Maximum temperatures of at least 40C are expected in England this afternoon - but could rise even further to as high as 43C

UK weather: Temperatures are set to hit 43C on the hottest day in UK history

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Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record today as temperatures soar past 40C (104F) amid growing travel chaos as schools close again and millions of people responded to the chaos by working from home.

The Met Office has confirmed that last night was the warmest night on record in Britain, with temperatures not falling below 25C (77F) in many areas of England and Wales. The highest overnight minimum was 25.9C (78.6F) at Emley Moor in West Yorkshire – smashing the previous record of 23.9C (75F) in Brighton set on August 3, 1990.

Temperatures had already hit 30C (86F) at 8.30am today in London and Manchester. As early as 6am today, it was 27C (81F) in parts of South East England, 24C (75F) in the South West and 22C (72F) in the Midlands. 

Forecasters expect an absolute peak of 43C (109F) in central or eastern England today – one day after Wales had its hottest day ever with 37.1C (99F) in Hawarden, Flintshire, beating a record set in the same village in 1990. 

The mercury peaked in the UK at 38.1C (100.6F) in Suffolk yesterday, making it the hottest day of 2022 and the third hottest day on record, after 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge in 2019 and 38.5C (101.3F) in Kent in August 2003.

Network Rail and train operators upgraded their travel advice for services heading north out of London into the red warning area to ‘do not travel’, saying there will be no services in or out of London King’s Cross all day today. 

The heat has brought major rail chaos for commuters around the capital, with no Thameslink or Great Northern trains running in any location north of London, from Blackfriars via St Pancras, or from King’s Cross or Moorgate.

LNER will run no trains from south of York and south of Leeds to King’s Cross – and Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are among the operators running significantly reduced services.

On the London Underground, there was no Hammersmith & City line, no Metropolitan line between Baker Street and Aldgate due to ‘heat-related speed restrictions’, and severe delays on the Central and District lines.

There was also no Overground between Willesden Junction and Richmond or Romford and Upminster, while there were delays on other Overground lines, the Jubilee line and the western and eastern parts of the Elizabeth line.

Transport for London said London’s rail network will be running a reduced service throughout today due to safety restrictions put into place to deal with the heat, and Gatwick Express trains were completely suspended.

Network Rail had previously warned customers to travel only if ‘absolutely necessary’ today – while Merseyrail said the number of trains running and journey times will be ‘seriously affected’, with some routes closed completely.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told people across Britain today to ‘apply common sense’ and ‘depending on the nature of your journey and reason for it, you might want to consider rearranging your day around it’. 

But the sight of parts of the UK shutting down sparked a backlash, with complaints that ministers and health chiefs were ‘acting like nanny’ – while holidaymakers were delayed yesterday as a part of runway at Luton Airport melted.

With the UK’s first ever red warning for extreme heat still predicted to see the 40C (104F) barrier broken for the first time ever today, normal life was on hold in parts of the country as:

  • At least 171 schools closed, with teachers claiming learning was impossible in sweltering classrooms;
  • Hospitals cancelled appointments and non-urgent operations as operating theatres turned into ovens;
  • Royal Mail workers were told to return to sorting offices with undelivered mail amid fears they would fall ill;
  • Experts recommended avoiding the beach and holding off exercising until the extreme heat has passed;
  • Commuter numbers on roads and railways were down by up to a fifth, and tracks on some lines buckled;
  • There was a spate of water-related tragedies, including a 13-year-old boy’s body pulled from the River Tyne;
  • A 50-fold increase in demand for fans alongside a boom for bottled water, ice lollies and canned cocktails;
  • Water companies raised the prospect of hosepipe bans amid fears of a summer drought.

Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said: ‘The temperature will be very hot throughout the day, before rising as high as 40C, maybe even 41C in isolated spots across England during the afternoon.

