The UK has its warmest-ever night and braces for record-smashing heat : NPR

People escape the heat wave by joining a barbecue on a river near the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute on the west bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland, Monday, July 18, 2022.

Andrew Milligan / AP

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Andrew Milligan / AP

People escape the heat wave by joining a barbecue on a river near the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute on the west bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland, Monday, July 18, 2022.

Andrew Milligan / AP

LONDON – Millions of people in the UK woke up from the country’s warmest night ever on Tuesday and braced themselves for a day when temperatures are forecast to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). ), as a scorching European heatwave swept through a country accustomed to mild weather and rain.

The UK’s Met Office weather agency said interim figures showed temperatures remained above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight for the first time in parts of the country.

Met Office forecaster Rachel Ayers said Tuesday’s high would be “unprecedented”.

“Temperatures will be very hot throughout the day, before soaring as high as 40 degrees Celsius, maybe even 41 degrees Celsius in isolated spots across the UK in the afternoon,” she said.

A large part of Britain, from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north, is under the country’s first warning of “extreme” heat, meaning there is a risk of death even for those healthy, as the hot, dry weather that has scorched mainland Europe this past week has moved north.

Monday’s temperature hit 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 degrees Fahrenheit) at Santon Downham in eastern England, just below the highest ever recorded in the UK – 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 degrees) F), the record was set in 2019. Tuesday is expected to be hotter.

Average July temperatures in the UK range from a daily high of 21 C (70 F) to a nighttime low of 12 C (53 F), and very few homes or small businesses are available. has air conditioning.

Many people have coped with the heat wave by staying put. Road traffic was down from normal on Monday. Trains run at low speeds due to concerns that the tracks are warped, or not running at all. London’s Kings Cross Station, one of the country’s busiest rail hubs, was empty on Tuesday, with no trains on the busy east coast line linking the capital with the north and Scotland. London’s Luton Airport had to close its runway because of the high temperatures.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain’s transport infrastructure, some of which dates back to the Victorian era, “wasn’t built to withstand this kind of temperature – and it will be many years before we can replace it.” infrastructure by the kind of infrastructure possible.”

At least five people are reported to have drowned across the UK in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while trying to cool off.

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing the possibility of temperatures in the UK reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) now. 10 times higher than in pre-industrial times. Droughts and heat waves associated with climate change also make wildfires more difficult to treat.

Hot weather has blanketed southern Europe since last week, sparking wildfires in Spain, Portugal and France. Nearly 600 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and Portugal, where temperatures hit 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) last week.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and vacation spots in the Gironde region of southwestern France since wildfires broke out in arid pine forests a week ago.

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