London set to ‘be hotter than Caribbean’ amid UK heatwave

UK Health Security Agency issues Level 4 heat-health alert and Met Office puts first red extreme warning in place

People shield from the sun as they sit on a narrowboat at the Regent's Canal during the heatwave in London on Sunday. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

London is set to be hotter than the Caribbean, the Sahara and popular holiday destinations in Europe as temperatures soar this week.

The capital could have highs of 38ºC when the heatwave sweeps across England, the Meteorological Office said.

The rise in temperature has forced the UK Health Security Agency to issue a Level 4 heat-health alert – described as an “emergency”.

And the Met Office has issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning, with both running from Monday to Wednesday.

The capital’s scorching temperatures mean it will be warmer than Nassau in the Bahamas (32ºC), Kingston in Jamaica (33ºC), Malaga in Spain (28ºC), Athens in Greece (35ºC), Albufeira in Portugal (28C) and Dakhla in Morocco (24ºC).

Other areas of England will also experience hotter weather than the holiday destinations, with the Midlands predicted to see highs of 37ºC, East Anglia with 36ºC and the north-west and north-east with 33ºC.

Records were broken in Wales and Northern Ireland on Sunday. Hawarden, a village in northern Wales, reached 33ºC while Armagh in Northern Ireland hit 27.7ºC.

Tuesday is predicted to be even hotter, with temperatures possibly reaching 40ºC — a record for England.

Scientists at the Met Office have said the 40ºC prediction is a result of climate change, warning that it “could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence”.

Train companies have urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday, while some schools in several counties, including Nottinghamshire and Hampshire, have confirmed they will close.

Contingency support for ambulance services, such as more call handlers and extra working hours, have been put in place while the chairman of the NHS Confederation said hospitals are going to be “really, really pushed” over the next few days.

Britons are being urged to stay inside during the hottest points of the day, between 11am and 4pm, and wear suncream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated.

Emergency services have urged people to be cautious when cooling off, after the body of a boy was recovered in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Wildfires rage in France, Spain and Portugal as heatwave continues

Wildfires rage in France, Spain and Portugal as heatwave continues

And a search is under way after reports were made of a man seen in a river in Northumberland on Sunday.

“We were called at 4.12pm this afternoon to reports of concerns for someone in the water off Piper Road in Ovingham," said a North East Ambulance Service spokesman.

“We currently have seven resources on scene but are currently unable to provide any further information.”

Updated: July 18, 2022, 8:05 AM