beach on Saturday (Getty Images)

‘Abundant sunshine’ clear from space view

Saturday 16 July 2022 14:43 , Zoe Tidman

Here is the view of the UK from space today, which shows “abundant sunshine” across much of the country:

Government not telling schools to shut

Saturday 16 July 2022 13:40 , Zoe Tidman

The new education secretary says the government is not telling schools to close during the heatwave.

“We trust headteachers to use their judgement and ensure everyone is kept safe,” he tweeted this afternoon:

Boris Johnson ‘skips heatwave Cobra meeting for party'

Saturday 16 July 2022 13:39 , Zoe Tidman

Boris Johnson is skipping a crisis meeting on the looming life-threatening heatwave to host a party at his luxury Chequers rural retreat.

Rob Merrick, our deputy political editor, reports:

Boris Johnson skips heatwave crisis meeting to ‘host Chequers party’

Britons hit the beach

Saturday 16 July 2022 13:15 , Zoe Tidman

Britons have been flocking to beaches as temperatures hit the high 20s today.

Here are some pictures:

Much of the country saw temperatures in the high 20s on Saturday (Getty Images)
Much of the country saw temperatures in the high 20s on Saturday (Getty Images)
Britons packed the beach at Margate on Saturday (Getty Images)
Britons packed the beach at Margate on Saturday (Getty Images)

Saturday afternoon ‘dry and very warm'

Saturday 16 July 2022 11:48 , Zoe Tidman

Here is the Met Office latest on the afternoon forecast:

‘Only travel is essential’ start of next week, TfL says

Saturday 16 July 2022 11:08 , Zoe Tidman

TfL has now tweeted:

Another Cobra meeting over heatwave

Saturday 16 July 2022 10:10 , Zoe Tidman

There will be another Cobra meeting this afternoon.

A government spokesperson says Kit Malthouse, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, will be chairing it.

TfL urges Londoners to avoid travel at the start of next week

Saturday 16 July 2022 08:55 , Zoe Tidman

Expected extreme temperatures have prompted Londoners to be urged against travelling on Monday and Tuesday.

Transport for London (TfL) is advising passengers to only travel for “essential journeys” due to the “exceptionally hot weather”.

Andy Lord, its chief operating officer, said the network was expecting temporary speed restrictions to affect services, so those who need to travel should check before they set off.

“It is also vital that customers always carry water at all times with them when travelling,” he added.

Firefighters say don’t swim in open water

Saturday 16 July 2022 08:48 , Zoe Tidman

Firefighters are warning people to be keep out of open water during the heat:

Saturday’s forecast

Saturday 16 July 2022 08:14 , Zoe Tidman

What is the Met Office saying about the weather today? Let’s take a look:

What is a national heatwave emergency?

Saturday 16 July 2022 07:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The UK has declared its first Level 4 national heatwave emergency as forecasters warn temperatures could reach 40C next week.

Government officials have been meeting regularly to assess the impact of the heatwave blasting Britain, and made announcement for a Level 4 warning on Friday.

It comes as the Met Office issued a rare red warning for many parts of England which means the extreme weather could lead to “serious illness or danger to life”

.It means that “exceptional, perhaps record-breaking, temperatures” are likely on Monday, then again on Tuesday.

Saphora Smith explains.

All you need to know about national heatwave emergency

‘Some showery rain' predicted for part of Northern Ireland and Scotland

Saturday 16 July 2022 06:26 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland could get respite with “some showery rain” predicted by the Met Office for Saturday.

Police brace for UK crime rise linked to heatwave

Saturday 16 July 2022 05:50 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Police are bracing for a spike in crime across Britain linked to the ongoing heatwave and the cost of living crisis.

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) have been urging forces to make preparations for expected increases in vandalism, fights, theft, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Calls to 999 and 101 are already said to be “going through the roof” across the country, without any clear cause.

Festus Akinbusoye, the PCC for Bedfordshire, told a press conference in London: “I think this summer will pose challenges for police because it is the first proper summer in three years out of any sort of lockdown.

“If it continues to be this hot, that’s another challenge and the trifecta that adds to that is the cost of living. Having that combination could potentially create a challenging and demanding time for policing.”

Lizzie Dearden reports.

Police brace for UK crime rise linked to heatwave

‘This is not that sort of weather’: Met Office chief urges people to stay safe

Saturday 16 July 2022 05:01 , Andy Gregory

Met Office chief executive Penny Endersby has released an urgent plea to people in the UK not to take the extreme heat next week lightly.

Calling the forecasts “absolutely unprecedented”, she said: “We’ve seen when climate change has driven such unprecedented severe weather events all around the world, it can be difficult for people to make the best decisions in these situations because nothing in their life experience has led them to know what to expect.

“Here in the UK we’re used to treating a hot spell as a chance to go and play in the sun. This is not that sort of weather. Our lifestyles and our infrastructure is not adapted to what is coming.”

Government ‘asleep at the wheel’ on extreme weather, Labour says

Saturday 16 July 2022 04:48 , Andy Gregory

Labour has accused ministers of being “asleep at the wheel”, calling for guidance on “safe indoor working temperatures”, my colleague Simon Murphy reports.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Ministers have gone missing in action when we need a real plan properly communicated on the delivery of essential services and how people will be kept safe.”

Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse chaired a Cobra emergency committee meeting on Thursday to discuss the heatwave and will hold a further ministerial Cobra on Saturday.

Downing Street said officials would continue to meet over the weekend and that “the prime minister is kept up to date with all the latest information”.

Heat records could be broken in Scotland and Wales, Met Office says

Saturday 16 July 2022 02:41 , Andy Gregory

While England will see the hottest temperatures, other parts of the UK face potentially record-breaking temperatures.

Steven Keates, a Met Office meteorologist, told The Independent: “For Wales, I would say the hottest day, probably for the bulk of Wales … will be Monday. I would think 35[C] is possible, which will be very close to the Welsh all-time record of 35.2 [C] so that record is under threat.

“For Northern Ireland, I think the hottest day will be Monday … 30[C] I’d say for Northern Ireland, they’re not quite getting the extreme heat but still… hot enough, to be fair.

“And then, for Scotland, probably the hottest weather will be Tuesday, particularly in the south of the country where 32, 33[C] is possible so that will challenge the all-time Scotland record as well – so that’s 32.9[C].”

Our chief reporter Simon Murphy has the full story here.

Met Office forecast shows 40C heat in UK for first time

Saturday 16 July 2022 01:36 , Andy Gregory

Here is the extraordinary weather forecast from the Met Office showing predictions of 40C heat for the first time in history:

Sporting events cancelled ahead of hottest days of heatwave

Saturday 16 July 2022 00:30 , Andy Gregory

Several sporting events due to have been held on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled due to the extreme and likely record-breaking heat that has been forecast.

The British Horseracing Authority has announced that Monday’s meetings at Beverley and Windsor and Tuesday’s fixtures at Chelmsford, Southwell and Wolverhampton have been called off due to the extreme heat warning.

Tuesday’s 2022 Standard Chartered Great City Race, which was due to see more than 5,000 people complete a 5k route in the City of London, has been postponed due to the forecast high temperatures, London Marathon Events said.

Climate crisis ‘is driven by the wealthy’, Labour MP says

Friday 15 July 2022 23:40 , Andy Gregory

Climate breakdown is a crisis “driven by the wealthy”, Labour MP Richard Burgon has said.

The Corbyn-era shadow minister referred to research published by Oxfam in 2020, as he tweeted:

Nearly 190 people injured in Portugal wildfires

Friday 15 July 2022 22:40 , Andy Gregory

Here are some images of the efforts to contain wildfires in Portugal, where 187 people have been injured and hundreds more evacuated in the past week, according to the country’s emergency’ civil protection commander, André Fernandes.

A firefighter fights the flames surrounding Ancede village during a wildfire in the municipality of Baiao (EPA/Hugo Delgado)
A firefighter fights the flames surrounding Ancede village during a wildfire in the municipality of Baiao (EPA/Hugo Delgado)
 (EPA/Hugo Delgado)
(EPA/Hugo Delgado)
 (EPA/Hugo Delgado)
(EPA/Hugo Delgado)

UK saw 1,600 excess deaths during less severe heatwaves last year, official says

Friday 15 July 2022 21:40 , Andy Gregory

There were more than 1,600 excess deaths last year during two short periods of heatwave which were cooler than the temperatures forecast next week, a senior health official has said.

The source told the Press Association that they “expect” to see excess deaths but that these are “avoidable” if people take simple action to keep cool.

40C heat ‘shows that climate change is with us now’, Met Office says

Friday 15 July 2022 21:01 , Andy Gregory

With the Met Office now forecasting a one in two chance that temperatures will hit 40C next week, spokesman Grahame Madge said this would be a “historic event” – albeit a “very serious” one.

“If we get to 40C that’s a very iconic threshold and shows that climate change is with us now,” he said.

“This is made much more likely because of climate change.”

UK railways ‘simply not engineered’ to cope with extreme heat

Friday 15 July 2022 20:11 , Andy Gregory

Britain’s railways are “simply not engineered” to cope with the levels of heat expected next week, an expert has warned, as plans are put in place to reduce the chances of tracks buckling.

Network Rail route director Gary Walsh said: “The railway in this country is simply not engineered to run normally in such extreme temperatures.

“We’ve got extra teams out around the route, ready to respond to any incidents, but with temperatures set to break all records, we need to also reduce the speed at which trains can run.

“This reduces the risk of tracks buckling in the heat and also means that when the overhead line expands it won’t get tangled on passing trains.”

Network Rail, which operates 20,000 miles of track across the UK, advised people in England and Wales only to travel “where necessary” and said that journeys would take “considerably more time”.

Motorists urge to take care in ‘mobile microwaves’ as heat set to cause more breakdowns

Friday 15 July 2022 19:24 , Andy Gregory

The searing temperatures next week could cause up to 20 per cent more motoring breakdowns compared with the average for July, the RAC has warned.

An expected rise in drivers flocking to coastal locations to soak up the sunshine this weekend is also likely to lead to traffic queues, the RAC said.

And the AA cautioned that cars could feel like “mobile microwaves” and urged motorists to prepare for hot journeys by packing snacks, medication and water, and ensure pets and children are not left in passenger seats.

