UK weather: Heatwave forces rail firm to warn workers not to travel

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Breaking Travel News:

Blazing hot Britain! Searing heatwave forces rail firm to warn workers NOT to travel over fears of buckling rails in 97F heat after night of storms – but UK faces hottest day EVER tomorrow with record 102F highs

  • London temperatures could hit 100F (38C) tomorrow which would break UK July record of 98.1F (36.7C) 
  • Public Heath England issues warning as UK temperature record of 101.F (38.5C) could also be beaten 
  • Body of man pulled from Cotswold Water Park, while three other people go missing along the Thames
  • Thousands of people cool off at beaches, office staff travel to work in shorts and roads melt in Manchester

Britain is roasting in the searing grip of a heatwave that has melted roads and buckled train tracks – before things get even hotter tomorrow as temperatures could hit 102F (39C) and bring the country’s hottest day on record.

The mercury could hit 97F (36C) today before rising further tomorrow, when conditions are likely to beat the July record of 98F (36.7C) set in 2015 and could even break the all-time record of 101.3F (38.5C) dating back to 2003.

The Met Office said there is a 60 per cent chance tomorrow could be the hottest day on record, depending on the amount of cloud. The highest overnight average temperature ever seen in the UK was 73.94F (23.3C) in July 1948, and forecasters have also now said there is a possibility this will be beaten tomorrow night into Friday.

The extreme weather also brought thunderstorms which saw a yellow weather warning in place until this morning as 45,000 lightning strikes and hail pushed from the South West into much of England, Wales and Scotland.

Tomorrow, commuters have been warned not to travel on Southeastern rail services in Kent when the heat could ‘buckle’ train lines by raising the temperatures of the rails to 122F (50C), potentially making the metal curve.

It comes after thousands of people cooled off at beaches on the coast yesterday while some office staff travelled to work in shorts, roads melted in Manchester and judges allowed barristers to remove their wigs in court.

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Sisters Ebony, 11, and Isobella, eight, cool off in the river at Brockenhurst in the New Forest as the hot weather continues today

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A welcome breeze greets these people at Camber Sands beach in East Sussex on a very hot and sunny morning today

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Tracey Wilkinson keeps her cool along Great Yarmouth beach in Norfolk today as the UK enjoys sweltering heatwave weather

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A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance tomorrow could see the hottest July temperature ever – heat flare shown in red

Commuters sweltered on the Tube today, including Hao Llu, 30, a tourist from Shanghai on the Piccadilly line.

He told MailOnline: ‘I arrived last week and have found it very hot – especially on the Tube. I always try and prepare before I go out by putting on plenty of sun cream and taking a fan. But it’s not as bad as Shanghai.’

Mathilde, 25, an account manager going to work in Camden on the Northern line, said: ‘It would be nice if it was like this on the weekend rather than the commute, wouldn’t it? I could walk rather than taking the Tube when it’s hot but that would take me two hours. What can you do? I always drink a lot of water to help cope with it.’

Tech worker Sarah Migoel, going to work with her husband Rueben on the Northern line, said: ‘I’m feeling rough at the moment – I’m probably about to pass out. We both like the hot weather but not when you’re down on the Tube.’

Will, 27, who travelled from North Acton to Notting Hill said: ‘The Central line has been awful ever since I moved to London five years ago. At this rate we’ll only get air conditioned trains by 2050.’

And Karen, 38, a mother-of-two from Mile End, said: ‘It’s a nightmare with the kids in the morning, they usually like going to school on the Tube but like this they’re just uncomfortable and irritable.’

Much of the South of the country saw lightning overnight in places such as Bournemouth, Salisbury and Plymouth, while parts of the North saw it on a smaller scale in Cumbria and Lancaster.

