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First ever red ‘extreme heat’ Met Office warning sits on England-Wales border

15 Jul 2022 6 minute read
People on the beach at Barry Island. Picture by Ben Birchall / PA Wire

All of Wales will be subject to an amber warning for ‘extreme heat’ on Monday and Tuesday, while a red ‘extreme weather’ will stretch from the borders of Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough all the way down to London.

The Met Office has warned that people’s lives could be at risk as it indicated it is likely that a new UK record temperature could be set early next week.

Meteorologists gave an 80% chance of the mercury topping the UK’s record temperature of 38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019, with the current heatwave set to peak on Tuesday.

In Wales, they warned the heat would lead to “widespread impacts on people and infrastructure”.

“Some exceptionally high temperatures are possible, both by day and by night, for Monday and Tuesday. This following a warm weekend, will likely bring widespread impacts to people and infrastructure,” they said.

In Wales they are warning of:

  • Population-wide adverse health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life.
  • Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines are likely to be required.
  • Delays on roads and road closures are possible, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with potential for significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays
  • Significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents

North Wales Police said a paddleboarder died after getting into difficulty in the water off Conwy Morfa beach on Thursday evening.

Officers were called at 10.14pm and attended alongside the coastguard, RNLI and ambulance service, with two casualties taken to hospital in Bangor, where one of them, a 24-year-old woman, died.

The force said the local coroner has been informed, and specialist officers will be supporting the family of the deceased.

‘Very serious’

In England, the heat is set to rise further still, with a 50% chance of temperatures reaching 40C somewhere in the UK, likely along the A1 corridor.

The UK Health Security Agency has increased its heat health warning from level three to level four – a “national emergency”.

Level four is reached “when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system… At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups,” it said.

The Met Office red warning, for Monday and Tuesday, covers an area from London up to Manchester, and up to the Vale of York.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “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.

“This is a very serious situation.”

He said there is an 80% chance of the all-time UK temperature record being broken, and a 50% chance of temperatures of 40C being reached somewhere in the UK.

“Most likely that would be within the red warning area for extreme heat,” said Mr Madge.

“Probably the most likely areas to look at would be north of London and up to Lincolnshire, inland. Somewhere like Peterborough, Grantham, Sandy, Stevenage, those sorts of areas, A1 corridor.”

He said that temperatures reaching 40C would be a “historic event”.

“If we get to 40C that’s a very iconic threshold and shows that climate change is with us now,” he said.

“This is made much more likely because of climate change.”

‘Health-threatening’

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said: “Each year, the effects of climate breakdown are becoming more evident and more severe.

“Without meaningful Government intervention, millions of Brits, particularly older people and young children, will be at increasing risk from health-threatening heatwaves like the one we’re experiencing.”

A No 10 spokesman said railway speed restrictions may be needed on “some parts of the network next week to manage the hot weather and to avoid any potential damage”.

Jake Kelly, of Network Rail, warned that journeys will take “significantly longer and delays are likely as speed restrictions are introduced to keep passengers and railway staff safe”, urging people to travel only if absolutely necessary on Monday and Tuesday.

Downing Street said that that Cobra met on Thursday amid the heatwave, and discussions with sectors including the NHS will “continue to work closely with all of those sectors over today, through the weekend and into early next week”.

Llangrannog in Ceredigion. Picture by Llinos Dafydd

‘Melting’

Meanwhile, motorists have been advised to try to make their journeys outside of the hottest periods of the day, particularly if they have older cars.

Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, said: “There are reports of road gritters being out this weekend to reduce the chances of our roads melting.

“If it does get sticky on the roads there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a jam with the mercury rising, so make sure you carry plenty of water – at least a litre per person – and sufficient fuel, or if you’re driving an electric vehicle (EV) – make sure you have plenty of charge so you can use the air-conditioning when needed.”

Tim Doran, from the RNLI Water Safety Team said the service was anticipating a “busy weekend” for its lifeboat crews and lifeguards.

“If you are planning on going to the beach, we would encourage you to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags,” he said.

The force said the local coroner has been informed, and specialist officers will be supporting the family of the deceased.

Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice.


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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
4 months ago

Great pic, that top one!!

Eifion
Eifion
4 months ago

Surely you don’t have to be an uncle Tomos on this site,. No wonder independence isn’t where it should be.
What other country in the world feels they need to put a neighbouring country ahead of their own whenever mentioned together.
Try saying the Wales-England border instead, now doesn’t that feel better.

Jack
Jack
4 months ago
Reply to  Eifion

That fact that, of all the things in the world to worry about, you’re whining about this tells us everything we need to know about what an out-of-touch, overprivileged obsessive you are.

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