UK heatwave: In the midst of a heat wave that has scorched much of Europe, Britain broke its record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Tuesday.
The UK’s national weather forecaster said such highs are now a reality in a nation unprepared for such extremes.
The UK”Met Office” Heathrow Airport and Coningsby in eastern England both recorded preliminary temperatures of 40.3 C and 40.2 C, respectively, exceeding the previous record of 39.1 C set in Surrey just hours earlier.
The UK’s highest temperature ever before Tuesday was 38.7C, which was attained in 2019. By later in the afternoon, 29 locations across Britain had surpassed the mark. Travel, healthcare, and education have all been hampered by the oppressive weather.
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The lack of air conditioning in many houses, small businesses, and even public institutions like hospitals is a sign of how rare this heat is in a nation better known for rain and mild weather.
One merchant saw a 1,300% surge in fan sales. In his career, British temperatures had not been something Stephen Belcher of the Met Office had anticipated.
According to research from the Met Office, it is practically impossible for the UK to experience temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius in an unaltered climate. However, climate change brought on by greenhouse gases has made these extreme temperatures possible.
Studies show that the likelihood of temperatures in the UK hitting 40°C is now 10 times higher than it was in the preindustrial age, prompting experts to warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather occurrences.
Due to the heat, London had a “massive rise” in fires, according to Mayor Sadiq Khan. Due to the potential of fire, the London fire service declared a “major incident” and advised residents not to conduct bonfires or barbecues.
The majority of the ten large fires listed there were grass fires. Images from Wennington, a town outside of London, showed houses engulfed in flames as smoke rose from burning fields.
According to authorities, the extreme heat that has been present since Monday has deformed a major motorway in eastern England and damaged the runway at London’s Luton airport, causing it to close for hours.
Major train stations were deserted or almost empty as a result of canceled or slow-moving trains due to the possibility that the tracks would give way. Due to the infrastructure’s inability to withstand excessively hot weather rails and overhead wire strains are particularly affected by high temperatures.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated that “some of our railways dates back 200 years.” Network Rail posted images of the tracks’ twists and kinks. The London Underground has also curtailed some of its operations because the majority of its stations lack air conditioning.