The firm advised motorists to set off for work early, when temperatures are cooler, to reduce the chances of their engine overheating, which is the most common cause of breakdowns in hot weather.

Drivers should also check their vehicle’s cooling system with a mechanic, particularly owners of older cars, according to the AA.

Climate emergency ‘is right here, right now’, Caroline Lucas says

Friday 15 July 2022 18:40 , Andy Gregory

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has warned that the “climate emergency is right here, right now”, as she urged to government to take action.

Glass-fronted parliament building to close due to heat

Friday 15 July 2022 18:09 , Andy Gregory

Part of a glass-fronted parliament building will close as the building becomes too hot for government workers.

The Home Office helpdesk in Portcullis House – where MPs are able to raise issues such as immigration and passport delays – will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, peers were told.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle raised concerns as the House of Lords debated the Healthy Homes Bill – which sets out a series of principles including that all new homes must be designed to provide “year-round thermal comfort for inhabitants”.

The Green Party peer said: “I want to bring us very close to home and point out to noble Lords that on Monday and Tuesday in Portcullis House the Home Office service office in Portcullis House will be closed because it is expected to be so hot that it won’t be safe for people to work there.

“If we want a metaphor for the unfitness of our current politics and of everything we have delivered for our society, there, in a nutshell – or in a glass-shelled office – is your metaphor.”

A view of Portcullis House from across the Thames (Nick Ansell/PA)
A view of Portcullis House from across the Thames (Nick Ansell/PA)

Snake owners urged to be ‘extra vigilant’ as heat heightens chance of escapes

Friday 15 July 2022 17:26 , Andy Gregory

Snake owners have been advised by the RSPCA to be “extra vigilant” as hot weather can make the reptiles very active and more likely to escape, the RSPCA .

Last year the animal charity received 1,219 reports about pet snakes in need of help, with an average of six calls per day during the hottest months of the year – June, July and August.

RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “Snakes are excellent escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door or a loose-fitting lid to make a break for it.

“We would urge all pet snake owners to be extra vigilant at this time of year, invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and make sure that enclosure is kept secure – and locked if necessary – when unattended.”

The charity has recommended snake owners pay close attention and practise caution when taking their pet outside to take advantage of the natural sunlight. While sunlight is good for reptiles, the charity has urged owners to ensure their pet is kept secure when doing so as they can get hot and move very quickly.

Snakes are excellent escape artists (RSPCA/PA)
Snakes are excellent escape artists (RSPCA/PA)

Schools announce closures in response to heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 16:53 , Andy Gregory

Schools are considering closures on Monday and Tuesday next week in order to ensure the safety of staff and pupils during the extreme heat.

Dr Challoner’s High School in Buckinghamshire, the Costello School in Hampshire, the Altwood Church of England School in Maidenhead, and Three Rivers Academy in Surrey have all already decided to close.

Marlbrook, Little Dewchurch and St Martin’s Primary School in Herefordshire will give parents the option to choose whether their children go in on Monday.

Motorists advised to make journeys outside of hottest periods of heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 16:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Motorists have been advised to try to make their journeys outside of the hottest periods of the day, particularly if they have older cars.

Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, said: “There are reports of road gritters being out this weekend to reduce the chances of our roads melting.

“If it does get sticky on the roads there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a jam with the mercury rising, so make sure you carry plenty of water - at least a litre per person - and sufficient fuel, or if you’re driving an electric vehicle (EV) - make sure you have plenty of charge so you can use the air-conditioning when needed.”

Devastating wildfires sparked by European heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 15:54 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Heatwaves in Europe have been causing devastating wildfires. Here are the latest photos from a severe blaze in southeastern France.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Network Rail advises people to travel only if necessary

Friday 15 July 2022 15:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Network Rail has warned people to travel only if absolutely necessary amid the high temperatures forecast on Monday and Tuesday, with speed restrictions and disruption likely.

Jake Kelly, Network Rail’s System Operator group director, said: “Rail passengers in England and Wales should only travel if necessary on Monday and Tuesday as there will be delays and cancellations to train services due to the unprecedented heat we’re expecting.

“The wellbeing of our passengers is our first priority so we’re asking all passengers who decide to travel to take time to prepare before leaving the house.

“Remember to bring a water bottle with you, along with whatever else you need to keep yourself well in the heat.

“Water bottles can be refilled for free at most Network Rail’s managed stations.

“Journeys will take significantly longer and delays are likely as speed restrictions are introduced to keep passengers and railway staff safe, so make sure to allow considerably more time to complete your journey and be prepared for very hot conditions.”

What is a red weather warning? Met Office alert explained

Friday 15 July 2022 14:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

As the UK braces for summer temperatures approaching 40C, the Met Office has issued its first ever red warning for large parts of England on Monday and Tuesday, cautioning the public that the heat is likely to be so severe that it could cause “serious illness or danger to life”.

The UK Health Security Agency has likewise declared a Level 4 national emergency, its equivalent notification, warning that the high temperatures could mean “illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy”.

Joe Sommerlad has more:

What is a red weather warning? Met Office alert explained

Hospital cancels surgeries due to ‘significant heatwave pressures’

Friday 15 July 2022 14:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Hospital surgeries have made the decision to cancel surgeries due to “very high temperatures”.

