A health alert related to the escalating heat has been announced for the majority of England with the prediction that the mercury could ascend to as high as 32C (89.6F) during the middle of the week. The yellow alert flagged by the UK Health Security Agency presently applies to seven designated zones until 21:00 BST on Sunday. This serves as a cautionary note to older individuals and those afflicted with pre-existing health conditions to exercise extra precaution during this period.
Wales too will experience the brunt of the heat wave, in addition to select areas in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the mercury is anticipated to rocket to unprecedentedly high levels. The regions on the watch list include London, the South East, the South West, Midlands of both the East and West, in addition to the North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and the East.
The Met Office reports that on Monday, the southern belt of England and south-east Wales witnessed temperatures soaring to 30C. These hot spells occur on the heels of what has been, by and large, touted as the UK undergoing a particularly gloomy summer. The preceding month of July, in particular, recorded subpar levels of rain and cooler-than-average temperatures, with a steep drop in the mercury consistently failing to breach the 20C mark. However, just the month prior in June, the UK registered its highest temperatures on record.
Tuesday, in all its sweltering glory, is next in line with forecasts predicting sweltering conditions breaching the 31C milestone. “The week will be predominantly sunny marked by clear skies and intense heat, peaking particularly on Wednesday and Thursday, where temperatures look to nudge 31C, or potentially even 32C,” a spokesperson from the Met Office declared. He was quick to point out that these fiery temperatures are set to sweep across the UK, with the most unbearable heat primarily concentrated in the regions of south-east and central England.
Furthermore, he sounded a warning for an unusually warm Wednesday night, with the mercury potentially plateauing at a minimum of 20C, a threshold that marks a condition known as a “tropical night.” These tropical conditions may extend into Thursday, he forewarned.
Per the Met Office’s findings, tropical disturbances brewing in the far ends of the western Atlantic coupled with deep pockets of low pressure have effectively intensified the jet stream – high-velocity winds in the upper layers of the atmosphere – over the Atlantic Ocean. The resultant high pressure has assumed dominance over the UK. Forecasts project temperatures to spike to 31C come Friday, although, a smattering of potential clouds could bring chances of rain to the remote north-west regions of Scotland.
The meteorological conditions are subject to fluctuation over the weekend. Indications are vague regarding the likelihood of another bout of a rigorous heatwave following this.
As next week approaches, normal temperatures are set to make a comeback.
The recurrence and intensity of heatwaves have gained considerable momentum, primarily attributable to global warming.
The UK, last year, had the dubious distinction of recording temperatures over 40C for the very first time. Conversations with scientists lead to the conclusion that such extreme conditions would have been a near impossibility absent climate change.
The Met Office adds an interesting trivia to the mix, saying that the vivid and “picturesque” sunsets that the UK is being treated to in recent days is due to the presence of “Saharan dust” and forecasts indicate a future influx of this foreign material in parts of the country later this week.