Maximum temperatures of at least 40C are expected in England this afternoon - but could rise even further to as high as 43C

Maximum temperatures of at least 40C are expected in England this afternoon – but could rise even further to as high as 43C

Forecasters at MetDesk produced this map revealing where the top temperatures are likely to be observed in Britain today

Forecasters at MetDesk produced this map revealing where the top temperatures are likely to be observed in Britain today

Forecasters at MetDesk produced this map revealing where the top temperatures are likely to be observed in Britain today

The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures as shown in this map

The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures as shown in this map

The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures as shown in this map

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a huge grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a huge grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a huge grass fire came within feet of homes

People walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning ahead of another very hot day at the seaside

People walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning ahead of another very hot day at the seaside

People walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning ahead of another very hot day at the seaside

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

A group of men go for a paddle early this morning at Bournemouth beach as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

A group of men go for a paddle early this morning at Bournemouth beach as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

A group of men go for a paddle early this morning at Bournemouth beach as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

People sleep on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People sleep on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People sleep on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Trains to London King's Cross from Edinburgh Waverley station are cancelled due to hot weather this morning

Trains to London King's Cross from Edinburgh Waverley station are cancelled due to hot weather this morning

Trains to London King’s Cross from Edinburgh Waverley station are cancelled due to hot weather this morning

The sun rises over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

The sun rises over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

The sun rises over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

Two women carry water across Bournemouth beach early this morning as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Two women carry water across Bournemouth beach early this morning as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Two women carry water across Bournemouth beach early this morning as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

A man sleeping at London Bridge railway station this morning as temperatures are set to climb to 40C today

A man sleeping at London Bridge railway station this morning as temperatures are set to climb to 40C today

A man sleeping at London Bridge railway station this morning as temperatures are set to climb to 40C today

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Early morning swimmers and paddleboarders cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today

Early morning swimmers and paddleboarders cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today

Early morning swimmers and paddleboarders cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A man drinks from a bottle of water on the Jubilee line this morning as commuters use the London Underground to get to work

A man drinks from a bottle of water on the Jubilee line this morning as commuters use the London Underground to get to work

A man drinks from a bottle of water on the Jubilee line this morning as commuters use the London Underground to get to work

Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset this morning at the start of what could be the hottest day on record

Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset this morning at the start of what could be the hottest day on record

Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset this morning at the start of what could be the hottest day on record

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Two women walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach this morning as people arrive early at the Dorset coast

Two women walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach this morning as people arrive early at the Dorset coast

Two women walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach this morning as people arrive early at the Dorset coast

‘This will make it the hottest day on record and the first time we have seen temperatures as high as 40C.

‘There are likely to be delays on roads, with road closures, as well as possible delays and cancellations to trains and maybe issues with air travel. This could pose a significant health risk to those stuck on services or roads during the heat.’

Boy, 14, believed to have drowned in River Thames

A 14-year-old boy is missing and is believed to have drowned after getting into difficulty in the Thames in west London.

Emergency services and the Government have reiterated urgent warnings about the dangers of trying to keep cool after several tragedies in waterways and reservoirs during the heatwave.

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At just before 5pm yesteday, the Metropolitan Police were alerted by London Ambulance Service to reports that a child had entered the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton, Richmond.

Despite a search by officers, paramedics, London Fire Brigade and members of the public, efforts to find the boy were unsuccessful and the rescue operation was brought to an end at 6.40pm.

Efforts to recover his body will continue into the evening, with the boy’s next of kin aware and being supported by specialist officers.

Superintendent Richard Smith, from the South West Command Unit, said: ‘Despite the very best efforts of all involved, we must now sadly conclude that this young boy has died. His death is a tragedy and I cannot begin to imagine what his family will be going through. 

‘All our thoughts are with them. I know that on days like today when temperatures are at a record high, it might look appealing to jump in and cool off in rivers, reservoirs, lakes or other open water.

‘Please don’t. The dangers are real and this evening in Richmond we have seen the terrible consequences of what happens when it goes wrong. To young people in particular, I would urge you to be the person in your group of friends who says no and reminds others about the dangers. Your intervention could save a life and save another family from experiencing such an awful loss.’

Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: ‘Our thoughts are with the teenager’s family and friends. Please don’t go into open water during this heatwave, it can be incredibly dangerous as the water is a lot colder than you’d expect. Anything below 15C is defined as cold water, and on average the UK and Ireland sea temperatures are just 12C. Rivers such as the Thames are colder – even in the summer.’

