Monday, December 4, 2023

First ‘Red’ Extreme Heat Warning Issued by Met Office as Temperatures Rise

In a potential record breaking first for the UK, temperatures of up to 40°C have been forecast, leading the Met Office to issue the first ever Red warning for exceptional heat.

Though temperatures across Derbyshire are likely to be lower, exceptional heat is expected to affect the region with temperatures to be in the high 30s C.

The Red Extreme heat national severe weather warning will cover Monday and Tuesday (18th and 19th July) for parts of central, northern, eastern and southeastern England.

It is advised that people stay hydrated, look out for vulnerable people, keep curtains closed and stay out of the sun, particularly  in the middle of the day.

Met Office: July 16

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen, said “Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely early next week, quite widely across the red warning area on Monday, and focussed a little more east and north on Tuesday. Currently there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40°C and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached.

“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”

The impact of climate change

Whilst extreme temperatures can occur naturally in the UK, they are becoming more common due to changes in the climate. The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.

“We hoped we wouldn’t get to this situation but for the first time ever we are forecasting greater than 40°C in the UK. “Climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, Dr Nikos Christidis, said “In a recent study we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century, with the most extreme temperatures expected to be observed in the southeast of England.

What comes next?

After Tuesday temperatures are expected to start to return closer to normal for the time of year as cooler air pushes across the country from the west.

Top tips for staying safe in hot weather:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down
  • check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging

You can find more advice on how to keep your home cool here and staying safe in extreme heat here.

The NHS website has more information on heat exhaustion and heat stroke.