UK record set in Midlands as heatwave temperature breaks 40C for first time ever

Fire crews remain in Lickey Hills in Birmingham following a huge fire Credit: ITV News Central

The UK has hit its hottest temperature on record, with Midlands breaking 40C for the first time ever.

According to provisional Met Office data, 40.3C was recorded at Coningsby in Lincolnshire, which was measured at approximately 4pm on Tuesday. It beats the record of 40.2C set at Heathrow earlier in the day.

It comes during a heatwave which saw a red weather warning for extreme heat issued by the Met Office for the first time ever, meaning there is a risk to life.

The Met Office, which has issued the warning, advises people "should take action now to keep yourself and others safe" and avoid travelling, where possible.

The temperatures have caused some schools close, with travel disrupted. All rail companies are urging people not to travel, while power cable problems in Birmingham have led to all services through New Street Station being cancelled.

There has also been a high level of demand for fire services, with large blazes in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, while they remain on the scene of a blaze at the Lickey Hills in Worcestershire yesterday.

Health bosses in the Midlands say people should avoid going out in the hottest period of the day between 11am and 3pm. Taking care of those who are more vulnerable, such a young children by keeping them shaded and putting suncream on them.

Dr Caroline Trevithick from NHS LeicesterLeicestershire and Rutland said: "Keeping them inside, if they can, I know that they want to play outside in paddling pools and those sorts of things, but water can soon wash off sunscreen and hats can come off.

"So keep them covered, keep them shaded and try to keep them inside during the hottest period of the day and main thing never ever leave any children in a car in this temperature. The temperatures inside of cars is just going to heat up so much that the risk to anybody being left in a car but particularly and babies who aren't going to be able to draw attention to themselves, that we shouldn't be doing that."

Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, a Geologist from the University of Leicester has said people should expect these high temperatures again in the coming years.

He said: "The Midlands and the rest of the UK will almost certainly carry on getting hotter so this is a taster if you like of what will become more normal, more usual and yet hotter.

"What people can do to try and help with the situation is, in the sense of what you can do personally to feel more comfortable, is insulate your house better, and have a wild and tidy garden - that will give you more shade - and that will make life more pleasant when the heat comes next."

The message of taking care in the heat is being echoed by the emergency services.

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire fire services were called to multiple fires over the weekend.

They say fires were both deliberate and accidental and some reached and threatened homes. Leicestershire Fire service says the warm weather brings additional challenges for emergency services.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officer Callum Faint said: "Every fire is challenging, but particularly with the hot weather at the moment it becomes more and more challenging and our resources become stretched.

"Fires take hold a lot quick and spread a lot faster. We need the community's help in that, we can only be one place at a time with one fire engine, so please take all the necessary precautions. Just think about your actions a little bit more particularly during the hot weather."

Herefords and Worcester fire and rescue service is urging people to take care and not start fires.

The service was deployed to over 30 fires in the open across the two counties between Friday and Sunday.

They say as we hit record temperatures they've released some advice and tips for people including:

  • Avoid disposable barbecues

  • Never discard cigarette ends, they can spark off grass fires

  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands or even on a window - sunlight shining through glass can ignite a fire

  • Please don’t burn garden waste until the heatwave is over, as this can get out of control very fast

  • If you’re heading to water to cool off, opt for a swimming pool rather than rivers or lakes – they remain deceptively cold under the surface and ‘cold water shock kills’

HWFRS, Head of Prevention Emma Roberts said: "These are unprecedented temperatures which may reach a record, so it is vital we all take particular care not to cause fires or other incidents which could be avoided with a little planning.

“That way, we can avoid putting ourselves, the fire service or other emergency services in unnecessary danger."

The heat has also caused disruption to the roads and railways.

The AA has warned of roads melting and tyres bursting during the heatwave.

Some local authorities sent out the gritters late last week to put sand on roads to try to prevent the road surface from melting, the association said.

The AA and North West Ambulance Service have been advising that there is a greater danger of tyre blow-outs in extreme temperatures and have suggested drivers check their tyre pressures – when the tyre is cold – before setting off on their journeys.

They have also urged people to drive earlier in the day time to prevent engines from overheating and advised people to carry at least one litre of water per person in the vehicle.

Meanwhile, East Midlands Railway has urged people not to travel on their services at all on Tuesday.

Due to the extreme heat, there's a concern railway tracks could buckle, which is why operators are running trains at reduced speeds.

EMR says a speed limit of just 60 miles per hour will be in place between Sheffield, Nottingham and Bedford. Speeds will be limited further to just 20 miles per hour between Bedford and London. Other services have been cancelled altogether.

Credit: PA images

It's not just travel being effected by the warm weather but school too, with some closing their doors for the day.

Braidwood School in Birmingham has announced it will remain closed until Wednesday (July 20) because of the heat.

King Charles I School in Worcestershire has cancelled all on-site detentions on Monday and Tuesday.