It came after the family of 13-year-old Robert Hattersley said they were ‘absolutely devastated’ after he died when he got into trouble in the River Tyne in Northumberland on Sunday.

Emergency services also confirmed the deaths of a 16-year-old boy in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, a 16-year-old boy in Bray Lake near Maidenhead, Berkshire, and a 50-year-old man in a reservoir near Leeds in similar circumstances.

Detective Inspector Phil Hughes, of Leeds CID, said: ‘This incident (in Leeds) serves as a timely reminder about the dangers of swimming in open water.’

Northumbria Police said Robert’s death in Ovingham ‘does act as a poignant and timely reminder as to the potential dangers presented by water’.

The Crawcrook teenager’s family said: ‘It is impossible to put into words the heartbreak we are feeling. Robert was so kind and loving. We are absolutely devastated by what has happened. He brought a smile to so many people’s faces and he will be missed by absolutely everyone who knew and loved him. We’d like to thank all the emergency services who worked so hard to try to find Robert, as well as everyone who has been in touch passing on their messages of condolence.’

Police said Robert’s body was found after an extensive search, which started shortly before 4.15pm on Sunday.

Newly appointed Health Secretary Steve Barclay warned of ‘significant dangers’ for people tempted to swim in a river to cool off amid the soaring temperatures. Asked whether the public should be outside and visiting beaches, Mr Barclay told reporters people should use ‘common sense’ and follow the advice of public health experts. That meant ‘hydration, covering up, being in the shade, avoiding the times of the day when heat is at its peak’.

He added: ‘There is a particular message, particularly for teenagers, children, some of those who may be tempted to go for a swim – there’s significant dangers of that, quite often when people go swimming in rivers when we have very hot weather. So it’s following common sense steps and keeping an eye on neighbours and those who are vulnerable, and following the guidance that’s been put out by the relevant bodies.’

Forecasters and NHS leaders have warned that thousands of people – even those who are fit and healthy – could die during the ‘ferocious’ heatwave, urging them to do ‘as little as possible’.

But in a furious backlash, senior Tory MPs claimed people were becoming ‘frightened of the heat’. Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Great British common sense should be allowed to prevail’.

‘I long for the day when the Government stops acting like Nanny telling everyone what to do, every institution panicking and the BBC telling us we’re all going to die,’ he said yesterday.

‘If it’s very hot, just give people advice – wear a hat, wear sun lotion, drink a lot of liquid. If you go to Italy or France, they don’t just stop everything because it’s hot.’

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense group of backbench Tory MPs, said we were entering ‘a cowardly new world where we live in a country where we are frightened of the heat’.

‘It is not surprising that in snowflake Britain, the snowflakes are melting,’ he added. ‘Thankfully, most of us are not snowflakes.’

Former Tory Health Minister Edwina Currie warned against ‘too much hectoring’.

She called on the Government to promote ‘more positive messages’ in hot weather, such as going to work and school early in the morning and ‘having a siesta’ to stay out of the sun.

Former Northern Ireland First Minister Dame Arlene Foster branded the warnings ‘Government over-reach’, add-ing that ‘all of this started with Covid regulations’.

She told BBC Politics Live people now ‘expect the Government to tell them how to live their lives, which I think is absolutely wrong’.

Tory donor and Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins claimed the push to stay away from work due to hot weather risked damaging an already fragile economy.

‘The only reason they want to be at home is so they can sit in the sun,’ he told Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show. ‘It’s another excuse. Just go to work, get on with your job.

‘If we put up with this, we’re going to open the floodgates for all the snowflakes. They’re not going to come to work, whether it’s too foggy, too wet, too rainy, windy, (or) storms are coming.’

Scotland and Northern Ireland also experienced their warmest days of the year so far yesterday with 31.3C (88.3F) recorded in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, and 31.1C (88F) in Derrylin, County Fermanagh.

After Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab urged the country to ‘enjoy the sunshine’ and be ‘resilient enough through some of the pressures it will place’, beaches were thronged yesterday.

Meanwhile commuter numbers plummeted across England – with a corresponding rise in visitor numbers to sea-side resorts.

It suggested that millions of people had heeded Cabinet Office Minister Kit Malthouse, who said ‘this may be a moment to work from home’ – or taken the day off altogether.