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Sunbathers make the most of the hot weather on Camber Sands beach in East Sussex this morning

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Runners and walkers enjoy the early morning sunlight on the South Bank of the River Thames in London today

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The sun rises behind distant clouds with London’s skyline in silhouette, as seen from Waterloo Bridge this morning

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A beautiful sunrise is photographed above Keyhaven Harbour in the New Forest, Hampshire, this morning

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The temperature on a Central line Underground train at Bond Street today was recorded by MailOnline as 92.7F (33.7C)

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A view from the Malvern Hills overlooking Worcestershire and Gloucestershire as lightning struck in the middle of the night

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Lightning bursts through the clouds over Jodrell Bank in Cheshire in the early hours of this morning during the storm

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Bolts of lightning were seen striking down on Plymouth overnight after the Met Office put in place a yellow weather warning

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Lightning also streaked through the skies above The Shard in London overnight, pictured, as the weather took a dramatic turn

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The night’s sky was illuminated by the lightning in Guildford, Surrey, pictured, and will be followed by more hot weather today

Yesterday’s top temperature was 92.7F (33.7C) in Northolt, West London – not quite beating the benchmark for the warmest day of 2019 so far which was last month on June 29, when 93F (34C) was recorded in the same place.

Two drown in heatwave: Body of swimmer, 23, is pulled from Thames 14 hours after dog owner died in Cotswold lake

At least two people have drowned in the heatwave gripping Britain as the emergency services urge people to avoid cooling off by jumping into the water.

Police officers have found two bodies over the past 24 hours, first discovering one of a man in his 20s at Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire last night.

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Police erect a tent as a body is recovered by divers at Shadwell Basin in East London today

Divers in London then today recovered the body of a 23-year-old man who had been swimming in the River Thames at Shadwell Basin, a disused cargo harbour.

Scotland Yard said the man had been swimming with friends at 6pm yesterday when he did not resurface. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

One witness said: ‘I saw the divers pull out the body. Within seconds the body had been transferred to a police tent on the side of the basin.

‘There are signs all around the basin saying ‘no swimming’ and a group of teenagers were swimming in the basin at the time the body was pulled out.’

Other searches continue to locate two other men also believed to have gone under the water in the Thames yesterday, at Waterloo Bridge and Kingston.

A fourth person got into difficulty in the Thames in Richmond after they tried to swim across the river, but she was rescued before being helped by paramedics.

Emergency services have warned the public to take precautions during the extreme heat and have highlighted the risks of cooling off in the sea, lakes and rivers.

At Cotswold Water Park, the man in his 20s drowned in a lake while apparently looking for his missing dog during the heatwave, witnesses said.

Two men in their 20s and 50s were said to have jumped into the water and swam to his location around 150ft (50m) away from the bank, but they could not find him.

Rail passengers in Scotland faced delays and cancellations after lightning strikes damaged signalling equipment. ScotRail said there was disruption on the Highland mainline and far north line today following stormy weather.

Passengers travelling on Caledonian Sleeper services also faced delays after lightning strikes damaged signalling equipment in the north of England.

ScotRail said both the Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness and Inverness to Wick lines have now reopened and services were returning to normal. Caledonian Sleeper said it was working to resolve the issue.

Speed restrictions are to be introduced on some rail lines because of the heat, Network Rail has revealed.

It said ‘in some locations we may have to introduce speed restrictions during the hottest part of the day at vulnerable locations as slower trains exert lower forces on the track and reduce the likelihood of buckling’.

Nick King, of Network Rail added: ‘Keeping passengers safe and moving are our top priorities during this heatwave.

‘That’s why we sometimes have to put speed restriction on to prevent our rails – that can be over 20 degrees hotter than air temperatures – from buckling which can derail a train and cause huge delays.

A Southeastern spokesman said: ‘Metal rails in direct sunshine can exceed 50C (122F) and Network Rail need to introduce these speed restrictions to reduce the chance of rails buckling in the heat.

‘Significantly fewer services will be running on Thursday, and many trains will be much busier than usual as a result.

‘Those trains which do run will take longer to complete their journeys – particularly on our longer-distance routes.

