UK News

The heat is on in UK

The highest temperature was recorded as the country sweltered in heat that also scorched mainland Europe for the past week. Travel, health care and schools were disrupted in a country not prepared for such extremes…reports Asian Lite News

Britain on Tuesday shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered, with a provisional reading of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the country’s weather office. The heat was only expected to rise.

The United Kingdom had previously recorded the highest temperature at 38.7 C (101.7 F) in 2019. The new record was set in Charlwood, England.

“Temperatures are likely to rise further through today,’’ the country’s forecaster said.

The highest temperature was recorded as the country sweltered in heat that also scorched mainland Europe for the past week. Travel, health care and schools were disrupted in a country not prepared for such extremes.

London in the South and Manchester and Leeds in the North remained under the “extreme” heat warning on Tuesday. The “extreme” warning means there is danger of death.

Britain’s Supreme Court moved its hearings online after a problem with the air conditioning. Many public buildings, including hospitals, don’t have air conditioning, showing how 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 for the past one week, triggering wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths.

Images of flames racing toward a French beach and Britons sweltering — even at the seaside — have driven home concerns about climate change.

The weather office has also said that the overnight temperatures will remain above 25 C (77 F) in parts of the country for the first time.

As the heat rose in several parts of the country, many people coped with the heat wave by staying at their homes, as a result, the road traffic was down from its usual levels.

Trains ran at low speed. London’s Kings Cross Station was empty on Tuesday, with no trains on the busy east coast line connecting the capital to the north and Scotland.

London’s Luton Airport had to close its runway because of heat damage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country’s transport infrastructure, some of it dating from Victorian times, “just wasn’t built to withstand this type of temperature — and it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could.”

At least five people died from drowning while trying to cool off in lakes and rivers.

Amid the ongoing heatwave in the United Kingdom, flights on Monday had to be suspended at various sites as the hot weather caused runways to ‘melt’.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) suspended flights into and out of the Brize Norton base near Oxfordshire. Sky News reported that the situation was due to the extreme UK heat “melting the runways”. The RAF later informed that the flights were being rerouted through bases that are safe to operate in. The officials also stated that standard military business had not been impacted.

On Monday, Luton Airport in London also halted all flights due to melting tarmac. Taking Twitter, the international airport, which is used by airlines including EasyJet and Ryanair, apologised for the inconvenience caused.

In a statement, the officials said, “Following today’s high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway.” It added repair works are currently in progress in order to resume operations as soon as possible.

Air travel is not the only form of mass transit altering its operation in the nation. The Network Rail has imposed slower speed limits on trains amid soaring temperatures. This came after it was reported earlier this month that train tracks caught fire on a bridge in London after a spark ignited timber beams.

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a massive heatwave. A national emergency has been declared by the UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office has issued its first-ever red warnings for extreme heat, Sky News reported. Officials have urged people to avoid all non-essential travel and even warned of major disruption to journeys by train and car.

In Spain and neighbouring Portugal, at least 748 heat-related deaths have been reported due to the heat wave.

Wildfires have continued in Gironde region of southwestern France.

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