Joe Harrison, CEO of Milton Keynes University Hospital, said: “We have taken the decision to stand down routine outpatient appointments & surgery on Monday & Tuesday because many of patients travelling to these appointments are frail & at increased risk, & due to the unpredictable nature of very high temperatures on demand for emergency care & on care environment.

“We will do all we can to keep wards & departments as cool as possible, but we know this will be a challenge given the very high outside temperature.

“We have solid plans & contingency plans in place & will keep social media channels & our website updated with any changing info.”

Heatwave travel: Train speeds affected as UK braces for record temperatures

Friday 15 July 2022 14:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

As rail passengers prepare for weeks of industrial action by train staff, travellers are being warned to expect longer journeys during the impending heatwave.

Forecasters say the temperature in parts of England could reach 40C for the first time on Monday or Tuesday. A Met Office red warning applies for a patch of the nation from south of London to Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Blanket speed limits are expected to be imposed across large parts of the railway network, writes our travel correspondent Simon Calder.

As UK braces for heatwave, train operators warn of possible disruption

Downing Street says PM is ‘kept up to date’ with latest heatwave information

Friday 15 July 2022 14:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Boris Johnson is working at Chequers on Friday where he plans to stay over the weekend, but Downing Street was unable to say whether he will be joining heatwave discussions.

A No 10 spokesman said: “Cobra met yesterday and officials from across government will continue to meet regularly both today and throughout the weekend.”

Asked if the PM is involved, the spokesman said: “As always the prime minister is kept up to date with all the latest information.”

Pressed if he will be joining talks from Chequers, the spokesman added: “He’s kept thoroughly updated on the latest situation.”

Euro 2022 matches in the heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 13:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will be giving advice about Euro 2022 matches being held during the heatwave emergency.

Discussing contingency measures, a No 10 spokesman said: “Another example is DCMS is engaged with sporting sector bodies and the organisations of major events taking place next week, such as the Women’s Euros.”

Asked if it could lead to matches being cancelled, the spokesman said: “I believe it will be more advisory, the organisation of the event is for the organisers, but DCMS will engage with sporting authorities.”

UK heatwave: Schoolboy put in ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts as temperatures soared

Friday 15 July 2022 13:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A schoolboy was put in a ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts to school amidst a national heatwave, his father says.

Harrison Utting, 13, was sent to a special room in Westlands Secondary School in Sittingbourne, Kent for turning up without trousers on Monday morning.

The boy’s father, Terry Utting, criticised the school for its actions as temperatures around the UK continue to rise and weather warnings are put in place.

My colleague Furvah Shah reports:

Schoolboy put in ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts during heatwave

Commons dep speaker advises people to travel with water

Friday 15 July 2022 12:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Early next week, people should, if they are travelling, take water with them, Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans has said.

His comments came as shadow health secretary Wes Streeting raised a point of order in the Commons, saying: “The Met Office has issued a red warning for the first time ever as a result of the heatwave that the country is likely to experience on Monday and Tuesday next week.

“I wonder if you have been given any notice from the Department of Health and Social Care of their intention to make a statement to this House about the health consequences for the public. Not least, given this red warning involves the warning there is very likely to be risk to life and of course the newspapers, the television screens, the airwaves are full of reports of overwhelmed ambulance services and accident emergency departments.

“Given the Secretary of State failed to answer my urgent question on Wednesday, I would have thought the invisible man might make an appearance today to give the public the advice and the reassurance that our public services and our emergency services will be able to cope in light of this emergency.”

Mr Evans said he has been given “no notification” there will be a statement in the Commons from DHSC or any other departments, adding: “It’s timely that he has made that point of order in order that people should take advice because this is unusual circumstances and people should, if they are travelling, take water with them.

“And indeed make sure that there’s plenty of ventilation and if they are feeling unwell, they should seek attention for that.”

Hammersmith Bridge wrapped in silver foil

Friday 15 July 2022 12:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Hammersmith Bridge is wrapped in silver foil to protect it from the heat as temperatures get ready to climb this weekend.

Rail lines may need speed restrictions, No. 10 says

Friday 15 July 2022 12:17 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Downing Street has said speed restrictions on rail lines may be required under contingency plans as temperatures soar next week.”

A No 10 spokesman said discussions with sectors including the NHS will “continue to work closely with all of those sectors over today, through the weekend and into early next week”.

“Specialist teams from Network Rail and TfL (Transport for London) will continue to monitor the impact of high temperatures to try and make sure they can keep services running safely and reliably for customers,” he added.

“It may be the case that speed restrictions are likely to be put in place on some parts of the network next week to manage the hot weather and to avoid any potential damage.

“DfT (Department for Transport) are engaging with port operators and highways agencies, as well as the police, to make sure plans are in place particularly in places where you may see queuing.

UK to declare first Level 4 national emergency over heatwave as 40C possible

Friday 15 July 2022 11:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The UK is set to declare its first ever Level 4 national emergency over a heatwave as temperatures could soar past 40C next week.

The top alert level warns fit and healthy people could fall ill and even die due to the extreme heat.

It is only meant to be declared when a heatwave is “so severe” or “prolonged” that its impacts extend beyond the health sector - which is currently under pressure due to soaring temperatures.

