This article titled “Heatwave: Paris suffers 42.6C hottest day ever as UK temperatures set July record – live” was written by Aamna Mohdin (now) Mattha Busby (earlier), for theguardian.com on Thursday 25th July 2019 21.40 Asia/Kolkata
SEA LIFE Blackpool has had to cool the sea water for the first time in 30 years
Aquarists at SEA LIFE Blackpool are having to run the water through a cooler because it’s too warm. The aquarium, which leads a ‘breed, rescue, protect’ campaign, supports rare and endangered creatures, such as sharks, stingrays, seahorses and turtles.
Matthew Titherington, general manager of SEA LIFE Blackpool, said: “We draw water for the displays directly from the Irish Sea, which is just across the Promenade. Sometimes we have to heat it slightly to get the right temperature, especially in winter.
“We’ve never before had to cool it. It’s really important that the water we draw is at exactly the right temperature when it enters the displays.”
Commuters have been warned to not travel as soaring temperatures cause disruption to some services.
The rising temperatures caused damage to overhead electric wires between London St Pancras and Luton, blocking all lines.
East Midlands Trains urged passengers to not travel and warned it had been unable to secure ticket acceptance via alternative routes. Thameslink said “you are strongly advised not to travel”, and said journey times will be extended by up to 90 minutes.
The blistering temperatures also damaged overhead electric wires between London Euston and Watford Junction, disrupting Virgin Trains services. A spokeswoman for the operator said: “Due to extensive disruption on the network today, any Virgin Trains customers who would prefer to postpone their travel can use their tickets on Virgin Trains services tomorrow.”
Nick King, network services director at Network Rail, said:
We have a number of heat-related incidents across the rail network this evening that are causing disruption to services.
We are sorry that some passengers are experiencing uncomfortable conditions and inconvenience.
Our teams are working flat out to fix the issues as quickly as possible and get people on the move.
We’re asking anyone travelling this evening to check with their train operators or visit the National Rail Enquiries website to see how their journey is affected.
Edinburgh is currently experiencing its warmest day on record, STV reports.
Temperatures have soared to 31.2C, surpassing the city’s previous record of 30C set in 1975.
In Cambridge, temperatures reached 38.1 °C. This is the second time temperatures reached over 100 Fahrenheit in the UK, according to the Met Office.
Animal welfare campaigners are calling for greyhound races to be cancelled as temperatures soar across the UK.
The League Against Cruel Sports warned the the greyhounds, who will be transported from their kennels and then raced at the tracks, are at risk of heatstroke.
Five of the six greyhound races due to take place on Thursday have been cancelled, but racing went ahead at Sunderland. Racing is expected to take place at Yarmouth, Hove, Newcastle and Monmore this evening.
Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:
“There have already been reports of dogs dying after just being walked in this heat, let alone racing. These races still going ahead despite the soaring temperatures is yet another clear example of how greyhound welfare is out far behind profit, and why this ‘sport’ needs to end in the UK.”
Good afternoon, I’m Aamna Mohdin taking over from Mattha Busby.
The Met Office have just confirmed that today is the second hottest day on record.
A temperature of 37.7C has been recorded at Kew Gardens, in London, and Writtle, Essex, surpassing the previous second highest record of 37.1C set on August 3 1990.
Grant Allen, a professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Manchester, said that while no single weather event can ever be linked directly to climate change, a statistically-significant trend is climate change by definition:
This trend is very clearly what we are now seeing and scientific papers published yesterday which were widely reported in the media, confirm this. Climate change is no longer a future problem, it is here and it is accelerating. As climate change progresses, the frequency of previously extreme weather events will increase. There will be a new normal, which will challenge existing UK infrastructure and profoundly impact our ecosystem.
Dr Michael Byrne, a lecturer at St Andrews, has been asked how significant is it if today becomes the hottest day on record in the UK.
Hugely significant, yet just the latest in a torrent of temperature records to be broken in the last month. Not only has 2019 brought the world it’s hottest ever June, but in recent days countries from Belgium to the Netherlands to Germany have broken their all-time heat records. It has never been hotter in northern Europe. Such extreme heat poses serious health risks this week as well as uncomfortable questions about how well the UK is preparing for increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves over coming decades.
On whether the weather has clearly been caused by man-made global warming?
It is impossible to say whether individual events – such as this week’s heatwave – are caused by man-made global warming. The kind of weather pattern delivering today’s hot air, a jetstream that is deflected unusually far north and drawing hot air from the south, is not itself caused by global warming. Indeed the famous 1976 heatwave was a result of similar meteorological conditions.
