UK on course for the hottest day ever

UK on course for the hottest day ever

LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) – Britain was heading for its hottest day ever on Monday with temperatures forecast to reach 40C for the first time, forcing train companies to cancel services and some schools to close while ministers urged the public to stay at home.

Large parts of Europe are baking in a heat wave that has pushed temperatures into the mid-40s Celsius (above 110 Fahrenheit) in some regions, with forest fires raging over arid landscapes in Portugal, Spain and France. read more

The UK government triggered a “national emergency” when temperatures on Monday and Tuesday were forecast to exceed 38.7 C (102F) recorded in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden in 2019.

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At noon, measurements of almost 35C were recorded in the south of England.

“We have a difficult 48 hours on the road,” Kit Malthouse, a minister responsible for government coordination, told BBC radio. He will later chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee.

The national rail network urged passengers not to travel unless necessary, saying some services – including a key route between the north-east of England and London – would not run for parts of Tuesday.

The London Underground network introduced temporary speed limits, which means it would run a reduced service with journeys that took longer than normal. It encouraged commuters to stay at home.

Jake Kelly of Network Rail said he hoped normal operations would resume on Wednesday, when temperatures are forecast to fall, but that it will depend on “the damage the weather does to infrastructure over the next few days”.

HIGH ALERT

The government encouraged schools to stay open, but many had to close earlier than usual, normal uniform requirements were dropped and sports days at the end of the semester were canceled. Some schools were closed and resorted to online lessons in lockdown style.

The public was warned against swimming in open water to cool off, and police in the north-east of England said on Monday that they had found a body believed to be of a 13-year-old boy who got into trouble in a river.

At least one large zoo in Chester said it would close for two days, while London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo said many animals would be able to retreat to “cool zones” and that some exhibits could be closed.

Some factories also brought forward their opening hours, to prevent workers in the hottest jobs, such as welding, from getting sick.

The Health Security Agency (UKHSA) raised the heat health warning to level 4 for England on Monday and Tuesday for the first time ever.

The UK Meteorological Office defines a level 4 warning as a national emergency, to be used when a heat wave “is so severe and / or prolonged that its effects extend beyond the health and social care system. At this level, illness and death can occur among vigorous and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups ».

Met Office said that “significant” changes in work practices and daily routines would be necessary, and there was a high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, which could potentially lead to localized loss of power, water or mobile phone services.

Malthouse said the government was prepared for the extreme weather and would try to learn from it.

“We definitely need to adapt the way we build buildings, the way we operate and look at some of our infrastructure in light of what appears to be an increasing frequency of these types of incidents,” he said.

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Reporting by Kate Holton and Michael Holden; Edited by William Schomberg and Alex Richardson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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