Britain’s heatwave could bring its most intense weather conditions yet, with a record high of 37C (98.6F) forecast for Friday along with severe thunderstorms.
After lightning arrived earlier than expected in some areas, motorists are warned of flash flooding and large hailstones set to hit eastern areas in the afternoon. A weather warning for storms is in force from 2pm until just before midnight.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s for much of east and south east England, reaching an estimated 37C in London on so-called Furnace Friday. That would make it the hottest ever July day ahead of the previous record of 36.7C, which was set in Heathrow in 2015.
And the Met Office said the mercury could rise higher still if there is a lot of sunshine. There is a chance the all-time UK record of 38.5C (101.3F) – set in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003 – could be broken, with the hot weather due to continue into August.
Meanwhile, cross-Channel rail passengers face difficult journeys after operator Eurotunnel cancelled thousands of tickets as “extreme temperatures” caused major disruption.
The firm took the “unprecedented decision” to stop passengers from travelling on Friday if they were due to return on the same day or Saturday in a bid to ease long queues. Passengers endured delays of up to six-and-a-half hours on Thursday when train air-conditioning units failed.
Video: Latest Met Office forecast for Friday and weekend
Thursday saw the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures reaching a peak of 35.1C (95.1F) at Heathrow airport.
Speaking about the chance of temperatures soaring even higher on Friday, Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “The reason there’s some uncertainty is because of the thunderstorms, how many we see and where they get going … torrential rain, the risk of local flooding, large hailstones potentially damaging, lots of flashes of lighting and rumbles of thunder.
“Roads like the M11, M18, M1 and A1 won’t be very pleasant, a lot of spray and surface water around.”
Going into Friday night, more showers will come into parts of Wales, south west England and northern Ireland in a sign of things to come for the weekend, Mr Deakin said.
Most places will see temperatures closer to average for the time of year, around the high teens to low 20s, with the chance of showers and strong breezes. Some areas will see a more than 10C drop between Friday and Saturday – bringing some relief to gardeners, farmers and water companies.
Mr Deakin added: “Weather fronts are trying to come in from the Atlantic and eventually they will do so. And that has the impact of ousting the really hot and humid air .. it turns runs cooler for the weekend, fresher, more comfortable at night…”.
From green to brown in a month: Satellite images show how Britain has changed
A mix of toxic air, extreme highs, emissions from the continent and a lack of cloud cover caused a “high” air pollution alert to be issued for London.
Meanwhile, authorities said the heatwave was causing “winter conditions” in parts of the NHS, while many nurses were said to be dizzy and exhausted.
Fire brigades also called for a ban on BBQs in parks and drivers were urged not to throw rubbish following a string of grassland fires in recent weeks.
Large parts of northern Europe are also gripped by extreme hot weather, but a Met Office map showed the south east of England was hotter than anywhere else on the continent on Thursday.
The Met Office and Public Health England’s level three heat health watch alert covers a large part of England and warns people to stay out of the sun until Friday.
Britain is just one stage away from a national emergency, which will be triggered if healthy people start becoming seriously ill – but visits to the NHS Choices website have already risen by 450 per cent as people struggle with heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
Thunderstorm warning predicts flooding, road closures and power cuts
The Met Office yellow warning for thunderstorms is in force between 2pm and 11.45pm on Friday.
It covers a large belt of the east of Britain – from north of London, up into the east coast, the north east and parts of Scotland.
The warning says people should expect:
- Flooding of homes and businesses could happen quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds
- Where flooding or lightning strikes occur, there is a chance of delays and some cancellations to train and bus services
- Spray and sudden flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures
- Power cuts might occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost
Storms could prevent skygazers from seeing ‘blood moon’ eclipse
Rain clouds and thunderstorms could prevent skygazers from seeing the “blood moon” lunar eclipse. The rare celestial event, said to be the longest in the 21st century, will see the moon pass through Earth’s darkest shadow and take on a red sheen.
