Red weather warning for extreme heat: Why it's not 'hype' or 'just summer'
Let's clear a few things up about this extreme heat forecast.
This is not "just summer" as many people are saying.
The average summer maximum temperature here in the UK is 23-24C. Temperatures in some parts of the country are set to be 16C higher than that through Monday and Tuesday.
This is not hype. The Met Office red and amber extreme heat warnings have been issued for a reason. Temperatures here in the UK rarely get above 35C and even then, in the past we have seen a steep rise in heat related illnesses and death.
We are now forecasting higher than that. Much higher. Temperatures are expected to exceed the UK national record of 38.7C with a 60% risk of exceeding 40C.
Not only will this impact our health but also the UK's infrastructure. Roads will melt. Railways will buckle. Wildfires will happen. Power networks will see an increase in demand and so will the water network too, where in some places there are reduced resources already.
The temperature at night will not drop below 20C and in some places it could hold up into the mid-twenties, 25-26C possibly. The UK highest overnight low on record is 23.9C which occurred in Brighton on 3rd August 1990. This is likely to be broken.
If your body can not cool down, you will suffer and could see problems such as heatstroke or heat stress.
If you're an employer, you should be considering not sending your staff to work especially if they have to use public transport. And if you're an employee, you should be asking your employer what to do in this hot weather.
Transport For London is strongly encouraging customers not to travel on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July unless it is essential. It's said "services are likely to be impacted by the predicted extreme hot weather conditions and we expect delays, cancellations and short notice changes to all our services".
It's common sense stuff. Stay well hydrated. Try to stay out of the midday sun between 11am-3pm as this is when the sun is at it's strongest. We need to look after each other and check on those who live alone.
Remember we measure the temperature in the shade and not in direct sunlight. If you're in the sun, temperatures are going to be unimaginable and you are likely to burn.
One last thing. Yes, people do go on holiday to temperatures higher than this and yes other countries do cope in this heat. Often, these people have either grown up with this heat and are used to working in it or if they're going on holiday, it's a choice they make and often air conditioning is available in countries where high temperatures occur.
For us, everyone in the UK, we do not have a choice and a lot of us don't have access to air con. This dangerous heat is coming. Listen to the advice and you'll be OK. Try and stay cool and drink plenty of water.
Remember homes in the UK are designed to retain heat, unlike homes in the Mediterranean which are built to disperse the heat and stay cool.