After more than a dozen train companies advised passengers to travel only if it is ‘absolutely necessary’, Network Rail said the number using major stations across Britain yesterday was around 20 per cent down on the week be-fore.

Rail tracks buckled in London’s Vauxhall in the heat – resulting in a safety inspection on the line that caused disruption between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 

And operator Great Northern said a buckled rail at Watlington in Norfolk meant services could not run between Cambridge and Kings Lynn.

Predictions of long tailbacks as road surfaces melted in the heat also took effect, with location technology firm TomTom recording congestion at 9am down by up to 11 per cent in major UK cities.

Lincolnshire Police said road surface temperatures topping 50C caused parts of the A159 to melt.

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Transport for London – which advised people to ‘only travel if essential’ – said Tube passenger numbers were down 18 per cent on the previous Monday.

Meanwhile bus journeys in the capital were down ten per cent week-on-week.

Retail analysts Springboard reported a similar fall in Central London footfall yesterday, with 11 per cent fewer peo-ple in regional cities – but a nine per cent boost in visitors to coastal towns.

‘People are clearly working at home today as advised,’ said the firm’s insights director, Diane Wehrle.

A number of small shops around the country closed early for the day or have closed completely until tomorrow. These included several groups of charity shops, while hairdressers, cafes and chip shops put up the closed signs.

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter pickers on Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter pickers on Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter pickers on Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on chairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on chairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on chairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

In Durham, Woofs and Cuts dog groomers shut because it was ‘unsafe for any dogs to be in the hot conditions and for the journey to the appointment’.

Heatwave could lead to devastating wildfires 

Experts are worried about the possibility of major wildfires tearing through the countryside as temperatures threaten to soar as high as 40C.

Wildlife would be ‘devastated’ by such a blaze, with one expert suggesting Britain could face conditions similar to those taking hold in southern Europe.

Patches of England were at ‘exceptional risk’ of wildfires on Monday, the Met Office said, with an alert spreading to most of the country for Tuesday.

‘I haven’t even seen the exceptional category being used in the times I’ve looked at the Wildfire Index before,’ Kathryn Brown, the Wildlife Trust’s director for climate action, said. ‘In southern Europe, we’re seeing these stories of these horrendous wildfires taking hold all over the place and these are the conditions that we’re going to be more prone to.

‘We need to be much more aware, and the public needs to be much more aware, of the wildfire risk.’

Blazes across France, Spain, Portugal and Greece have levelled thousands of acres of land and forced the evacuation of locals and holidaymakers.

The National Trust has warned against lighting barbecues or campfires in open countryside and dropping litter such as glass bottles.

‘We’re on tenterhooks that someone is careless with a cigarette butt or thoughtless by lighting barbecues and us having to deal with a wildfire,’ the charity’s conservation head Ben McCarthy said. ‘They destroy the habitat they rip through and also all the animals and plants that occur there and make up those habitats.

‘At the Marsden Moor (in West Yorkshire) fire back in 2019, when we surveyed the site after the flames had been extinguished, we saw lots of burnt-out reptiles and amphibians, burnt-out nests.’

Rainfall has been scarce recently, with less than 1mm recorded in the north east and north west between July 6 and 12, with none across the rest of England.

Along with making wildfires more likely, the RSPB is worried about the harm to bird populations over the next couple of days.

‘The birds that we see in our own gardens will really struggle because we’ve lost many natural sources of water over the past century,’ the charity’s Anna Feeney said. ‘A lot of ponds and wetlands have been drained for various reasons on farmland or just out on the wider landscape.’

She urged homeowners to put out basins of water so birds can drink and clean themselves.

Fish are also at risk, according to the Environment Agency, with the heat triggering deadly algal blooms which reduce oxygen levels in streams and ponds. Anyone who finds distressed fish should avoid moving them and report them to an incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

At Wapping Wharf, Bristol, fashion and gift shop Frankly explained: ‘Our shop is in a metal box and it gets VERY hot in there.’ 

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But the British Retail Consortium said major chains tend to have air conditioning, which protects staff and shoppers.

Meanwhile several ambulance trusts reported normal call volumes for a Monday as NHS medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis insisted ‘the overwhelming majority of NHS services are continuing to run’.