Moonrise will be at 8.49pm BST in London, 9.46pm in Glasgow, 9.02pm in Cardiff and 9.27pm in Belfast, with mid-eclipse occurring at 9.21pm and the “total” phase ending at around 10.13pm. But torrential downpours are forecast in places, with as much as 1.2 inches (30mm) expected to fall in just an hour and 2.4 inches (60mm) in three hours.
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “There may be large areas where the sky is effectively covered by thunderclouds. They will move through reasonably quickly but if that coincides with the peak moment of the eclipse, they could obscure the moon.”
The warning area extends from Cambridge and Peterborough up to the Scottish Borders, Mr Madge said, adding that Wales, the south and west of England and most of Northern Ireland should have clear skies.
Although the lunar eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes, observers in the UK and Ireland will not be able to catch the start as the moon will still be below the horizon. However, the partial eclipse will be visible for almost four hours.
Mars will add to the spectacle shining brightly below the blood moon as it reaches perihelic opposition – where the Red Planet and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.
And those awake after 11pm will be able to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station (ISS), as it moves quickly across the sky from west to east. It will appear like a bright star, before fading from sight a few minutes later.
Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event can be viewed without wearing protective eye gear. The next total lunar eclipse in the UK will take place on January 19 2019.
Eurotunnel chaos as tickets cancelled after air conditioning fails in heat
Cross-Channel rail operator Eurotunnel has cancelled thousands of tickets after “extreme temperatures” caused major disruption to services.
The firm took the “unprecedented decision” to stop passengers from travelling on Friday if they were due to return on the same day or Saturday in a bid to ease long queues.
Passengers faced delays of up to six-and-a-half hours on Thursday when air-conditioning units failed on trains. And as of Friday morning, the operator was warning of delays of three-and-a-half hours.
Eurotunnel said: “The prolonged and unprecedented temperatures in the South East of England are affecting the air conditioning on board our shuttles.
“Due to the high level of traffic booked, we are currently unable to check-in any customers arriving more than two hours before their booked crossing time.
“We strongly recommend that you stock up with water and take a comfort break prior to arriving at our Folkestone Terminal.”
On Thursday, Eurotunnel warned that ferry companies “do not have availability to take any of our customers”.
It is one of the busiest weeks of the year for cross-Channel travel as the start of many school summer holidays leads to a surge in family trips.
Search for missing boy, 17, in lake at quarry
Water rescue teams are searching for a 17-year-old boy who went missing after going into a lake at a quarry.
Emergency services were called to the Bishops Bowl Lakes area in Bishops Itchington, near Leamington Spa, at about 6.30pm on Thursday, Warwickshire Police said.
Concerns were raised for the teenager after he entered the water, the force said.
Searches are expected to continue throughout the day and a cordon and road closures around the area are in place. The boy’s next of kin are aware.
One boy was rescued by a lifeboat crew, checked over by medical teams and reunited with his family, but the second remains unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police said a man’s body was recovered from the Jubilee River in Slough, adding that his death is not being treated as suspicious.
Hottest day on Earth – and other weather records
As temperatures could get as high as 37C, here are some weather records for the UK and further afield:
- 30.8C: The hottest temperature ever recorded in Northern Ireland, at Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast, on July 12 1983 and Kockarevan, Co Fermanagh, on June 30 1976
- 32.9C: The hottest temperature ever recorded in Scotland, on August 9 2003 in Greycrook.
- 33.3C: The hottest temperature ever recorded in Ireland, at Kilkenny Castle on June 26 1887.
- 35.1C: The hottest day of 2018 so far, recorded at Wisley, Surrey
- 35.2C: The highest temperature ever recorded in Wales, on August 2 1990 in Hawarden Bridge, Flintshire
- 36.7C: The hottest July day recorded, on July 1 2015 at Heathrow
- 38.5C: The highest temperature recorded in the UK in Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003
- 48C: The hottest temperature recorded in Europe, on July 10 1977 in Athens, Greece
- 58.7C: The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, in Furnace Creek, California, on July 10 1913
Britain swelters in heatwave, in pictures
Trains cancelled and delayed to prevent tracks from buckling
Rail journeys are being disrupted by the hot weather as train speeds are reduced to stop tracks from buckling.
