'Red alert' for the extreme heat wave prompts emergency meeting in the UK

A man enjoys the sun on his boat on the river Thames near Hammersmith in London, Friday, July 15, 2022.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

After issuing the first-ever "red" warning for excessive heat early next week, the British government will conduct an emergency reaction conference on Saturday to prepare for record-breaking high temperatures.

On Friday, officials issued the alert and declared a national emergency due to forecasters' predictions of record temperatures that will put even healthy individuals in danger of severe illness or death.

According to the UK Met Office, temperatures in England may hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time on Monday and Tuesday. In 2019, the British record temperature was 38.7C (101.7F).

Rail passengers and users of the London Underground are warned not to travel unless necessary on Monday and Tuesday. Schools and assisted living facilities have been asked to take measures to safeguard pupils and elderly residents from high temperatures, as children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to the effects of heat.

Andy Lord, chief operating officer of Transport for London, which manages the city's transportation system, said, "Customers who must travel should check ahead of time, as we anticipate temporary speed restrictions will have an impact on Tube and rail services."

Climate change, according to scientists, is increasing the likelihood of extreme heat waves in Britain, a country more commonly associated with dark skies and rain. According to Nikos Christidis, a climate scientist at the Met Office, the likelihood of next week's forecasted temperatures occurring is already ten times greater than an absent human influence.

Christidis stated in a prepared statement, "We had hoped to avoid this situation, but for the first time, we are forecasting temperatures above 40°C in the United Kingdom." Recent research indicates that the likelihood of sweltering days in the United Kingdom has been growing and will continue to do so throughout the century.

The Health Security Agency of the United Kingdom raised its heat alert to "national emergency" status. Concerns about climate change prompted officials to build the first plan to safeguard the population from high heat in 2004 when the warning system was established.

"At this level, illness and death can occur among the fit and healthy, not just those in high-risk groups," stated UKHSA.

The weather alert, which extends from London to Manchester, also warns of potential air and rail travel disruptions, as well as "localized loss of power and other essential services, such as water and mobile phone services."

Earlier in the week, the two agencies issued lower-level warnings as much of the United Kingdom saw above-average temperatures, although colder weather prevailed Thursday and Friday. In the following days, temperatures are anticipated to soar as the system that brought record highs to areas of Europe this week sweeps over Britain.

Professor Hannah Cloke, a natural hazards specialist at the University of Reading, remarked, "Even as a climate scientist who studies this, this is frightening." "This seems genuine. At the beginning of the week, I was concerned that my goldfish would overheat. Now, I fear for my family and my neighbors' survival."

Professor of climate system research at the University of Reading, Nigel Arnell, stated that Britain must prepare for greater hot weather by adapting buildings to withstand intense weather and growing more greenery in urban areas.

Adaptation and resilience must become political priorities, he stated.

Arnell stated, "We cannot continue to deal with extremes in crisis mode."

Publish : 2022-07-16 18:19:00

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