UK swelters in 40C+ heat on hottest ever day, ‘major’ fire in London
(Update: adds London fires, Sadiq Khan statements)
London, Jul 19 (EFE).- The United Kingdom registered its hottest ever day on Tuesday, with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) for the first time.
“For the first time ever, 40C has provisionally been exceeded in the UK,” the country’s Meteorological Office said in a statement.
London’s Heathrow airport recorded 40.2C at 12:50 local time on Tuesday, although temperatures were expected to climb further, the Met Office warned.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could also see new record highs on Tuesday, it added.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said in a tweet that the city’s fire brigade had declared a “major incident” as it tries to contain a “huge surge in fires” across the capital.
Khan, who echoed warnings from the Met Office that the record breaking heat would make way for heavy thunderstorms and potential flash floods on Wednesday, dismissed claims that the extreme weather events were “just the summer”.
“It’s the climate crisis,” he said.
The London Fire Brigade said 100 firefighters and 15 engines were tackling a blaze that had spread to a residential area of Wennington in the east of Greater London.
Much of England was on red alert, while the rest of the UK is on amber, one level below red, for extreme heat.
Authorities have urged the public to “keep hydrated”, to close the curtains at home and not to expose themselves to the sun in the middle of the day, as well as to avoid any unnecessary travel.
“With these historic temperatures today it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects,” the Met Office’s chief meteorologist Neil Armstrong said.
In the capital, Transport for London (TfL), the city’s transport network operator, asked people to avoid non-essential travel.
“Due to the very high temperatures predicted, temporary speed restrictions will need to be introduced on parts of the Tube and Rail network (…) as a precaution, which will mean a reduced service and could mean journeys take longer than usual,” TfL said in a statement.
Several rail services, especially between London and the north of England, have also been hit by cancellations. EFE