What is different now is that the global temperature is about 1 degree Celsius hotter than in 1976, meaning that when these unusual weather patterns occur, the heatwave is guaranteed to be more severe. Met Office scientists found that the 2018 summer heatwave – which delivered the UK’s joint-hottest summer on record – was 30 times more likely because of global warming. Although we cannot say for sure that global warming caused this week’s extreme temperatures, climate change is without doubt ‘loading the dice’ and making heatwaves much more likely and much more severe.
Police were called to an outdoor swimming pool in south London after a group reportedly tried to force their way to Brockwell Lido this afternoon.
The Metropolitan Police said:
Police were called to Brockwell Lido to reports of overcrowding. Officers attended. Security staff at the lido have closed the doors as a group of 500 people are trying to get in. The owners of the venue are advising people not to come as there is a three-hour waiting time.
Elsewhere in London, Parliament Hill Lido refused people further entry just before noon due to overcrowding. According to the Press Association, police were repeatedly forced to attend the pool after fights broke out in the queue, although there were no arrests or any reported injuries.
In the South West, Portishead Lido in Bristol also warned people of long queues. “Be prepared for a long wait, and there’s no shade,” staff posted on Twitter. “Bring water, snacks, folding chairs, sunscreen, a hat and some patience & humour.”
Lidos in Peterborough, London’s Tooting Bec and at Hemsley in York also had to turn away prospective swimmers after reaching capacity.
Germany sets all-time record temperature for second day running
The northwestern town of Lingen, Bonn, has experienced a high of 40.9 C, the German Weather Service has said.
“It’s changing every minute,” spokesman Andreas Friedrich said, adding that the new high, which followed the record 40.5 degrees measured in western Germany on Wednesday, would likely soon be exceeded.
Wednesday’s record was at 40.5 C in Geilenkirchen near the Belgian border, the German news agency DPA said.
The hot weather is causing further disruption for travellers in the UK, with Manchester Metrolink the latest operator to put in place temporary speed restrictions across its network as speed limits on most commuters lines were cut from 60mph to 30mph.
Speed restrictions have been in place in the south east since midday, and they will remain until 8pm, due to fears that tracks could buckle in the heat if trains travel too fast.
Extreme weather action teams have been “activated” to keep passengers safe and trains running, Network Rail said.
Dr John Easton, rail expert at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said:
The main problem is that as the steel rails heat up, they expand like any other metal. The resulting extra rail length means that the track may begin to curve, a process known as ‘buckling’. With the track temperature rising to around 20 C higher than the air temperature in strong sunlight, expansion of the metal is to be expected.
In most of the network individual pieces of rail are welded together to form longer continuous sections; where this is the case the rails are stretched before welding to reduce the chance of buckling occurring as the track is heated, although the amount of tension is set based on the temperature ranges that we’d normally expect to see in the UK (up to about 30 C).
More tension could be put into the rails to allow for greater expansion at higher temperatures, however this could mean using slightly different steel grades which would probably cost more and it would almost certainly increase the risk of rail breaks – it’s all a bit of a balancing act.
Where temperatures become unusually high, the only solution is to slow the trains down to reduce the impact the tracks. Track temperature is monitored, and forecasting models are used to predict when (and if) the risk of high rail temperatures is significant enough for speed restrictions to be put in place.
In critical areas, such as the switch and crossings near stations, the insides of the rails are painted white to reflect the sun’s heat. This can reduce the track temperature by 5°C and reduces signalling failures which lead to significant disruption. This technique is also used In countries where high temperatures are more commonplace, such as Italy, where engineers often paint the inside faces of the rails white to reflect the sunlight and lower the risk of buckling.
Friends of the Earth has urged the new prime minister Boris Johnson to take action on the climate crisis.
As well as cutting emissions, the campaign group is calling for doubled tree cover in order to protect people from the impact of extreme weather and help absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Urban green space in England has declined by 7% in recent years, according to FOE. It says that green spaces such as parks and woodland can reduce excessive heat and, in towns and cities, help regulate the ‘urban heat island’ effect.
Emi Murphy, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
Having more trees in our towns and cities will lower temperatures, provide shade and absorb carbon emissions to help avert climate breakdown in the first place. Trees have huge benefits for people and the planet but current government work on tree planting is depressingly negligible.
There’s a serious risk of the temperatures that we currently define as extreme becoming the new norm. This goes way beyond what you could call a nice summer’s day – if we see temperatures like this become a regular occurrence then more and more lives will be at risk.
It’s not just extreme heat that trees can help to defend us against, but also the heavy rainfall and floods that are a constant threat to many communities.
