Met Office Issues Four Day Amber Heat Warning In Hottest Period For 125,000 Years

Met Office Issues Four Day Amber Heat Warning In Hottest Period For 125,000 Years

By Emily Caulkett-

The Met Office has today issued a four-day amber extreme heat warning, with temperatures set to reach up to 35C (95F) in some areas this week. The UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says we are living in the hottest period for 125,000 years.

The UK Health Security Agency issued a second warning of the summer as England has been placed on a level 3 heat health alert.

The alert comes as south-east England goes 144 days with little to no rain, the longest in half a century.

The Met Office says temperatures are likely to rise into the low to mid-30s in central and southern parts of the UK on Friday and Saturday – but will not be as extreme as the record-breaking heat in July which saw the mercury climb above 40C.

Outside the hottest areas, much of England and Wales and south-east Scotland could see temperatures widely in the high 20s, with a chance of a few spots seeing temperatures into the low 30s, the Met Office said

While temperatures are not predicted to reach those of the level 4 alert issued last month, Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the UKHSA, warned: “Temperatures will feel very warm again this week, particularly in southern and central parts of the country.

“We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health. It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable – elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions – are prepared for coping during the hot weather.”

The warning includes  recommendations to avoid barbecues due to dry conditions, and points to a heightened risk of wildfires like those seen in last month’s heatwave.

Green spaces across the country have become tinder-dry while Odiham, a village in Hampshire, had no rain last month, according to the Met Office. The Met Office has also identified 10 locations that have experienced less than 250mm of rain since November 2021, and George Eustice, the environment secretary, has called for hosepipe bans to be introduced with some potentially lasting until October in the worst-affected areas.

The 10 areas are Hartpury College, Gloucestershire; Bognor Regis, West Sussex; Wisley, Surrey; Wallingford, Oxfordshire; Botanic Garden, Cambridge; Shoeburyness, Essex; Manston, Kent; Writtle, Essex; Oxford; and Kew Gardens, London.

The Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, Tony Wardle, said: “Heatwave criteria look likely to be met for large areas of the UK later this week, with the hottest areas expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday.

“Coupled with the high daytime temperatures will be continued warm nights, with the mercury expected to drop to only around low 20s Celsius for some areas in the south.”

The warning applies to southern and central England and parts of Wales from midnight on Thursday until Sunday.

It follows the first ever red warning issued in July, when temperatures in parts exceeded 40C for the first time.

The Met Office said temperatures would remain below those record highs, but that this heatwave could last longer.

An amber heat warning indicates that the heat is likely to impact the health of vulnerable people, and that others are likely to suffer sunburn or heat exhaustion.

Heat-sensitive equipment is more likely to fail, and some delays to road, rail, and air travel are possible.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has also issued a level-three heat-health alert which covers southern and central England and will be in force from midday on Tuesday until 18:00 BST on Saturday.

The alert “requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups”, though again is one stage lower than the most serious level-four alert issued last month.

A level-two alert will be in place for northern England for the same period.

More parts of the UK are also facing hosepipe bans amid very dry conditions, as fire crews warn of wildfires.

Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan said a “fairly widespread heatwave” was developing across the UK this week with the peak of the temperatures likely to be on Friday or Saturday.

Temperatures will build from 28C or 29C on Tuesday and reach the low to mid-30s from Thursday, Mr Morgan said.

“It does look like a prolonged period of dry weather and obviously that’s bad news for southern England where some rain would really be useful now.”

He added that the West Midlands and the West Country could see the highest temperatures with a maximum of around 35C, but this is uncertain.
Dr Agostinho Sousa from the UKHSA emphasised it is important to ensure that vulnerable people, like the elderly who live alone and anyone with underlying health conditions, are “prepared for coping during the hot weather”.

“The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating,” he added.

 

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