UK’s Hottest Day Ever Threatens 200-Year-Old Railways Network
The UK broke an unwelcome record on Tuesday when Heathrow in south-west London recorded a temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius on the hottest day ever experienced in the country.
The reading comes shortly after Surrey in southeastern England broke the record for the highest temperature since records began at 39 degrees Celsius. The previous record high was 38.7 degrees. C, set up in 2019 at Cambridge Botanic Gardens in eastern England.
The Meteorological Office said the measurements were temporary as temperatures are expected to rise even higher as other regions report their measurements at different times of the day.
The country had to brace for “unprecedented” temperatures on Tuesday after an ongoing heatwave led to the hottest night on record at 26 degrees Celsius in parts of London on Monday night. .
The Met Office’s red warning for danger to life from extreme heat remains in place for much of central, northern and southeastern England, including the capital. At least five people are believed to have drowned after trying to escape the heat in rivers and lakes.
“Tuesday will be a beautiful day ever, with mercury possibly reaching as high as 41 degrees Celsius at points in the UK. This will make it the hottest day on record and we’re seeing temperatures as high as 40C for the first time,” said Rachel Ayers, a Met Office forecaster.
“There is the potential for delays on the routes, with road closures, as well as possible delays and cancellations for trains and possibly problems with air travel. . This can pose a significant health risk for people stranded on routes or services during periods of heat,” she said.
A peak of 38.1C was reached in Suffolk, eastern England, on Monday, just short of the UK’s 38.7C record set in 2019. Scotland and Wales are also forecast to witness saw their hottest days on record after a scorching Monday, when the latter set a new high at 37.1C.
Network Rail issued a “no travel” warning on Tuesday, affecting services passing through a “red zone” in the Met Office’s warning map. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK’s rail network could not cope with the extreme heat, adding that it would take “years” before an upgrade meant services could handle the heat. hotter climates.
“The simple answer is no, the network can’t handle the heat right now,” he told the BBC.
“At 40C, the track can go up to 50C, 60C and even 70C, and there’s a serious risk of the track buckling and derailing terribly. We’re building new specifications, creating out overhead lines that can withstand higher temperatures, but with the best of will in the world, this is infrastructure that took decades to build, with some of our railroads has lasted 200 years,” he said.
The country’s infrastructure structured around frigid temperatures has struggled to withstand the extreme heat since the weekend. The runways at Luton and Brize Norton Airports of the Royal Air Force (RAF) were also affected by the heat on Monday, forcing planes to divert.
There have been warnings of pressure on hospitals and ambulance services as temperatures are set to peak on Tuesday. On Monday, some schools close before the scheduled annual summer break.
Water utilities in the south and east of England have warned that increased demand is leading to low pressure and even disruption to supplies to some households.
According to experts, heat waves tend to become more extreme due to human-caused climate change. The world has warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial era began, and temperatures are set to continue to rise unless carbon emissions are drastically cut.