UK to declare first Level 4 national emergency over heatwave as 40C possible

Met Office says temps of 40C would be ‘historic'

Friday 15 July 2022 11:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Met Office spokesperson, Graham Madgem said computer modelling had been “firming up around just how intense the heat will be for Monday and Tuesday, with the emphasis on Tuesday”.

“It’s now considered 80% chance we will see the all-time UK record broken,” Mr Madge said on Friday morning.

“There’s stronger indications now of 50% chance of seeing 40C being observed somewhere in the UK, and most likely that would be within the red warning area for extreme heat.

“Probably the most likely areas to look at would be north of London and up to Lincolnshire, inland.

“Somewhere like Peterborough, Grantham, Sandy, Stevenage, those sorts of areas, A1 corridor.”

He said temperatures reaching 40C would be “historic”.

“If we get to 40C, that’s a very iconic threshold and shows that climate change is with us now,” he said.

“This is made much more likely because of climate change.”

First ever red warning for extreme heat issued

Friday 15 July 2022 11:28 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Met Office has issued its first ever red warning for extreme heat, as it warned of a “potentially very serious situation”.

Grahame Madge, Met Office spokesman, said: “We’ve just issued a red warning for extreme heat for Monday and Tuesday which is the first such warning ever issued.

“The warning covers an area from London up to Manchester and then up to the Vale of York.

“This is potentially a very serious situation.”

Climate breakdown makes heat of 40C in UK ‘10 times more likely'

Friday 15 July 2022 19:37 , Andy Gregory

The breakdown of our climate means that the UK is now 10 times more likely to see heat of 40C than it would be otherwise, according to a Met Office scientist.

Dr Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, said: “We hoped we wouldn’t get to this situation but for the first time ever we are forecasting greater than 40°C in the UK.”

“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK. The chances of seeing 40C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.”

Our chief reporter Simon Murphy has this comprehensive report of today’s extraordinary weather news:

Millions braced for record-breaking heat amid ‘national emergency’

What is a national heatwave emergency and what might that look like?

Friday 15 July 2022 11:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A national emergency is declared when a heatwave is so severe and, or prolonged that its impacts extend beyond the health sector, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Transport, food and businesses could also be affected and it could cause power or water shortages, according to the agency whose job it is to protect the population from health threats.

A national emergency could also be declared when the “integrity of the health and social care systems is threatened”, it added.

Our climate correspondent Saphora Smith has more:

All you need to know about national heatwave emergency and what it might look like

UK on red alert as Met Office issues warning of ‘exceptional hot spell’ on Monday and Tuesday

Friday 15 July 2022 10:51 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Met Office has issued its first extreme heat weather warning covering much of England, warning of an “exceptional hot spell on Monday and Tuesday leading to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure.”

Follow for the latest updates here:

UK on red alert as Met Office issues warning for Monday and Tuesday

Met Office issues red 'danger to life' extreme heat warning

Friday 15 July 2022 10:47 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Met Office has issued a rare Red Warning for many parts of England which means the extreme weather could lead to “serious illness or danger to life”.

This means that “exceptional, perhaps record-breaking, temperatures” are likely on Monday, then again on Tuesday.

The Met Office said that nights are also likely to be “exceptionally warm for the UK, especially in urban areas”.

“This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure,” the forecaster said.

 (Met Office)
(Met Office)

11 best fans that make keeping cool a breeze this summer

Friday 15 July 2022 10:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

IndyBest spent hours experimenting with timers, speed controls and wind options.

“We tested our fans in different rooms, using various modes and in several positions to ensure we gained a thorough appreciation of each fan’s features and cooling ability, not only when we’d activated the oscillating functions but when left in a static position. The result? We’ve never felt cooler, and we now consider ourselves experts in the art of air conditioning.”

Find out the best fans to keep you cool this heatwave:

The fans that make keeping cool a breeze this summer

Friday 15 July 2022 09:59 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

With heatwave, heat health alerts and extreme heat warnings floating around, it is easy to get confused about what each means.

The Met Office has posted a simple definition for each.

You can also read our explainer here:

What is a heatwave?

How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Friday 15 July 2022 09:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

According to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep expert at Silentnight, the optimal bedroom temperature for sleeping is between 16C and 21C, and your brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body.

“A good night’s sleep is important in order to process information throughout the day as well as to repair and re-balance the body physically and mentally,” Ramlakhan tells The Independent.

“Ideally, in order for us to sleep well, there needs to be a fractional temperature difference between our body and our brain – a warm body and a cool head!”

Read more to see how you can stay cool during the hot nights:

How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts

Dogs Trust share guidance on how to keep pets safe in the heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 09:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, has posted advice on how to keep pets safe during extreme heat.

How hot does it have to be to shut schools?

Friday 15 July 2022 08:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

While temperatures soar into the 30s and the country braces for delays, closures and cancellations while travelling by road, rail and air, schools are set to remain open.

So how hot does it have to be for schools to close?

According to the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), schools must follow the same health and safety laws for indoor temperatures as workplaces.

Find out all the details here:

How hot does it have to be to shut schools?

A pleasant Friday before temperature heats up this weekend

Friday 15 July 2022 08:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Friday will begin with outbreaks of showery rain moving south-east across northern and central areas of the UK.

