The imminent arrival of the year’s hottest day is predicted within the next two days, with several regions within United Kingdom currently grappling with scorching heatwave conditions. West Yorkshire, Cornwall, Devon, and Wales have all crossed the concerning threshold this Tuesday, according to reports released by the Met Office. However, this Tuesday’s peak temperatures fell short of June’s highest recorded 32.2C (90F).
With the relentless heat, an immediate upgrade to amber for heat-health alerts has been announced across most parts of England, with the North East region being the only exception, sustaining a yellow alert. These warnings imply potential health risks to individuals of all age groups, in turn stressing an imminent threat to the capacity of the National Health Service (NHS).
Amy Bokota, a meteorologist associated with the Met Office, declared that 13 stations have already logged an official record of the current heatwave, with the anticipation of several others joining the list in the upcoming days. She suggests that a furthur surge of temperatures up to 32C on Wednesday is expected, possibly touching a peak of 33C on Thursday. For some southern locations, this 32C heatwave may continue until Sunday.
Heatwave criteria is achieved when a location experiences the heatwave threshold temperature for at least three uninterrupted days. This heatwave threshold temperature spans between 25C and 28C across varying areas in the UK. Elevated temperatures will be prevalent in Wales, and regions of Scotland and Northern Ireland may be subjected to unusually high temperatures.
The amber warning includes various English regions such as London, the South East, the South West, the East and West Midlands, the East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber. Initially, these eight regions were issued a yellow warning but have since been upgraded. Currently, the North East is the only region sustaining a yellow alert, signifying the need for extra precautions especially for the elderly and individuals with existing health conditions, while also indicating a minimal predicted impact on the local NHS.
On Monday, the mercury touched 30C in southern England and south-eastern Wales. This spike in temperatures follows a largely damp, cool summer period across the UK. Although July was largely cooler, June observed record high temperatures. As Tuesday sees the continuation of warm conditions, London is expected to record temperatures around 31C.
Oli Claydon, a spokesperson from the Met Office, suggested that the warm temperatures would be distributed widely across the UK with south-eastern and central England experiencing the most intense conditions. He also cautioned about potential ‘tropical nights’, referring to night temperatures not falling below the 20C mark, especially on Wednesday and Thursday.
Another likely event by Friday is a 31C mark. However, the far north-west of Scotland might witness cloudier weather and possible rainfall. As the weekend approaches, changes in weather conditions are predicted and there’s currently no evidence of another intense heatwave aftermath.
Experts attribute the increased likelihood and extremity of heatwaves to climate change. Last year, the UK observed temperatures exceeding 40C for the first time, a record considered improbable without the influence of climate change.
Adding to this, the Met Office associates the recent picturesque sunsets throughout the UK to Saharan dust, which has swept through parts of the nation over the past days and is expected to continue drifting throughout the week.