Cutting the speed of trains reduces the forces they exert on the track, making it less likely to buckle. A buckled rail usually causes delays and cancellations as the line needs to be closed while engineers wait until the temperature drops to carry out repairs.
Thousands of commuters were left furious after Greater Anglia cancelled multiple services on Thursday.
Many Chiltern Railways trains between London and Oxford are being rescheduled and speed restrictions have also been introduced by Northern.
Meanwhile, temperatures on the Central line of the London Underground have hit 40C- above the 30C maximum temperature at which cattle can legally be transported.
Video: The Telegraph takes the temperature of the Tube
Overheated passengers mocked officials who reassured them that air conditioning will be installed – in 12 years.
Responding to complaints, the official Central line Twitter account replied: “Hi we’re aware of the heating issues. We’ve made improvements to the ventilation systems on the current fleet.
“New trains are coming in early 2030, under the Deep Tube Upgrade Program which will be delivered with full air cooling systems.”
Nurses ‘becoming patients themselves’ due to heat: Medics are ‘exhausted, sick and dizzy’
Nurses have reported feeling exhausted, sick and dizzy as the hot weather raises temperatures in hospitals. One nurse was admitted to A&E with dehydration after working three 12-hours shifts in a row during the heatwave, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said.
Earlier this week, the organisation warned that patients and relatives were passing out and vomiting, with temperatures on some wards exceeding 30C (86F). It also said some nurses were not allowed to take water bottles on to wards.
Kim Sunley, national officer at the RCN, said: “Nurses are now becoming patients themselves due to the heat. We have heard from one member who ended up in A&E suffering from dehydration, after working 12-hour shifts back to back in temperatures exceeding 30C. Others have reported exhaustion, sickness and dizziness.
“This is not acceptable. Good patient care depends on nurses and clinical support assistants being well enough to perform their jobs effectively.
“It is vital employers adapt working practices to the heat. Both patients and nurses must have easy access to water, and all healthcare staff should be able to take regular breaks, preferably somewhere cool.”
Homes, offices, schools and transport systems ill-prepared for deadly heatwaves, MPs’ report warns
Britain is ill-prepared to cope with heatwaves, a major report by MPs has warned. The Commons environmental audit committee said that adapting to a warming climate was now “a matter of life and death” and without action, thousands of Britons would die each year, reports Sarah Knapton.
The committee said rules brought in to make modern homes and offices more energy efficient had left householders and workers to swelter in overly insulated buildings with little ventilation. It called for updated guidelines.
The MPs’ report also said that road and rail services had not been built to cope with such hot weather, with just half of Britain’s motorways surfaced with material that can withstand high temperatures and rail tracks increasingly at risk of buckling.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned that people were “vomiting and passing out” from the heat and MPs said health guidance should be issued to employers and schools to relax dress and uniform codes and allow flexible working.
A survey carried out by the committee also found schools were so hot in summer that nine in 10 teachers are forced to pay for fans to make classrooms bearable.
MPs warned that by the 2040s, Britain would face similar heatwaves every two years, and called for a minister to be appointed to tackle the growing crisis.
Harvest starts early and reservoirs running dry
Farming leaders have warned that crops are being hit and livestock are having to be fed with feed that should be held for winter as grasslands are parched.
The dry spell has been most prolonged in East Anglia and south-east England where the last day of very widespread rainfall was seen on May 29.
Firefighters have urged the public to avoid “careless and reckless” behaviour during the ongoing heatwave as crews across the country deal with a high number of field fires.