Meanwhile, people in the south and south west can expect warm sunshine.

London is forecast to experience 26C on Friday, while 23C is predicted for Cardiff, 20C in Belfast and 19C in Edinburgh.

Girl ‘came home crying and sick’ after doing PE in heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 07:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A nine-year-old girl was left in tears and vomited after doing a PE lesson in this week’s heatwave, according to her mother.

Collette Elliott told The Independent her daughter, Codey, passed out within half an hour of returning home poorly from school on Monday.

She said she was “fuming” after being told primary school pupils had been left to decide for themselves whether to sit out PE in the heat.

Zoe Tidman has more:

Girl ‘came home crying and sick’ after doing PE in heatwave

Schools to send students home early due to heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 07:07 , Namita Singh

Schools have decided to send children home early as the Met Office has warned against extreme heat next week.

“We are also giving parents the option to keep children at home on Monday,” said a letter to parents at Marlbrook, Little Dewchurch and St Martin’s Primary School, reported the Telegraph.

“Already, many classrooms are very hot, even with fans, and students are struggling to keep cool, drink enough water and maintain concentration in lessons,” the head teacher of Clapton Girls’ Academy informed parents in a letter as the school decided to send pupils home by 12.30pm on Monday and Tuesday.

The struggle of differently abled during heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 06:48 , Namita Singh

As the UK bakes with the extreme heatwave, it is causing more challenges for those with disabilities.

BBC’s Access All podcast presenter Emma Tracey, who has been blind since birth, tells the public broadcaster that though the heat doesn’t directly affect her, it is tough to protect herself from the sun’s rays when she wants to get out and about.

She does not “wear sunglasses because they dim my light perception”, she says, adding: “I normally look at the darkness of objects either side of me to keep myself in a straight line, that’s less easy with sunglasses on.”

She is also dependent on echolocation - listening to sounds bouncing off nearby hard surfaces to judge her spatial location. But to be able to do that, she has to do away with hats, another vital sun protection, as they “mess up” her sound shadows.

A university graduate poses for photos on the heat-scorched earth of Parliament Square on 13 July 2022 in London, England (Getty Images)
A university graduate poses for photos on the heat-scorched earth of Parliament Square on 13 July 2022 in London, England (Getty Images)

“I don’t wear a hat because it messes up my sound shadows. When I wear a sunhat, with a brim or a peak, that changes the sounds I hear and makes it more difficult to get the information I need from my surroundings,” she says.

Those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are also finding it hard to cope with the heatwave.

While MS thwarts brain signals from reaching other parts of body, they are further disrupted as temperatures rises.

“For many people, their symptoms get worse - balance, fatigue and changes to vision - which can be difficult to deal with,” says Dr Sarah Rawlings from the MS Society.

How to stay cool in a heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 06:35 , Namita Singh

An unprecedented heatwave has hit the UK, with the Met Office saying the heat could rise above 40C, breaking the record of Britain’s hottest ever temperature of 38.7C, measured in Cambridge in 2019.

The NHS has published some guidelines to help people struggling with the heat, suggesting staying indoors between 11am and 3pm, and closing the curtains on rooms that face the sun.

People who need to go to the office should walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and drink plenty of fluids, the health service said.

Climate change means UK’s heat record could be broken less than three years after it was set

Friday 15 July 2022 06:15 , Namita Singh

For 80 years, the summer of 1911 held the record as the hottest in the UK after temperatures peaked at 36.7C on 9 August in Raunds in Northamptonshire.

Deaths increased, with The Times writing a regular column on Deaths from Heat, while water supplies were cut off for several hours each day in cities such as Manchester and Bradford. Factory and mill workers were laid off due to water shortages and parched land for grazing led to an increase in the price of milk.

Decades later, the record was eventually broken in the summer of 1990 when the maximum temperature reached 37.1C in the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham. Since then, the 1911 record of 36.7C has been met or exceeded four times, and a further two highest temperature records have been set.

“High-temperature records are being reached or exceeded more frequently, and we’re repeatedly exceeding temperatures from extreme heatwaves from our past,” said Mark McCarthy, a climate scientist at the Met Office.

“This is a consequence of human-induced climate change which is warming the climate of the UK, Europe and the world.”

As Britain swelters once again, climate scientists have repeatedly said that heatwaves are becoming more frequent, longer and hotter due to climate change, reports my colleague Saphora Smith:

Climate change means UK’s heat record could be broken

Climate change mean UK’s heat record could be broken less than three years after it was set

Friday 15 July 2022 05:55 , Namita Singh

Avanti West Coast warned passengers of major disruption, advising those travelling between London Euston and Scotland to plan ahead due to the impact of heat on rail lines.

The company tweeted on Thursday that services may be cancelled on short notice on Saturday and Sunday.

It also warned that services on Monday and Tuesday will be subject to amended timetables and extended journey times.

Steel rails absorb heat easily and tend to hover around 20 degrees above the surrounding air temperature, according to Network Rail.

With temperatures as high as 37C (98F) expected in London early next week, the hot weather - particularly direct sunlight - could cause track temperatures to reach up to 50C.

In such conditions, rails can bend, flex and, in some cases, buckle from the heat.

Trains, therefore, run at slower speeds in extremely hot weather to put less strain on the rails.

