UK has issued its first extreme heat warning as record-breaking temperatures continue to loom

A general view of cracked earth with the houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, more commonly known as Big Ben, seen behind as hot weather continues, in Parliament Square, London, Britain, July 12, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

In the United Kingdom, 40°C temperatures are anticipated for the first time, and the Met Office has issued the first-ever Red alert for extreme heat.

Beginning early next week, a significant portion of England is predicted to experience extreme heat, with temperatures in some areas perhaps exceeding 40°C.

The Red Extreme heat national severe weather warning will affect portions of central, northern, eastern, and southeastern England on the 18th and 19th of July. Since earlier in the week, and Amber Extreme heat warning has been in effect for most of England and Wales for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (17th – 19th July). Today, the amber zones are being expanded to include Cornwall, West Wales, and portions of southern Scotland.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen stated, "Extreme, possibly record-breaking temperatures are anticipated to occur early next week, pretty broadly across the red alert area on Monday, and more concentrated in the east and north on Tuesday. Currently, there is a 50% possibility that temperatures will exceed 40°C and an 80% likelihood that a new maximum temperature will be attained.

"Nights will likely be unusually warm, particularly in urban areas. This will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is essential that individuals prepare for the heat and consider altering their activities. This degree of heat can have negative impacts on health."

The rise in warning level to red coincides with the UK Health Security Agency's elevation of the existing Heat Health Warning to Level 4 for England.

The high pressure near the southern half of the United Kingdom, which has been responsible for the mild weather this week, continues to predominate, bringing primarily dry and clear weather over most of the country. On the weekend, however, a growing southerly flow will allow the high temperatures currently accumulating across Europe to begin to move northward into the United Kingdom. In a few northern and eastern regions of Scotland, temperatures could reach much above their seasonal normal in the upper 20s.

Will we experience unprecedented heat?

This is the first time 40°C has been predicted for the United Kingdom. The current high temperature in the United Kingdom is 38.7 degrees Celsius, recorded in Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019.

Multiple weather forecast models let us evaluate the likelihood of a given occurrence occurring and estimate the inherent degree of uncertainty in weather forecasting. Some forecasts now predict a 50 percent likelihood of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in isolated regions of the United Kingdom at the start of next week. There is an 80% possibility that we will break the current record for temperatures in the mid to high 30s Celsius.

What occurs following Tuesday?

As cooler air spreads over the country from the west, it is anticipated that temperatures will begin to approach seasonal norms by the middle of the following week.

You can discover the most up-to-date prediction on our website by following us on Twitter and Facebook and on our mobile app, which is available for iPhone from the App Store and Android from the Google Play store. Maintain a record of current weather alerts on the page for weather warnings.

Is this a result of global warming?

"We had hoped to avoid this situation, but for the first time ever, we are forecasting temperatures above 40°C in the United Kingdom."

Dr. Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, stated, "In a recent study, we found that the likelihood of sweltering days in the United Kingdom has been increasing and will continue to do so throughout the century, with the southeast of England expected to experience the highest temperatures.

"Climate change has already affected the probability of temperature extremes in the United Kingdom. In the current climate, the likelihood of 40°C days in the United Kingdom is up to ten times more likely than in a climate untouched by human activity. The risk of temperatures reaching 40°C anywhere in the United Kingdom in any given year has also been rising rapidly, and even with present commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such extremes could occur every 15 years by 2100."

A recent Met Office analysis indicated that summers with days exceeding 40°C in the United Kingdom have a return time of 100-300 years. However, this can be reduced to 15 years by 2100 if current emission reduction promises are met.

Extreme heat events occur due to changes in global weather patterns and natural climate volatility. However, the increase in frequency, duration, and intensity of these occurrences over the past several decades is linked to the observed global warming and can be attributable to human activities.

In the current climate, the likelihood of 40°C days in the United Kingdom is up to ten times more likely than in an environment untouched by human activity. The risk of topping 40°C in any part of the United Kingdom in a given year has also increased dramatically.

Even though a 1°C increase in background temperature may not appear significant, the subsequent increase in the severity of extreme heat episodes has already been seen. This has extensive and profound repercussions.


The UK Health Security Agency has issued a Level 4 Heat Health Alert for Monday and Tuesday. This alert level is activated when a heatwave is so severe and persistent that its impacts reach beyond the health and social care system. At this level, fit and healthy individuals are susceptible to sickness, not simply high-risk populations.

Dr. Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, stated, "Heat-health alerts have now been issued for most of the country since temperatures are expected to continue continuously high for the remainder of the weekend and the beginning of next week.

"It is crucial to stay hydrated and seek shade whenever possible between 11 am and 3 pm when UV rays are at their greatest.

If you have susceptible family members, acquaintances, or neighbors, ensure they are informed of how to protect themselves from the heat.

Peter Jenkins, Director of Campaigns for Water UK, stated, "Water companies are experiencing a substantial increase in demand due to the extreme heat." We can all contribute to ensuring enough water for everyone by conserving water while staying hydrated and safe.

"Small adjustments made indoors or in the garden can significantly impact our water consumption. Our Water's Worth Saving campaign provides a plethora of simple steps we can all do to preserve this valuable resource, so ensuring its continued availability.

Mel Clarke, Customer Service Director for Operations at National Highways, stated, "It is always vital to plan ahead for your trip, but this is especially true during hot weather. Before leaving, we recommend that everyone inspect their vehicle's tires, coolant, and oil levels."

National Highways offers extra information on driving in hot weather.

The government advises that 999 services should only be utilized in an emergency; for non-emergency health assistance, dial 111.

When the heat approaches, it is essential to take the following precautions:

  • Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Older people, those with underlying conditions, and those who live alone are particularly at risk.
  • If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.
  • Stay cool indoors: Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
  • If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, or animals.
  • Try to stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat if you have to go out in the heat.
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
  • Make sure you take water with you if you are traveling.
  • Check the latest weather forecast and temperature warnings – you can find these on TV, radio, mobile app, or website.
  • During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much-welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice.
Publish : 2022-07-16 09:50:00

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