The Met Office of Britain has issued its first-ever “red” warning for very high temperatures, stating that early next week’s record high temperatures will put even healthy individuals in danger of severe sickness and death.
According to the agency, the warning applies to Monday and Tuesday, when England may see its first 40 °C (104 °F) temperature. 38.7C (101.7F) was the hottest temperature recorded in the United Kingdom in 2019.
“We hoped we wouldn’t get to this problem, but for the first time ever, we are forecasting more than 40°C in the U.K.,” Nikos Christidis, a Met Office scientist, stated. “In a recent study, we got to know that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the U.K. has been spiking and will continue to do so in the course of the century, with the most extreme mercury level expected to be seen in southeast England.”
The U.K. Health Security Agency increased its own alert to the highest level, warning of a “national emergency.”
“At this level, illness, as well as death, may occur among the fit and healthy, not just in high-risk groups,” UKHSA mentioned in the statement.
Although colder weather predominated on Thursday and Friday, the two agencies issued lower-level warnings earlier this week as several areas of the U.K. endured higher-than-normal temperatures. Prior to reaching their apex on Monday and Tuesday, temperatures are predicted to rise throughout the weekend.
The weather alert, which surrounds a big chunk of England from London north to Manchester, also alerts of potential disruption to air & rail travel as well as potential “localized loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services.”
“If people have vulnerable relatives or neighbours, now is the time to make sure they’re putting suitable measures in place to be able to cope with the heat because if the forecast is as we think it will be in the red warning area, then people’s lives are at risk,” Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said. “This is a dire situation.”