UK issues “Red Extreme” heat warning, braces for temperature rise

An office worker carries a large fan in central London on July 12, 2022. On Friday, the Met Office issued a red extreme heat warning for parts of the country.

Yui Mok | PA pictures | Getty pictures

The United Kingdom on Friday issued a “Red Extreme” heat warning in which authorities said temperatures could potentially reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) next week.

In a statement, the Met Office said the warning would cover parts of eastern, south-eastern, central and northern England on 18 and 19 July.

“Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely at the beginning of next week, fairly wide over the red warning area on Monday, and focused a little more east and north on Tuesday,” said Paul Gundersen, chief meteorologist at the Meteorologist.

“Currently, there is a 50% chance that we can see temperatures above 40 ° C, and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached,” Gundersen said.

Friday’s new heat warning came on the same day as the UK Health Safety Agency issued a level 4 heat health warning to England. The warning runs between midnight Monday and midnight Wednesday next week.

According to the Met Office, Level 4 refers to a national emergency and occurs “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 the healthy and the healthy, and not just in high-risk groups,” it adds.

People are advised to take a number of steps to cope with the heat. These include:

  • Take care of young children and babies, the elderly and people with underlying health problems.
  • Closing curtains in rooms facing the sun.
  • Attire appropriate to the weather.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • And drink “lots of fluids.”

The UK’s record high temperature is 38.7 degrees Celsius. It was reached on 25 July 2019 in Cambridge.

Parts of the UK have been experiencing unpleasantly hot weather in recent days, with an amber extreme heat warning already issued between 17 and 19 July for a significant part of England and Wales.

“Temperatures are expected to begin to return closer to normal for the season from mid-next week onwards, as cooler air pushes across the country from the west,” the Met Office said.

In January 2022, the World Meteorological Organization said 2021 had been “one of the seven warmest years ever.” WMO based its results on the consolidation of six international data sets.

In a statement at the time, the WMO said global warming and what it called “other long-term climate change trends” were “expected to continue as a result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Back in the UK, Nikos Christidis, climate attribution researcher at the Met Office, said climate change “had already affected the likelihood of extreme temperatures in the UK.”

“The chance of seeing 40 ° C days in the UK can be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence,” Christidis added.

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