‘We strongly advise you to avoid travelling, if you can.  Details of those trains which won’t be running is still being finalised and we will update journey planners on Wednesday as soon as these are confirmed.’

The Rail Delivery Group said passengers travelling into London and the South East of England are advised to check before they travel and consider changing their plans tomorrow because services may be disrupted due to the heat.

Those who are sick of the heat will be pleased to know that after tomorrow, temperatures are set to drop again, with Friday reaching highs of a mere 81F (27C).

But two swimmers were found dead and another two are missing after thousands of Britons took to the water yesterday to cool down after temperatures reached 93F in parts of the UK.

A body was pulled from a water park in Gloucester and the man was pronounced dead on the scene, while in East London, the body of man was recovered from Shadwell Basin after he went swimming there with friends.

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Portsmouth’s Harbour and Spinnaker Tower were illuminated by lightning after thunderstorms battered the area overnight

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Lightning battered much of the UK last night and is pictured above in the West Sussex cathedral city of Chichester

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In Dorset, lightning lit up most of the sky overnight as it hit the area. Flashes of lightning were seen across the UK overnight

Police in London are also searching a stretch of water near Waterloo Bridge, while another is also missing from the Kingston-upon-Thames area.  

Don’t wear flip flops while driving, motorists urged

Britons who will be wearing flip flops during the heatwave this week have been warned to put proper shoes on for driving.

For those who get behind the wheel with the footwear could find themselves landed with a careless driving charge.

Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are advised they must have ‘footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.

While wearing flip flops while driving is not illegal, they could become wedged under pedals, and make someone drive erratically.

Careless driving comes with a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your licence. But charges contested in court could see a £5,000 fine, nine penalty points and even a driving ban.

Emergency services were called to Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, at about 1.40pm yesterday following reports a swimmer had gone missing.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were at the site, with a National Police Air Service helicopter scrambled to help search for the swimmer.

Gloucestershire Police said the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed.

At 8.30pm in London, police were called to Waterloo, where a person was reported missing in the river.

Just five minutes later, at 8.35pm, officers also attended at Kingston, after reports another man was seen in the river.

This was while an urgent search was underway in East London, after a swimmer jumped into Shadwell Basin. Police were called at around 6.06pm yesterday after reports came in of a man entering the water.

Officers and the marine policing unit attended, along with other emergency service personnel, and were searching the area. A body was found this morning.

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Linda (left), 30, who went from Liverpool Street to Notting Hill Gate on the Central line, said: ‘It wasn’t too bad – but tomorrow is going to be worse. I’ve got a bottle of water and I’ll probably have to wear a dress. It’s going to horrible’.  Nadeesha (right), 31, who travelled from Ruislip to Notting Hill Gate, said: ‘I bring my water bottle to be safe. It’s sweaty and busy’

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Commuters sweltered on the Tube today, including Hao Llu, 30, a tourist from Shanghai on the Piccadilly line

Forecasters issued a thunderstorm warning for most of Britain, which ran from 6pm yesterday and will continue until 9am today, amid fears of scattered storms which could bring flooding and power cuts.

In Manchester, bubbles appeared in the Tarmac – and, as the heat intensifies, Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to cover windows to keep rooms cool.

After tomorrow, a cold front will then push eastwards bringing rainfall and thunderstorms. As fresher air moves in, Friday’s highest temperatures will be much cooler than tomorrow with 81F (27C) expected in London and 73F (23C) in Manchester.

Those commuting last night struggled to cope with the heat, with one saying it was ‘worse than Mexico’. Temperatures on the Tube rose to more than 93F (34C), leaving commuters and tourists frantically fanning themselves.

The temperature on the Central Line yesterday was 93.6F (34.2C), 4.2C more than the legal limit for transporting cattle.

EU law states that cattle cannot be transported in temperatures past 86F (30C), but there are currently no laws in place to prevent human beings being transported at such temperatures.