A train passes through heat haze on a railway line near Ashford in Kent (PA)
A train passes through heat haze on a railway line near Ashford in Kent (PA)

Network Rail’s west coast south route director James Dean said: “Keeping passengers moving is always our top priority. But we want people to be prepared.”

If the soaring temperatures do lead to us having to put in place slower speeds for safety reasons, please bear with us while our engineers work to fix the problem. It may mean some journeys take longer.

For those who must travel by rail, we’d remind people to carry some water with them so they can stay hydrated and always check before travelling so they know exactly what to expect.

James Dean

Look out for people vulnerable in heat: Kit Malthouse

Friday 15 July 2022 05:15 , Namita Singh

Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse urged the public to look out for people who are particularly vulnerable in the heat.

“The key thing we can do is prepare the government services for what may be a surge in demand – not least the health service and elsewhere – but also critically communicate that the first line of defence is actually individual behavioural change,” he said.

“People need to take care, do all the stuff they would do when it is very hot – wear a hat, drink water – but critically also (with) the most vulnerable groups – the elderly, those with cardiovascular problems and the very young – that people look out for them and take care.

“We are asking people if they have an elderly neighbour, particularly if they live alone, it would be a neighbourly thing to check up on them and make sure they are looking after themselves and have access to water.

“The current forecast is that we will be in the mid to high-30s but there is a smaller possibility that we could exceed that and possibly hit 40 which would be an all-time record.”

My colleague Alastair Jamieson reports:

Heatwave rail disruption warning as NHS is braced for demand ‘surge’

Hospital and train services to face pressure from heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 04:55 , Namita Singh

Hospital and train services are under pressure from the heat, with the NHS facing a “surge” in demand from heat-related admissions, and Avanti West Coast has warned their services may be cancelled at the last minute.

Avanti West Coast has warned passengers who wish to use services between London Euston and Scotland to plan ahead due to the impact of the heat on rail lines.

Store manager Evan Shahriar with Donny the Labradoodle in the ‘chill-out zone’ of an Iceland supermarket in Islington, a seating area in the freezer aisle designed to help customers cool down during the current heatwave (PA)
Store manager Evan Shahriar with Donny the Labradoodle in the ‘chill-out zone’ of an Iceland supermarket in Islington, a seating area in the freezer aisle designed to help customers cool down during the current heatwave (PA)

The company said that weekend services may be cancelled at short notice while journeys on Monday and Tuesday will be subject to amended timetables.

Mercury expected to soar by another 10C

Friday 15 July 2022 04:35 , Namita Singh

Temperatures are set to rise by another 10C in much of England over the coming days, increasing the strain on hospital and train services.

On average, the mercury will remain in the mid-20s for the last working day of the week, before rising to around 35C in southern, central and eastern areas of England by Tuesday.

The Met Office has issued an “amber” extreme heat warning for much of England and Wales from Sunday until Tuesday.

Paddle boarders on Bristol Harbourside (PA)
Paddle boarders on Bristol Harbourside (PA)

Tuesday is likely to be the hottest day, with the potential to top the UK record temperature of 38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019, forecasters said.

The warning says the weather could cause health problems across the population, not just among people vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potentially serious illness or danger to life.

Friday will begin with outbreaks of showery rain moving southeast across northern and central areas of the UK.

Meanwhile, people in the south and southwest can expect warm sunshine.

London is forecast to experience 26C on Friday, while 23C is predicted for Cardiff, 20C in Belfast and 19C in Edinburgh.

Saturday is also set to start with overcast skies and scattered showers in northern areas, before turning dry across the nation as extreme heat moves in.

During the peak of the heatwave on Tuesday, 36C is predicted in the capital, 28C in Cardiff, 26C in Belfast and 25C in Edinburgh.

Government anticipates further strain on NHS

Friday 15 July 2022 03:16 , Liam James

The government said it was preparing for a surge in demand on the NHS and other services due to a forecast of potentially record-breaking temperatures next week.

After a meeting of the Cobra committee this afternoon, Kit Malthouse, the Cabinet Office minister, urged the public to look out for people who are particularly vulnerable in the heat.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “The key thing we can do is prepare the government services for what may be a surge in demand – not least the health service and elsewhere – but also critically communicate that the first line of defence is actually individual behavioural change.

“People need to take care, do all the stuff they would do when it is very hot – wear a hat, drink water – but critically also [with] the most vulnerable groups – the elderly, those with cardiovascular problems and the very young – that people look out for them and take care.

“We are asking people if they have an elderly neighbour, particularly if they live alone, it would be a neighbourly thing to check up on them and make sure they are looking after themselves and have access to water.

“The current forecast is that we will be in the mid to high-30s but there is a smaller possibility that we could exceed that and possibly hit 40 which would be an all time record.”

Ministers said the NHS was already under winter levels of pressure due to the heat combined with Covid-related staff shortages.

Climate change means UK’s heat record could be broken – less than three years after it was set

Friday 15 July 2022 01:50 , Liam James

For 80 years, the summer of 1911 held the record as the hottest in the UK after temperatures peaked at 36.7C on August 9 in Raunds in Northamptonshire.

