UK authorities issue ‘red’ extreme heat warning for the first time

REMOVEthe ritish authorities have issued their first “red” warning for extreme heat early next week, declare a national emergency as forecasters predict record temperatures will put even healthy people risk of serious illness and death.

The warning covers Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures in the UK could reach 40 C (104 F) for the first time, the UK Met Office said. The UK record is 38.7C (101.7F), set in 2019.

Warnings are given as scientists say climate change is increasing the likelihood of heat waves especially in the UK, a country known for its gray skies and rain. Nikos Christidis, a climate scientist with the Met Office, said the chance of temperatures as forecasted for next week would have been 10 times higher if it weren’t for the influence of human activity.

Christidis said: “We expect this to not be the case, but for the first time we are forecasting temperatures higher than 40°C in the UK. “In a recent study, we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK is increasing and will continue to do so throughout this century.”

Read more: How to cool down when it’s really hot

The UK’s Health Security Agency has raised its hot weather warning to the highest level, making it a “national emergency”. The warning system was created in 2004, when concerns about climate change prompted authorities to develop their first plan to protect the public from the intense heat.

“To this extent, morbidity and mortality is likely to occur in healthy and well-to-do people, not just in high-risk groups,” UKHSA said.

The weather warning, covering large parts of Britain from north London to Manchester, also warned of possible disruptions to air and rail travel and the possibility of “local power outages and outbreaks”. other essential services, such as water or cell phone service.”

The two agencies issued lower-level warnings earlier this week as large parts of the UK experienced higher-than-normal temperatures, despite cooler weather on Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to rise in the coming days as the system that brought record highs to parts of Europe this week moves north relative to England.

Professor Hannah Cloke, a natural hazards researcher at the University of Reading, said: “Even as a climate scientist studying this, this is scary. “This feels real. At the beginning of the week, I was worried about my goldfish getting too hot. Now I worry for the survival of my family and neighbors.”

Nigel Arnell, professor of climate systems science at the University of Reading, said Britain needed to prepare for hotter weather in the future, retrofit buildings to cope with extreme weather and plant more trees. greener in cities.

Adaptation and resilience should become a political priority, he said.

“We cannot continue to deal with extremes in a crisis regime,” Arnell said.

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