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The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) – and it will be even hotter on the continent

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This week will bring plenty of sunshine to most parts of Britain, although there will be some cloud in the far north of Scotland

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, UK weather: Heatwave forces rail firm to warn workers not to travel, TravelWireNews | World News, TravelWireNews | World News

Temperatures will soar across Britain this week, with a possibility of 99F (37C) in the South East by tomorrow (right)

Guidance from Transport for London recommends that the maximum level for overcrowding is ‘three people per square metre of standing space’, but also states that this can vary.

In these circumstances it would mean that cows are actually transported in better conditions, and have to be given at least 0.95m2 each, and as much as 1.60m2 for larger cows.

Call to name heatwaves like storms to convey danger of hot weather

Heatwaves should be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers of sweltering heat, it has been urged.

The call comes as the UK faces another bout of possible record-breaking hot weather. Western Europe is also facing record-high temperatures in the current heatwave, which scientists warn are becoming more likely and intense as a result of climate change.

But the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change recently warned that the UK was not prepared for a future of more heatwaves, with more action needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and schools, and that even vulnerable people did not consider themselves at risk. Last summer’s heatwaves led to 863 excess deaths, Public Health England has estimated.

Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said the Met Office should start naming heatwaves, like it has for winter storms since 2015, to help warn people about severe weather.

Mr Ward said: ‘Far more people have died from recent heatwaves than from storms, so it should be uncontroversial to start applying names to both.

‘The Government and its agencies, including the Met Office, must lead the way in communicating the growing dangers of heatwaves and other impacts of climate change, so that the British public are better informed and can protect themselves.’

One Tube user, Kelly Cloughton, from Essex, said yesterday: ‘It’s awful to be honest, because there’s people having to stand, it’s overcrowded on the train, so everyone is in close proximity.

‘People smell, their hygiene isn’t great. We don’t get any refreshments or anything and they definitely need to put aircon on it, especially on the Central line. It’s just really warm and not great to be on’.

Many Europeans, however, are used to hotter temperatures, and one commuter, Miguel Almeidu, 20, who is from Italy but is now living in Stockwell, said people know it’s summer and that it’s going to be hot.

He added: ‘There’s no air conditioning but that’s OK, you know, it’s London isn’t it? It’s a crappy Tube. It was built hundreds of years ago. I’m not expecting air conditioning on anything so old.’

This is while another European, Amris, 57, originally from France but living in London, said it was just about bearable catching the Tube.

She added: ‘But getting off feels really nice. The tube is OK and I think they’re doing a good job. Very adequate, I cannot complain. I think it’s OK as long as it’s not too crowded.’

Despite the heat, those from outside of the UK and Europe joked that they wanted it to be hotter.

Security worker Paulet Burry, in his 60s, said: ‘I come from Jamaica where it’s much hotter than this.’

Mitzi Zeigner, 46, a human development professor at Texas Tech University, added: ‘We are really not used to these temperatures back home. I spent £1 on a fan today, I think it was the best pound I have ever spent.’

Ms Zeigner’s student Madeline Wyatt, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, added: ‘Back home we drive everywhere and have air conditioning on all the time.

‘I’m not used to this heat at all. It’s been so cloudy and cool until now. I don’t know what happened. The only time I ever walk back home is between lectures on my campus, the rest of the time I am in somewhere with air conditioning.’

At Baker Street on the Bakerloo line temperatures hit 93F (33.9C) yesterday.

MBA student Magali Dias, 28, from Mexico City, said: ‘It’s not just the heat, it’s the people too. It’s completely overwhelming. It’s worse than Mexico.’

But Alonso Lopez, 30, an MBA student also from Mexico’s capital, added: ‘I much prefer this to the cold. It reminds me of home.’

Maria Petreski, 26, a marketing specialist from Serbia, said: ‘They should do something to make the trains more comfortable in the heat on the Bakerloo line.

‘I’m seriously considering changing my commute onto the Hammersmith line where it’s much more spacious. That makes it much cooler.’

Meanwhile, a dog welfare charity advised owners to not leave pets alone in a hot car seat even for a few minutes, and others said heatwaves should be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers.

