LONDON: Britain’s first-ever extreme heat warning is in effect for large parts of England as authorities prepare for record high temperatures that are already disrupting travel, health care and schools, reports AP.
The “red” alert will last throughout Monday and Tuesday when temperatures may reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time, posing a risk of serious illness and even death among healthy people, according to the UK Met Office, the country’s weather service.
The heat in Britain is reflected across much of Europe, where extreme temperatures and lack of rain are leading to multiple major wildfires in France, Spain and elsewhere.
While Monday is likely to bring record highs to southeastern England, temperatures are expected to rise further as warm air moves north on Tuesday, Met Office CEO Penelope Endersby said.
The extreme heat warning stretches from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north.
“So it’s tomorrow that we’re really seeing the higher chance of 40 degrees and temperatures above that,” Endersby told the BBC. “Forty-one isn’t off the cards. We’ve even got some 43s in the model but we’re hoping it won’t be as high as that.”
Train operators are asking customers not to travel unless absolutely necessary because the heat is likely to warp rails and disrupt power supplies, leading to severe delays.
While some schools have closed, others are setting up wading pools and water sprays to help children cool off.
Nightfall will bring little relief, with the Met Office forecasting temperatures of 29C (84F) at midnight in London.
Monday night will be “very oppressive” and it will be difficult to sleep, Chief Meteorologist Paul Davies said.
“Tomorrow is the day where we are really concerned about a good chance now of hitting 40 or 41C, and with that all the health conditions that come with those higher temperatures,” he said.