Deaths increased, with The Times writing a regular column on Deaths from Heat, while water supplies were cut off for several hours each day in cities such as Manchester and Bradford. Factory and mill workers were laid off due to water shortages and parched land for grazing led to an increase in the price of milk.

Decades later, the record was eventually broken in the summer of 1990 when the maximum temperature reached 37.1C in the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham. Since then, the 1911 36.7C record has been met or exceeded four times, and a further two highest temperature records have been set.

“High-temperature records are being reached or exceeded more frequently, and we’re repeatedly exceeding temperatures from extreme heatwaves from our past,” said Mark McCarthy, a climate scientist at the Met Office.

Saphora Smith, Climate Correspondent, looks ahead to Britain’s warmer years ahead:

Climate change means UK’s heat record could be broken

Gatwick airport runs low on water forcing closure of toilets and restaurants amid heatwave

Friday 15 July 2022 00:40 , Liam James

Gatwick airport ran low on water on Wednesday after a burst pipe disrupted supplies in the middle of a heatwave.

The shortage reportedly left passengers in one terminal with only two working toilets while restaurants were forced to close.

Airport officials apologised said they were handing out bottled water to passengers.

SES Water, which serves the airport and surrounding area, said a burst water main in Shipley Bridge had cut pressure to Gatwick and the nearby towns of Horley and Crawley.

Gatwick airport runs low on water ‘forcing closure of toilets and restaurants’

Friday forecast: Showers up north but warm all over

Thursday 14 July 2022 23:01 , Liam James

Friday is set to be another warm day across Britain though showers are expected in Scotland and the north of England.

The rain will push towards the Midlands towards the end of the morning but by mid-afternoon only Northumberland and parts of Scotland should see rain, the Met Office said.

Southern England and South Wales will see temperatures pushing up to the mid-20s while Scotland and much of northern England will be in the high teens.

Heatwave rail disruption warning as ministers say NHS is braced for ‘surge’

Thursday 14 July 2022 22:23 , Liam James

Train passengers are being warned of major disruption from extreme heat on rail lines as ministers said the NHS was braced for a “surge” in demand (Alastair Jamieson writes).

Avanti West Coast warned passengers who wish to use services between London Euston and Scotland to plan ahead due to the impact of the weather on infrastructure.

The company said services on Saturday and Sunday could be cancelled at short notice.

It also warned that services on Monday July 18 and Tuesday July 19 will be subject to amended timetables and extended journey times.

An emergency Cobra meeting was taking place on Thursday night to discuss how to tackle the heatwave gripping the UK.

Heatwave rail disruption warning as NHS is braced for demand ‘surge’

Running water returns to Isle of Sheppey after days

Thursday 14 July 2022 21:15 , Liam James

Residents of the Isle of Sheppey were set to have running water again today after burst pipes left thousands without water during the hottest week of the year.

Two main pipes to the island off the Kent coast burst on Tuesday, affecting 24,000 homes and shutting 12 schools.

Bottled water points were set up by Southern Water and tankers were brought in to supply Sheppey Community Hospital.

Southern Water issued a statement at 8pm saying the majority of the island should be back in supply after repairs were completed – though residents were told to expect cloudy water and low pressure.

Schoolboy put in ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts as temperatures soared

Thursday 14 July 2022 20:24 , Liam James

A schoolboy was put in a ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts to school amidst a national heatwave, his father says.

Harrison Utting, 13, was sent to a special room in Westlands Secondary School in Sittingbourne, Kent for turning up without trousers on Monday morning.

The boy’s father, Terry Utting, criticised the school for its actions as temperatures around the UK continue to rise and weather warnings are put in place.

The father said his son was put in a pastoral support room which is “like a prison.”

Schoolboy put in ‘prison-like’ isolation room for wearing shorts during heatwave

Rail firm warns of train disruption over coming days

Thursday 14 July 2022 19:48 , Liam James

Avanti West Coast has warned of disruption to major train lines, cancellations at short notice and extended journey times due to the high temperatures expected over the coming days.

The rail operator warned passengers who wish to use services between London Euston and Scotland to plan ahead due to the impact of the heat on rail lines.

Services on Saturday and Sunday may be cancelled at short notice, Avanti said.

It also warned that services on Monday and Tuesday will be subject to amended timetables and extended journey times.

The steel rails used in train tracks absorb heat easily and tend to hover around 20 degrees above the surrounding air temperature, according to Network Rail.

Tips to stay safe during the heatwave

Thursday 14 July 2022 19:10 , Liam James

As the UK braces for soaring temperatures, people are being advised to stay safe with simple measures:

- Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated, particularly older people, those with underlying conditions and people who lie alone.

- Those who do live alone are being encouraged to ask a friend or relative to phone to check they are not have having difficulties during extreme heat.

- Stay cool indoors, by closing curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, and remember it might be cooler outdoors.

- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and avoid too much alcohol.

- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially babies, young children or animals.

- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.

- If you have to go out in the heat, try to walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

- Avoid physical activity in the hottest parts of the day.

- Carry water when travelling.

- Check the latest weather forecast and temperature warnings.

- While going for a swim can be a good way to cool down, people are warned to head for lifeguarded swimming sites, to remember that water is often much colder than it looks, not to go too far from shore or swim against currents, and to always take a friend when swimming.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting