The UK Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning as temperatures of 40c are forecast for the first time.
The move comes ahead of forecasts that next week on Monday and Tuesday it is expected to reach between 38 and 40 degrees. The record temperature for the UK is 38.7C reached in 2019.
The weather watchdog said it issued its first ever “red warning for exceptional heat” which will affect “a large part of England”.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen, said: “Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely early next week, quite widely across the red warning area on Monday, and focussed a little more east and north on Tuesday. Currently there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40C and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached.
“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”
While the Met office issued a weather warning, there is also a Heat Health Warning at Level 4 issued by the UK Health Security Agency.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the Level 4 alert “is potentially dangerous and a very serious consequence of climate change.”
“This warning is not limited to the most vulnerable and means that substantial changes in all our daily routines will be required, and there is likely to be an impact on travel.
“All of the capital’s key agencies and emergency services are working closely together to ensure London is prepared for the extreme heat that is forecast and will continue to provide advice for Londoners ahead of Monday.
“I urge Londoners to be very careful and to look after each other in the comings days.”
On the impact of climate change, climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, Dr Nikos Christidis. “In a recent study we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century, with the most extreme temperatures expected to be observed in the southeast of England”.
“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK. The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence. The likelihood of exceeding 40°C anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing, and, even with current pledges on emissions reductions, such extremes could be taking place every 15 years in the climate of 2100.”
Both the Met office and UKHSA issued warnings for Monday and Tuesday, saying there is the possibility of a severe health impact to those who are exposed, including fit and healthy people.
“It is important to keep yourself hydrated and to find shade where possible when UV rays are strongest, between 11am and 3pm”, said Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA.
“If you have vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, make sure they are aware of how they can keep themselves protected from the warm weather.’’