Hot weather alert for weekend upgraded - what does this mean for you?

ITV News' Amy Lewis reports on the issued heat health alert as the hottest weekend of the year so far kicks off

A hot weather alert is in place across the whole of England from Friday, lasting until Monday.

Temperatures are to reach up to 30 degrees in some areas but it will not be wall to wall sunshine all weekend.

Thanks to the heat, parts of the UK could be battered by more than 60mm of rainfall in just a few hours on Sunday and two weather warnings for thunderstorms are to come into force between 2pm and 9pm on both days of the weekend.

Forecasters have warned of the potential for sudden flooding on roads and of homes and businesses.

While the sunshine is to make the UK hotter than holiday hotspots like Ibiza and Tenerife, the heat can have serious health impacts for vulnerable people.

This weekend's alert is the first heat-health alert put out by the UK Health Security Agency this year.

Initially UKHSA issued yellow warnings for parts of England on Wednesday but this has now raised to amber for the Southern regions of the country - but what does this actually mean and how can you stay safe in the sun?

Health and Science Correspondent Martin Stew answers your questions on the hot weather alert

What is an amber alert and where is it in place?

The UKHSA released an amber weather warning for the following regions:

  • West Midlands

  • East Midlands

  • East of England

  • South East

  • South West

The amber warning means the impact of the heat is “likely to be felt across the whole health service … and the wider population, not just the most vulnerable”.

It has been in place since 9am on Friday and is to last until 9am on Monday.

What about the rest of the UK? A less serious yellow heat alert is in place for the north of England.

These are used to warn that there may be some disruption to health services due to weather conditions.

What are the government's new heat health alerts, ITV News' Faye Barker explains

How to stay safe in the sun?

  • Keep out of the sun at the hottest time of the day, between 11am and 3pm

  • Exercise when it is cooler such as the morning or evening

  • Keep your home cool by closing windows and curtains in rooms that face the sun

  • Cover up with suitable clothing such as an appropriate hat and sunglasses

  • Wear sunscreen

  • Drink plenty of fluids and limit your alcohol intake

  • Check on family, friends and neighbours who may be at higher risk of becoming unwell, and if you are at higher risk, ask them to do the same for you

Symptoms of heat exhaustion according to the NHS

  • Tiredness

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Feeling sick or being sick

  • Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash

  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach

  • Fast breathing or heartbeat

  • A high temperature

  • Being very thirsty

  • Weakness

How to cool someone down

If someone has heat exhaustion, follow these four steps:

  • Move them to a cool place.

  • Remove all unnecessary clothing like a jacket or socks.

  • Get them to drink a sports or rehydration drink, or cool water.

  • Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs, wrapped in a cloth and put under the armpits or on the neck are good too.

  • Stay with them until they're better.

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes. If they do not improve, their heartbeat increases or they lose consciousness call 999.

How do I keep my pet safe in the sun?

A dog enjoys the good weather at Seapoint beach in South Dublin. Credit: PA

The RSPCA advises pet owners implement these steps from when it gets to 22°C and above.

  • Use a pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pet's skin

  • Make sure they have shade 

  • Give them constant access to fresh water

  • Put ice cubes in their water bowl

  • Give them damp towels to lie on

  • If you see a dog in a hot car ring 999 - the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly and, with no powers of entry the charity needs police assistance

Things not to do in hot temperatures:

Firefighters battle a grass fire on Leyton flats in east London in August 2022. Credit: PA

The fire brigade advises people not to do the following as grass fires can spark in the hot dry conditions

  • Don’t have barbecues in parks and public spaces

  • Don’t drop cigarettes or anything that is burning on dry ground

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