And pet owners have been urged to avoid exercising their dogs and other animals in the hottest parts of the day due to the risk of burnt paws on scorching pavements, as well as the chance of heatstroke.
Video: How to keep gardens looking healthy in the heat
Britain’s driest half of summer on record
The heatwave baking Britain comes as extreme hot weather grips northern Europe.
The UK has seen the driest half of summer on record, with just 47mm (1.85 inches) of rain between June 1 and July 16.
The Met Office said several places have had 54 consecutive dry days, starting on May 30, including a few which have had less than 1mm (0.04in) of rain in the entire 54-day period – the longest spell since 1969, when 70 days passed with no significant rainfall.
The longest run of days with no rain at all this summer so far is 48 days at Brooms Barn, near Bury St Edmunds, since June 5.
Conditions this week have been nearer normal for the time of year in Northern Ireland and western Scotland, which are seeing lower temperatures and rainy spells.
How much water helps to avoid dehydration?
A leading surgeon has recommended people drink three litres of water a day and said a “radical culture change” towards drinking water is required to help the country stay hydrated during the heatwave.
Bhaskar Somani, a consultant urological surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said attitudes towards water consumption “remained poor” even among those at higher risk of health problems.
He said: “We should take this opportunity to remind people that consumption of three litres of water a day is a small price to pay to help maintain and improve your health, particularly during heatwave spells such as the one we are in right now.”
He spoke out following a study of 162 patients who received treatment for kidney stones – for which poor hydration is a significant risk factor – at Southampton General Hospital.
It found less than a third (28 per cent) increased their water intake, despite receiving advice after treatment on the need to drink 2.5 to 3 litres a day, particularly in the summer months, with the average intake of water at around 1.5 litres.
Almost a quarter (22 per cent) said the reason for avoiding water was because they did not like the taste, while 26 per cent blamed their habits and 10 per cent said they only drank when thirsty.
Why is it so hot? Your questions answered
What has triggered this heat?
In the short term, the current weather phenomenon can be attributed largely to the position and the strength of jet streams – fast moving air typically five to seven miles above the Earth’s surface. Such jet streams are crucial to bringing in new weather systems.
What does that mean?
Becky Mitchell, meteorologist at the Met Office in Exeter, said: “The jet streams are not very strong to the north of the UK. When the jet stream is like that, it means we’re under a period of high pressure, currently drawing up hot and humid air from France.”
What causes a low jet stream?
Sometimes it is just a feature of the weather at the time. However, this prolonged period of dry and very warm weather will inevitably cause scientists to look at the long-term impact global warming is having on the planet.
What would ordinarily be happening across the UK at this time of year?
Again, when the jet stream is further south it means cooler weather systems are able to come in from the Atlantic. That is not happening at the moment, hence the extended period of hot temperatures.
Will we have much more of this?
In short, yes. It is probably fair to say that things will get worse (that is to say, hotter) before they get better. And it’s all building towards Friday being the hottest day of the year, with temperatures expected to hit 36C (96.8F) in the south east before dropping back to the high 20s again. Interestingly, despite the driest start to summer since 1961, the previous three years have each had a top temperature exceeding 33.3C (91.9F), the record high for 2018 so far.
Any chance of rain?
Succour is on its way. Thunderstorms are expected in parts of eastern and northern England on Friday, according to the Met Office, with a chance of hail and strong winds alongside the torrential downpours.
But will it actually make any difference?
The volume and persistence of the rainfall will have a variable impact on the overall temperature. Extended periods of very hot and dry weather mean the ground has itself been heated – a light shower is going to do little to change that. Nor is it likely to fill the reservoirs, which are in desperate need of a top-up. But many gardeners and farmers are crying out for rain. Any cooling of the temperatures will be particularly welcomed by dog walkers, who have been forced to take their pets out very early in the morning or late at night when the temperatures have dropped to something less punishing.
Weather map for Friday and week ahead
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/27/uk-weather-heatwave-bring-highs-37c-hottest-day-year-lightning/