Police in Devon have issued a warning to the public not to leave pets inside cars, after officers rescued a dog who was locked inside a vehicle for more than three hours.
The RSPCA say on their website:
Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
In an emergency, we may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident. Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform us if animal welfare assistance is required.
Met Office says there is still a good chance UK temperature record will be broken
Currently, the highest temperatures across the country are 37.7 C at Kew Gardens, 37.6 C at Heathrow, and 37.1 C in Cambridge, with the mercury still rising.
Sarah Kent, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said:
We are still confident in the forecast we put out earlier today. There is a 60% chance of breaking the all-time UK record, which is 38.5 C at Faversham at the 10th August 2003, and we are still expecting temperatures to peak at around 39 degrees.
Its a fine balance, as temperatures have climbed, they are also starting to trigger showers, with cloud suppressing the rise of temperatures. Its going to be a close run thing, and we are going to have to keep an eye on all our recording stations.
The area most likely to see 39 C extends from London up towards south Lincolnshire, and through Cambridge.
Temperatures in the Netherlands reach record high of 39.4C
Reuters have the latest:
Temperatures in the Netherlands reached a record high of 39.4 degrees Celsius (102.9 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, Dutch meteorology institute KNMI said.
The KNMI earlier announced a new record of 41.7 C, but moments later said the measurement was not credible.
Temperatures were still rising after the measurement of 39.4 degrees, KNMI said. Until Wednesday, when temperatures peaked at 39.3 degrees, the Dutch national heat record had stood at 38.6 degrees since the summer of 1944.
Hottest July temperature ever in the UK
The Met Office has confirmed that the 36.9C temperature recorded at Heathrow Airport earlier is the new record temperature for July.
Here’s the latest on the searing heat in Paris, from the Guardian’s Europe correspondent Jon Henley.
Belgium has also seen temperatures surpass 40 C, according to officials who say it is the first time such heat has been experienced since records began in 1833.
A temperature of 40.2 degrees was in Angleur, near Liege in the east of the country yesterday, the Belgian meteorological institute has confirmed.
It had said earlier that the 39.9 C recorded in Kleine Brogel was the new national record, and the institute said the new record could well be broken again on Thursday.
In the Netherlands, the national institute for public health and the environment has issued a “smog alarm” due to severe air pollution in parts of the country due to ozone in the air.
The warning applies for regions including the densely populated cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Air quality in some regions will be “extremely bad” because light winds mean that pollution is not being blown away and sunlight transforms it into ozone, the institute said.
Smog can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and leave people coughing and short of breath, with the institute warning that children, the elderly, and those who already suffer from respiratory issues are particularly susceptible to harm, and should stay inside.
Elsewhere, in Austria, authorities have said a 2-year-old boy has died of dehydration after he climbed into an overheated parked car on Monday without his family noticing, and then fell asleep inside it before passing away in hospital on Wednesday.
Temperatures of almost 36C have been recorded in parts of England.
Here are some photos from throughout the country.
Plus, are seagulls in the UK getting more aggressive? Emine Saner reports.
Paris experiences all-time high temperature of almost 41C
The Associated Press have this report:
Paris has beaten its all-time heat record, hitting 40.6 C amid a heat wave breaking barriers across Europe. Authorities say the temperature is still rising.
The national weather service Meteo France announced that the new record was reached on Thursday afternoon, beating the previous record of 40.4 C in 1947.
It’s one of several records set in this week’s heat wave, the second wave baking the continent this summer. France saw its hottest-ever day on record last month, when a southern town reached 46C.
Some retailers have increased the price of fans and portable air conditioners by up to 40% within a month, according to a comparison website.
Vanessa Katsapa, country manager at PriceSpy UK, said:
Seasonal products do tend to fluctuate in price in line with demand, but it’s clear that retailers are cashing in as people struggle to stay cool With the price of fans and portable conditioners rising by up to 40% in the space of a month, a little research before purchasing could save shoppers from getting in a sweat.
Elsewhere, the recently departed prime minister Theresa May is watching the cricket at Lords, where England are trailing Ireland – who are playing their first ever test match.
You can follow the Guardian’s live coverage here:
Train passengers across the UK have been advised to avoid travelling if possible, with many services cancelled amid warnings that the rail system cannot cope with the searing heat, Rob Davies reports.
Such is the heat, travellers have been taking their shirts off on trains.
St John Ambulance service has offered advice to keep people safe in the sun, following the deaths of three people this week in the UK whose bodies were recovered from the water. Their volunteers will be out and about across the country, encouraging people to avoid dehydration and to take breaks from the sun where possible.
