UK breaks record for highest temperature as heat builds

UK breaks record for highest temperature as heat builds

LONDON (AP) – Britain broke its record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Tuesday, with a provisional reading of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the country’s weather agency – and it was only expected that the heat would warm up increases.

The highest temperature previously recorded in the UK was 38.7C (101.7F), a record set in 2019. Tuesday’s record was set in Charlwood, England.

“Temperatures will probably continue to rise until today,” said the meteorologist.

The high Tuesday came as the country sweltered in heat that has also scorched mainland Europe for the past week. Travel, healthcare and schools have all been disrupted in a country unprepared for such extremes.

A huge swath of England, from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north, remained under the country’s first “extreme” heat warning on Tuesday, meaning even the healthy are at risk of death.

The UK Supreme Court has been closed to visitors after an air conditioning problem forced it to move hearings online. The British Museum planned to close early. Many public buildings, including hospitals, have no air conditioning, a reflection of how unusual such extreme heat is in the country better known for rain and mild temperatures.

Unusually hot, dry weather has gripped large parts of the continent since last week, sparking wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and resulting in hundreds of heat-related deaths. Images of flames racing towards a French beach and British sultry — even by the sea — have driven home concerns about climate change.

Britain’s Met Office also reported that preliminary figures showed the temperature stayed above 25C (77F) overnight in parts of the country for the first time.

Many people coped with the heatwave by staying put. Road traffic was down from its usual level on Monday. Trains ran at low speeds out of concern that rails might buckle or not run at all. London’s Kings Cross railway station, one of the country’s busiest rail hubs, was empty on Tuesday with no trains running on the busy east coast line linking the capital to the north and Scotland. London’s Luton Airport has had to close its runway due to heat damage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain’s transport infrastructure, some of which dates back to the Victorian era, “simply wasn’t built to withstand that kind of temperature – and it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with that kind of infrastructure.” who could do this.”

At least five people have reportedly drowned in rivers, lakes and reservoirs across the UK trying to cool off.

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing that temperatures in the UK are now 10 times more likely to reach 40C (104F) than they were in the pre-industrial era. Drought and heatwaves associated with climate change have also made fighting wildfires more difficult.

In southern Europe, the dangers of extreme heat were shown. At least 748 heat-related deaths were reported in the heatwave in Spain and neighboring Portugal, where temperatures hit 47C (117F) earlier this month.

In the Gironde region of south-west France, wildfires continued to spread through cinder-dry pine forests, thwarting efforts by more than 2,000 firefighters and depth-bomb planes.

More than 37,000 people have been evacuated from homes and summer resorts since the fires broke out on July 12, burning down 190 square kilometers (more than 70 square miles) of forest and vegetation, Gironde authorities said.

A smaller third fire broke out in the Medoc wine region north of Bordeaux late Monday, further straining firefighting resources. Five campsites went up in flames in the Atlantic Seaboard beach zone where flames raged, around the Arcachon sea basin famous for its oysters and resorts.

Weather forecasts offered some comfort, however, as heatwave temperatures eased along the Atlantic Seaboard on Tuesday and the possibility of late-day rain was expected.

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Associated Press writer John Leicester of Le Pecq, France contributed to this story.

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Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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