Advice from health officials includes ‘drinking plenty of fluids’, avoiding excess alcohol and wearing ‘loose, cool clothing’. PHE also called on the public to ‘check up on’ vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: ‘It’s really important to take simple precautions like drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and remembering to take allergy medication if you need it – as is making sure to check in on neighbours and loved ones who can suffer the most from heat and pollen.’

‘A real life nightmare’: Terrifying moment 50,000 BEES swarms the home of allergy sufferer

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Simon Pollitt (left), 32, was helping his dad Harry, 66, and partner Angela, with his allotment at his Cambridgeshire home

A family home was swarmed by a ‘big black cloud’ of thousands of bees in a ‘real life nightmare’.

Simon Pollitt, 32, was helping his dad Harry, 66, and partner Angela, with his allotment at his Cambridgeshire home in St Ives before a neighbour told him ‘a swarm’ had gathered above his house.

Mr Pollitt and his family were shocked to discovered around ‘50,000 to 60,000’ bees had descended on his house.

‘We went outside, and there was a big black cloud above us,’ said Mr Pollitt. ‘The noise was incredible.

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Footage of the swarm shows the bees flying in a frenzied chaos directly above Pollitt’s roof

But the bee spectacle also had potentially catastrophic consequences. He added: ‘My dad’s partner is allergic to bee stings, so having all of them so close was frightening for her.’

Footage of the swarm shows the bees flying in a frenzied chaos directly above Pollitt’s roof.

They circulate in a terrifying tornado-motion, though the bees are not aggressive at this stage in their life cycle.

Unsure of what to do, the professional glazier posted on Facebook a video of the insects to see if anyone would help.

The 32-year-old was advised to let the bees settle and after 30 minutes, Pollitt found that the bees had started forming a big ball atop a large fern tree.

Mr Pollitt contacted a local bee-keeper, Adam Neville, who removed the bees by cutting down the branch on which they had settled and depositing them into a box which he took away.

‘He said it was the biggest swarm he’d seen this year,’ Simon said. ‘Easily 50 to 60,000 honey bees.’

People with minor illnesses are urged to check the NHS website or call 111 for help. High levels of pollen and ultraviolet light – increasing the risk of sunburn – are expected particularly in the south and east until Thursday. Pollution levels in southern areas are also expected to rise to moderate.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said skies across Britain could be about to turn an eerie shade of red as Saharan dust is swept in with the hot air along with smoke from fires currently ravaging swathes of Portugal.

He said: ‘We are expecting to get some Saharan dust coming up and there are also some wildfires across Portugal from which we could see some smoke also coming into the UK.

‘There will be a continued risk of Saharan dust through to the end of the week, so there will be some pretty sunsets.’

Defra’s pollution alert for tomorrow says: ‘Air sourced from the near continent may give moderate levels of air pollution across some areas of England and Wales, and on Friday across some eastern areas of Scotland and England.’

The situation is set to cause problems for Britain’s 5.4 million asthma sufferers.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness.

‘Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.’

Breakdown companies urged motorists to check their cars to avoid unnecessary callouts, while Pets At Home warned people to check their animals and homes for fleas, as ‘hot and humid conditions create the perfect breeding ground for the parasites to thrive’.

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: ‘The UK will experience another pulse of high temperatures this week, with the possibility of records being broken for not only July but also all-time records.

‘The weather setup is broadly similar to the pattern that brought high temperatures to much of continental Europe at the end of June.

‘As well as high temperatures during the day, overnight temperatures will also be notably warm and could also break records. Conditions will feel much more comfortable for all by the time we get to Friday.’

Meanwhile, there were calls yesterday for heatwaves to be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers of sweltering heat.

The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change recently warned that the UK was not prepared for a future of more heatwaves, with more action needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and schools, and that even vulnerable people did not consider themselves at risk.

Last summer’s heatwaves led to 863 excess deaths, Public Health England has estimated.