Dr Lynn Thomas, medical director at the emergency service, said:
Extreme heat can be very dangerous, particularly for the very young and old, and we would encourage everyone to check on their elderly relatives and neighbours and look after themselves this week by keeping out of the sun or covering up, wearing sunscreen and drinking plenty of water.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs, such as headache and dizziness. Knowing what action to take, could mean you might be the difference between life and death in an emergency in your community.
The latest from across Europe.
Extinction Rebellion is protesting against celebrative and “irresponsible” media reporting of the heatwave, with a demonstration planned outside the Sun newspaper in London later today.
A spokesperson for the UK chapter of the environmental activists said:
Are you feeling hot under the collar about the way the mainstream press is covering the climate crisis? Is it getting on your tits?? It is time to bare all with Extinction Rebellion to show the media that we can’t bear more of this poor reporting. We want to see pictures that match how hot the climate is getting.
And if you are in London, do come along to The Sun HQ in London and tell them that we won’t stand for their cheek, by baring your own beautiful cheeks!
Caspar Hughes, of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Media Tell the Truth’ group, said:
The media needs to become the public service it was during the onset of World War II. We have 11 years to stop our children from inheriting a hellish planet. Without the media telling the truth, throughout the press, we will fail that test.
A major water main has burst in Bristol, in the west of England, leaving thousands of people without water, the BBC reported.
Bristol Water has said hot temperatures making the ground shift and leading pipes to contract and expand may have caused the burst, which has affected homes in a number of parts of the city. Vulnerable people are having bottled water delivered to them, and water tankers are being sent to the area.
The company said on Twitter: “We’re still working on getting this repaired as soon as possible. Some customers in the area might be seeing some discoloured water – this is due to the works nearby so we are sorry if you’re being affected by this.”
The Trades Union Congress has urged bosses to allow flexible working and to keep workplaces cool so that staff can work more comfortably during hot weather.
Although the law states that staff should work in a reasonable temperature, there is no precise legislation for minimum or maximum working temperatures and the TUC is calling for the introduction of a new legal maximum indoor temperature.
This would be set at 30C, or 27C for those doing strenuous jobs, with employers obligated to put in place cooling measures when the workplace temperature hits 24C.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
While many of us love to see the sun, it’s no fun working in a baking office or a stifling factory. Bosses should do all they can to keep the temperature down. The easiest way for staff to keep cool inside is being able to work in more casual clothing. While shorts and vest tops may not be appropriate for all, nobody should be made to suffer in the heat for the sake of keeping up appearances.
It’s in bosses’ interests to provide a cool and comfortable work environment. Workers who are unable to dress down in lighter clothing, or who work in offices without air-conditioning, fans or drinking water, are going to be tired, and lack inspiration and creativity.”
However, Kate Boguslawska, an employment solicitor at City law firm, Carter Lemon Camerons, has said such laws could be unworkable.
While it is understandable that people might want to introduce upper limits to the temperatures employees can be required to work in, such rules seem unlikely to be workable in practice.
There are a wide range of workplaces where employees must continue working, such as hospitals, prisons and much of the infrastructure sector. There are also many workplaces where high temperatures are unavoidable, such as factories, foundries or commercial kitchens.
‘No doubt that climate change is playing a role’, say experts
A Met Office study showed last year’s summer heatwave was made around 30 times more likely than it would be under natural conditions, as a result of human activity driving global warming.
Prof Peter Stott, from the Met Office, said:
There’s no doubt that climate change is playing a role here because of the elevated temperatures and that’s related to the fact we’ve got this weather pattern being drawn up from North Africa.
Having this frequency of heatwaves across the hemisphere would have been extraordinarily unlikely without climate change, and it’s now being made a possibility, and it’s what we’re seeing.
He added that the existing record temperature for the UK, of 38.5C, set in August 2003 in Faversham, Kent, was set in recent times when the impact of climate change was already being felt.
Dr Friederike Otto, acting director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, said:
Changes in the intensity and likelihood of extreme weather is how climate change manifests. That doesn’t mean every extreme event is more intense because of it, but a lot are. For example, every heatwave occurring in Europe today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change.
But extreme events occur locally, so many things play a role: location, season, intensity and duration. The influence of each of these factors depends strongly on the specific event. With our international initiative World Weather Attribution, we did in a rapid analysis of the heatwave that struck large parts of Europe during the last week of June 2019. We found that it was made at least five times more likely due to human induced climate change.
Here is the latest from across Europe, courtesy of the Associated Press.
Hot, hotter, hottest! Paris, London and points across Europe are bracing for record temperatures Thursday as the second heat wave this summer bakes the continent.