Flights were suspended at London Luton Airport for around two hours before engineers managed to repair what was described as a ‘surface defect’ on the runway.

Activity was also halted at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, with Sky News reporting that part of the runway had melted.

There are also warnings of wildfires, with people warned not to use barbecues or leave litter that could spark fires in the countryside. 

A dramatic aerial photographs showed a huge area of farmland near Chesterfield in Derbyshire left charred and blackened by a fierce blaze.

Zoos and wildlife parks closed to protect animals, staff and visitors.

And Royal Mail warned there could be disruption to post deliveries, saying in a statement: ‘In areas where tem-peratures rise to potentially dangerous levels during the day, our staff have been advised to return to the office with any mail they have been unable to deliver and not put themselves under any risk of falling ill due to the extreme heat. The safety of our staff is paramount during this time.’

Water companies also said they were experiencing ‘unprecedented peak demand’, with people encouraged to ‘carefully consider’ their water usage and urged not to waste it.

Met Office chief executive Professor Penelope Endersby said a summer drought was a real threat after the first half of 2022 was drier than average.

Thames Water’s demand reduction manager, Andrew Tucker, admitted the firm was getting through water sup-plies ‘faster than we would like’.

While no restrictions are currently planned, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the situation ‘may change’ if the weather remains dry.

Elsewhere, council gritters were on stand-by to spread light dustings of sand on melting roads.

The RAC anticipated that the number of vehicle breakdowns on Monday and Tuesday could be up to a fifth higher than normal.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a high pollution alert in place in the eastern parts of England and the East Midlands, meaning EU ozone pollution thresholds have been exceeded.

It comes as a 14-year-old boy is missing and believed to have drowned yesterday afternoon after getting into difficulty in the Thames in Richmond, west London.

The teenager was seen entering the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton and, after a search took place, he was presumed dead, with officers calling the incident a ‘tragedy’.

Emergency services and the Government have reiterated urgent warnings about the dangers of trying to keep cool after several tragedies in waterways and reservoirs during the heatwave.

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Early morning paddleboarders at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning paddleboarders at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning paddleboarders at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

A temperature of more than 30C is recorded on the Jubilee line in London this morning as commuters travel to work

A temperature of more than 30C is recorded on the Jubilee line in London this morning as commuters travel to work

A temperature of more than 30C is recorded on the Jubilee line in London this morning as commuters travel to work

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The skyline of the City of London during sunrise this morning amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The skyline of the City of London during sunrise this morning amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The skyline of the City of London during sunrise this morning amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters wait for the doors to close on board the sweltering Jubilee line this morning on the London Underground

Commuters wait for the doors to close on board the sweltering Jubilee line this morning on the London Underground

Commuters wait for the doors to close on board the sweltering Jubilee line this morning on the London Underground

The sun rises behind the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today on what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises behind the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today on what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises behind the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today on what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over blades of grass in London today as Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over blades of grass in London today as Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over blades of grass in London today as Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today as  Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today as  Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today as  Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises from behind an apartment block in East London today amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises from behind an apartment block in East London today amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises from behind an apartment block in East London today amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

It came as the family of 13-year-old Robert Hattersley said they were ‘absolutely devastated’ after he died when he got into trouble in the River Tyne in Northumberland on Sunday.

Emergency services also confirmed the deaths of a 16-year-old boy in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, a 16-year-old boy in Bray Lake near Maidenhead, Berkshire, and a 50-year-old man in a reservoir near Leeds in similar circumstances.

There have been warnings of pressures on hospitals from the extreme temperatures, and concerns ambulance services would face rising numbers of calls as the heat peaks on Tuesday afternoon.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level 4 heat-health alert – described as an ’emergency’ – and the UK is under its first red extreme heat warning for a large part of England, issued by the Met Office.

Britons have been urged to stay inside during the hottest period of the day, between 11am and 4pm, and wear sun cream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated with water – and there are warnings about swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

While the extreme heat will continue today, a band of rain will bring an end to the sweltering conditions tomorrow.

But Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said: ‘I’ve been a qualified meteorologist for ten years, and telling people about 41C in the UK doesn’t seem real.’

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