Asthma sufferers are warned as heatwave hits

Pollution levels in southern areas of Britain are expected to rise this week, causing problems for the country’s 5.4million asthma sufferers.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness.

‘Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.’

Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said the Met Office should start naming heatwaves, like it has for winter storms since 2015, to help warn people about severe weather.

Mr Ward said: ‘Far more people have died from recent heatwaves than from storms, so it should be uncontroversial to start applying names to both.

‘The Government and its agencies, including the Met Office, must lead the way in communicating the growing dangers of heatwaves and other impacts of climate change, so that the British public are better informed and can protect themselves.’

This is while further afield in Europe, a string of countries are continuing to swelter in hot conditions.

Forecasters predicted new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 104F (40C) for the first time tomorrow.

Only last month Europe struggled to cope with soaring temperatures across the continent, which caused wildfires in Spain, France and Germany.

French energy company EDF said it would temporarily shut down the two reactors at its Golftech nuclear power plant this week in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne department, in a bid to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool.

Reactor number two shut down last night and number one today, with both due to stay shut until July 30.

France is gearing up for a surge in electricity use this week, but the national electricity board said earlier this week that there will be enough supplies.

And as the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.

‘In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference,’ said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.

Authorities around Europe also issued health warnings, encouraging older or vulnerable people to be particularly vigilant.

Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic all also recorded their highest-ever June temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organisation said that 2019 is on track to be among the world’s hottest years and 2015-2019 would be the hottest five-year period on record.

** Have you taken any photographs of the hot weather? Please email them to: [email protected] ** 

How to keep cool: Public Health England’s heat advice

England’s chief nurse has urged people to check on their neighbours as a heatwave hits parts of the UK for the start of the school summer holidays.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said people should take care as temperatures rise, while Asthma UK urged sufferers to keep up their medication. People with minor illnesses are urged to check the NHS website or call 111 for help.

She said: ‘Like lots of people I’m looking forward to having fun in the sun with family and friends this weekend, but nobody wants to spend a pleasant day stuck in a hospital or urgent treatment centre.

‘It’s really important to take simple precautions like drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and remembering to take allergy medication if you need it – as is making sure to check in on neighbours and loved ones who can suffer the most from heat and pollen.’

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness. Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried about the weather or hay fever affecting your asthma, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.

‘We’d advise you to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and plan any outdoor activities for earlier in the day when the air quality tends to be better.’

Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to stay cool as temperatures soar and has reminded them not to leave children or animals in parked cars.

Owen Landeg, principal environmental public health scientist at PHE, said: ‘Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy.

‘However, for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer.

‘If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.

‘It’s also worth remembering to think about practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat.’

Public Health England warns that the main risks posed by a heatwave are:

  • not having enough water (dehydration)
  • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • heat exhaustion and heatstroke

It says those most at risk are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious long-term condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medicines, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports

The Met Office has raised a Level 2 heatwave alert for this week. Public Health England advises people to stay tuned to the weather forecast, check the forecast at their destination if travelling, and keep cool at home. Tips for coping include:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it’s hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it’s cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and do not go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this is not possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Water, lower fat milks and tea and coffee are good options. You can also drink fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks, but they can be high in sugar. Limit fruit juice or smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day, and choose diet or sugar-free soft drinks.

WHY IS THE UK IN THE GRIP OF A HEATWAVE AND IS IT RELATED TO THE ONE ROASTING THE US?

WHAT IS CAUSING THE HEATWAVE?

The heatwave has been triggered by the build-up of high pressures over Europe over the past few days, leading to the northward movement of warm air from Europe over the UK.

‘At this time of year southerly winds will always lead to above average temperatures,’ said University of Reading meteorologist Peter Inness. 

‘Air from continental Europe, the Mediterranean and even North Africa is brought over the UK.’

‘The eastward passage of weather fronts and low pressures from the North Atlantic are currently being blocked by the high pressure over Europe,’ added University of Reading climate scientist Len Shaffrey.