Climate scientists warn this could become the new normal in many parts of the world. But temperate Europe where air conditioning is rare isn’t equipped for the temperatures frying the region this week.
So tourists frolicked in fountains to seek relief and authorities and volunteers fanned out to help the elderly, sick and homeless hit hardest by the heat. Trains were canceled in Britain and France, and French authorities urged travellers to stay home.
One by one, heat records are being broken across Europe . On Thursday, the Paris area could be as hot as 42 C (108 F) as a result of hot, dry air coming from northern Africa that’s trapped between cold stormy systems.
London might see 39 C (102 F). And swaths of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland could face temperatures exceeding 40 C (104 F).
And this is only the latest of several hot days: Belgium and Germany recorded their all-time high temperatures Wednesday.
Germany’s record of 40.5 degrees (104.9 F) is likely going to be very short-lived, however the German Weather Service is expecting even higher temperatures Thursday.
Across London and Paris, authorities and charity workers handed out water and sunscreen to homeless people and opened day centers for them to rest and shower.
“They are in the street all day, under the sun. No air conditioning, no way to protect oneself from the heat, so for some it’s really quite complicated,” said Ruggero Gatti, an IT worker joining other Red Cross volunteers handing out water bottles, soup and yogurt to the homeless in the Paris suburb of Boulogne.
France is particularly on alert after a 2003 heat wave killed nearly 15,000 people, especially the elderly. Since then the government has introduced a color-coded heat alert system to warn people when temperatures are expected to rise to dangerous levels in their area and trigger government assistance efforts.
The alert system went to its maximum level of red for the first time during last month’s heat wave , when France saw its highest-ever recorded temperature of 46 degrees. On Thursday, about one-fifth of French territory was under a red alert, stretching from the English Channel through the Paris region and down to Burgundy.
The national rail authority and Paris public transit system urged passengers to avoid travel Thursday. Messages to “Hydrate yourselves!” came from the radio, television and public message boards.
The heat wave is intense but expected to be short, with temperatures dropping Friday and Saturday.
As emissions continue to warm the planet, scientists say there will be more and hotter heat waves, like those increasingly hitting the U.S. though it’s too early to know whether this hot spell is linked to man-made climate change.
“There is likely the DNA of climate change in the record-breaking heat that Europe and other parts of the world are experiencing. And it is unfortunately going to continue to worsen,” said Marshall Shepherd, professor of meteorology at University of Georgia.
In some places in southern England, the temperature has already exceeded 30C, according to the Met Office.
Heathrow Airport has recorded a temperature of 31.6C (88.88F) and Kew Gardens, west London, has reached 31.7C (89.06F), as temperatures continue to climb with scattered thunderstorms are expected later.
England experiences ‘tropical night’ as nation braces for record-breaking heat
As the UK bakes under heat which threatens to reach unprecedented highs of 39C today, we will bring you updates through the day as this July heatwave grips Europe.
Scientists have linked the extreme heatwave to the climate emergency, and Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands recorded their highest ever temperatures yesterday, as my colleague Jon Henley reports.
Across Britain today, there are severe warnings that the sweltering conditions could lead to thunderstorms. These could cause travel delays, flash flooding and power cuts. Yesterday, the bodies of three people were pulled from the water after they reportedly got into difficulty swimming – highlighting the dangers of cooling off in lakes and rivers.
Southern and eastern England are said to have a 70% chance of temperatures rising to 39C today, beating the UK’s July record of 36.7C and the all-time high of 38.5C, recorded in 2003.
Last night, parts of England experienced a “tropical night” as temperatures failed to fall below 20C, the Met Office has said. St James Park in central London had an overnight minimum of 20.7C, while Wattisham, in Suffolk saw a overnight minimum of 20.8C and Cromer, on the Norfolk coast, experienced a minimum of 20.9C.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said NHS staff were “struggling” as “few lessons had been learned” from last year’s heatwaves and few hospitals are prepared for the impact of intense heat.
Last year, hospitals hired in large fans and coolers for a week or so but have got nothing long-term in place – they are purely reactive not proactive.
Some better organisations bought in lots of bottled water and gave it to staff or brought round cooled drinks. To get drinks, staff would usually need to leave the ward to buy them.
There is often nothing or very little in place for staff to get fluids on wards on an ad-hoc basis and they are expected only to drink in breaks which isn’t right when temperature on wards are really high.
Patient areas don’t have coolers or ice machines due to infection concerns.
Here is the latest story, courtesy of the Press Association:
Please do send in your photos and stories throughout the day via Twitter.
I’ll leave you with our guide on how to keep cool. Enjoy the day, and stay safe.
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