Health alert as South swelters in the heat

A health alert for the south comes into place today, with experts advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued an amber alert from midday on Tuesday until 6pm on Saturday.

The warning "requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups", but is one stage lower than the most serous level four red warning issued in last month's heatwave.

The Met Office said temperatures over coming days will not be as extreme as the record-breaking heat in July when the thermometer climbed above 40C, however it is still likely to rise into the low to mid-30s in the southern parts of the UK.

With the latest heatwave coming after months of low rain, which have left the countryside and urban parks and gardens tinder-dry, households in some areas are being urged not to light fires or have barbecues.

Meanwhile scientists warn that the likelihood of droughts occurring is becoming higher due to climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said there are many reasons why drought events become worse as a result of human-driven climate change.

"Human caused warming of climate is intensifying the global water cycle and disrupting weather patterns leading to more severe droughts but also more serious flooding events across the globe." said Prof Allan.