UK weather: Met Office issues first ever ‘extreme heat’ warning

The Met Office has issued its first ever "extreme heat" warning as the scorching temperatures across the UK are set to remain for a number of days. 

The warning – which is similar to those issued when heavy rain or snow is forecast – covers a large part of Wales, all of south-west England and parts of southern and central England, and will remain in force until the end of Thursday.

It is the first time the warning has been issued since the Met Office said last month that it would launch weather warnings for extreme heat after a record-breaking number of heatwave deaths were recorded in England last summer.

Temperatures are expected to reach 33C in some western areas later this week, with high 20s and low 30s expected elsewhere.

⚠️⚠️ Amber Weather Warning issued ⚠️⚠️

Extreme Heat across parts of South Wales, West Midlands, southern and southwestern England

Valid until 23:59 Thursday

This is the first ever Extreme Heat Warning issued#Heatwave

Latest info 👉
Stay #WeatherAware

— Met Office (@metoffice) July 19, 2021

Chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office, Steven Ramsdale, said: "The high temperatures are going to continue through a large part of this week. Many areas will continue to reach heatwave thresholds but the amber extreme heat warning focuses on western areas where the most unusually high temperatures are likely to persist.

"There’s a continuing risk of isolated thundery downpours late in the afternoons but most areas will stay dry until later in the week. Temperatures should begin to fall for most areas heading into the weekend, with some more unsettled conditions looking to develop."

What to expect and what should you do?

Here’s what to expect:

  • Adverse health effects are likely to be experienced by those vulnerable to extreme heat
  • The wider population are likely to experience some adverse health effects including sunburn or heat exhaustion (dehydration, nausea, fatigue) and other heat related illnesses
  • More people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents
  • Some changes in working practices and daily routines likely to be required
  • An increased chance that some heat-sensitive systems and equipment may fail, leading to power cuts and the loss of other services to some homes and businesses
  • Some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays
  • And what can you do to stay safe?

  • Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat
  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest and avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
  • The heatwave, in pictures

    A worker with his shirt removed cools himself on bench, during lunchtime on so-called freedom day, in the City of London

    Credit: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

    People walk along a pathway exposed by the falling water level at Spelga Reservoir in the Mourne Mountains of County Down, Northern Ireland

    Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

    People enjoying the hot weather in Blackpool

    Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

    Why did the Met Office introduce new heat warning?

    In a press release last month, the Met Office said: "The impacts of extreme heat can be many and varied. It can have health consequences, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable, and it can impact infrastructure, including transport and energy, as well as the wider business community. 

    "During hot weather we often see increased traffic near coastal areas, increased use of open water by the public, and an increase in wildfire risk.

    "The Met Office launched a new Extreme Heat National Severe Weather Warning at the start of June 2021, with warnings to be issued based on the impacts of extreme heat.  Amber and red warnings can now be issued to inform the public of potential widespread disruption and adverse health effects."

    The heat takes its toll

    Police said a body was recovered from a lake in Sheffield and a man died after falling from rocks in Dorset, taking the number of deaths linked to the warm weather on Sunday to five.

    South Yorkshire Police said emergency services were called to Crookes Valley Park shortly after 7.30pm on Sunday following calls that a man had got into difficulty in a lake.

    An underwater search team discovered a body in the water just before midnight, with formal identification yet to take place, the force added.

    Meanwhile, Dorset Police said emergency services were called at 6.30pm on Sunday to reports that a man had fallen off rocks at Stair Hole near to Lulworth Cove in the Purbeck area.

    The man was pronounced dead at the scene and his family have been informed, according to the force, which added that there were no suspicious circumstances.

    Two teenagers died in Greater Manchester and Oxfordshire on Sunday, along with a man in his 50s in North Yorkshire.

    Your weather forecast

    weather 19/07/2021

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