IS IT RELATED TO THE US HEATWAVE?

The US’s recent warm weather has been caused by a high-pressure dome building up over much of the country, trapping the summer heat.

This has wider-reaching effects.

‘Heatwave conditions in the U.S Midwest and the East coast have strengthened the jet stream,’ explained environmental scientist Kate Sambrook of the University of Leeds.

‘The resulting thunderstorms occurring on the continent have helped the jet stream to meander and move to the north of the U.K.’

‘As a result of this shift, hot air has been drawn up from Europe causing the high temperatures we are experiencing this week.’

, UK weather: Heatwave forces rail firm to warn workers not to travel, TravelWireNews | World News, TravelWireNews | World News

The US’s recent warm weather has been caused by a high-pressure dome building up over much of the country, trapping the summer heat

HOW LONG WILL THE HEAT LAST?

‘Although there is some uncertainty in the forecast, it looks like it will become cooler on Friday as the high pressure over Europe moves slowly towards the east,’ said Dr Shaffrey.

‘This will allow weather fronts to move over the UK, bringing cooler air and possibly some rain,’ Professor Shaffrey added,

HOW HOT WILL IT GET?

Meteorologists are predicting high temperatures reaching up to 100°F (38°C) over central and Eastern England on Thursday.

Although different forecasts are anticipating slightly different details, ‘the broad message of all the forecasts is the same,’ said Dr Inness.

‘It will be hot, with high temperatures persisting through the night time periods, and there is the risk of some thunderstorms over the UK.’

These will continue through Wednesday.

‘If conditions continue, it is likely that we could experience the hottest July on record,’ said Dr Sambrook.

‘However, the outcome is uncertain as conditions are expected to change early next week.’

University of Oxford climate scientist Karsten Haustein added that ‘there is a 40–50 per cent chance that this will be the warmest July on record.’

The final estimate depends on which observational dataset is used, he noted.

While agreeing that the next week’s weather will determine this July’s place in the record books, Dr Inness noted that 2019 did bring us the warmest June known since the year 1880.

‘In fact, 9 of the 10 warmest Junes in the global record have happened since 2000’, he said.

In Europe, he noted, this June was also the warmest on record, reaching almost a whole degree Celsius above the previous number one back in 2003.

‘Weather records are not normally broken by such large margins — a few tenths of a degree would be more likely.’

The present conditions may turn out to be record-breaking, but they are also part of a recent trend towards warmer UK summers.

‘2018 was the joint hottest [year] on record with highest temperature measured at around 35°C, similar to temperatures expected this week,’ said University of Leeds climatologist Declan Finney.

The likelihood of experiencing such hot summers has risen from a less than 10 per cent chance in the 1980s to as high as a 25 per chance today, he added.

IS CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSING HEATWAVES?

‘The fact that so many recent years have had very high summer temperatures both globally and across Europe is very much in line with what we expect from man-made global warming,’ said Dr Inness.

‘Changes in the intensity and likelihood of extreme weather is how climate change manifests,’ said environmental scientist Friederike Otto of the University of Oxford.

‘That doesn’t mean every extreme event is more intense because of it, but a lot are. For example, every heatwave occurring in Europe today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change.’

However, local factors also play a role, with each extreme weather event being influenced by the location, season, intensity and duration.

The present heatwave is not the only notable indicator of climate change, experts note, with ongoing droughts — such as those being experienced in many parts of Germany — also being in line with scientific predictions.

Research into the 2003 European heatwave suggested at the time that human activity had more than doubled the risk of such warm summers — and that annual heatwaves like we are experiencing now could become commonplace by around the middle of the century.

‘It has been estimated that about 35,000 people died as a result of the European heatwave in 2003, so this is not a trivial issue,’ said Dr Inness.

‘With further climate change there could be a 50% chance of having hot summers in the future,’ agreed Dr Finney.

‘That’s similar to saying that a normal summer in future will be as hot as our hottest summers to date,’ he added.

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