Heatwave temperatures could break all-time record – but thunderstorms loom
The Met Office said temperatures could top 38.5C.
With potentially record-breaking high temperatures in the coming days, the Government is being warned it must do more to protect vulnerable people in extreme heat.
The mercury is set to hit 35C on Thursday and rise further to 37C on Friday, triggering a thunderstorm warning into the afternoon.
There is a chance the high temperatures could even beat the all-time UK record of 38.5C, the Met Office said, with the hot weather set to continue into August.
Temperatures look to peak on Thursday and Friday, when some records could well be broken - here at the Met Office, we'll be monitoring things very closely! *worth noting not everywhere will be exceptionally hot... #Heatwaveuk pic.twitter.com/9iCzs0R8wQ— Met Office (@metoffice) July 25, 2018
Met Office spokesman Richard Miles said while it will be a bit cooler and potentially unsettled over the weekend, the hot weather will return next week.
“Temperatures are looking like they’re going to build again towards the end of next week,” he said, adding they could soar into the early 30s again.
The forecaster’s yellow weather warning for torrential downpours, accompanied by hail and strong gusts on Friday afternoon and into the evening, has been extended to cover the south east of England, as well as northern and eastern parts of the country.
A mix of toxic air, extreme highs, emissions from the continent and a lack of cloud cover have caused a “high” air pollution alert to be issued for London.
Air quality alerts will be displayed at bus stops, river piers, on busy roads and at the entrances to London Underground stations on Thursday.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This is the second time in six months that we have had to use the ‘high’ alert system and shows just why air pollution is a public health crisis.”
Children, the elderly and people with lung or heart problems have been advised to reduce strenuous exercise and physical exertion.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been urged to set out what measures he is taking to make sure the NHS can cope with the heatwave.
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said hospitals are facing year-round pressures, saying “the traditional lull in NHS activity during the quieter summer months is a thing of the past”.
Blood supplies have dropped, health officials have said, saying some people have been too dehydrated to donate while others have chosen to stay in the sun.
MPs have warned heat-related deaths will treble by mid-century unless the Government takes action to tackle the dangers of soaring summer temperatures.
Without the Government developing a strategy to protect vulnerable people, such as the elderly, numbers dying from the heat could rise to 7,000 a year by 2050, a report from the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee said.
The committee called on the Government to take action to ensure homes, hospitals, care homes, offices, cities, water supplies and transport networks can cope with rising temperatures.
Scientists have warned that climate change is making such heat extremes more likely, and the report comes as northern Europe swelters in a prolonged heatwave.
Wildfires in Greece have claimed the lives of at least 80 people, including Irishman Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp, who was there on honeymoon.
He and his new wife Zoe Holohan, who is in hospital after suffering burns to her head and hands, had flown to Greece on Saturday following their wedding in Co Meath two days earlier.
An amber “heat health watch” warning remains in place for parts of England, with people being warned to try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
Following the driest first half of summer on record, farming leaders warned crops are being hit and livestock are having to be fed with feed that should be held for winter as grasslands are parched.
The dry spell has been most prolonged in East Anglia and south-east England where the last day of very widespread rainfall was seen on May 29.
Firefighters have urged the public to avoid “careless and reckless” behaviour during the ongoing heatwave as crews across the country deal with a high number of field fires.
The thunderstorms could lead to flooding of homes and businesses, difficult driving conditions and potential power cuts, the Met Office warned.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have been experiencing recent temperatures nearer normal for the time of year.
Paul Gundersen, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the heat, western and northern areas will have pleasantly warm mid 20s Celsius, although across Northern Ireland and western Scotland this may be accompanied by occasionally cloudy skies.”