UK weather: Forecasters predict the mercury will reach a record-breaking 43C (109F) in UK today

Heatwave to peak on Tropic-hell Tuesday with 43C predicted – forcing hospitals to cancel operations, threatening power cuts and bringing more travel chaos after UK sweated through ‘warmest night on record’

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Britain is bracing for the hottest day on record with temperatures predicted to reach highs of 43C (109F) – forcing hospitals to cancel operations, threatening power cuts and bringing even more travel chaos.

Today will likely see the previous temperature record of 38.7C (101.6F) broken after forecasters issued an amber weather warning of ‘extreme heat’ in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland which is in force until midnight on Tuesday. 

However, the sweltering heat is putting extra pressure on the NHS, with planned operations now having to be ‘scaled back’ as operating theatres are ‘getting too hot’ – a measure that was last implemented at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A&E departments across the country are overwhelmed and reaching full capacity due to ambulance trusts experiencing a surge in the number of emergency calls amid the soaring temperatures. 

Health bosses are now urging Britons to ‘regularly put on suncream’ to ease the pressure on the NHS and decrease heat-related illness admissions unless it is an emergency. 

Miriam Deakin, interim deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents trusts, said: ‘Hot weather spells intensify pressure on the NHS, increasing demand for urgent and emergency care and causing disruption to some planned care.

‘People with underlying conditions, older people and children tend to be most at risk. And while there have been additional steps put in place to increase ambulance capacity, ambulance trusts will be under significant pressure as the number of 999 calls can be expected to rise.

‘The NHS estate is not built to cope with extreme weather. Over the past 48 hours we’ve heard that some trusts are having to scale back the number of planned surgeries as operating theatres are getting too hot.

‘All of this adds up to a real challenge for trusts, in the context of rising COVID-19 infection and a need to reduce the care backlogs that built up over the pandemic.’

Following a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, health secretary Steve Barclay said emergency services are experiencing a rise in 999 calls – as London Ambulance said it was anticipating up to 8,000 calls by the end of today – with the worst yet to come. 

He added ‘We’re seeing an increase in calls and the extra resource we have put in place is to manage that. But there’s also a time lag in the data because the highest point of the expected heatwave is actually going to be tomorrow afternoon. So that’s the point of maximum concern, but we’re seeing an increase in calls.’

The mercury is expected to reach highs of 40C (104F) in Peterborough, Grantham and Doncaster on Tuesday – with a 95 per cent probability the 38.7C record will be broken. 

Meanwhile, travel chaos is expected to continue on the railway network today with Britons facing more delays and cancellations.

The RAC has also warned motorists who may be driving to work that the number of vehicle breakdowns both Monday and Tuesday could be a fifth higher than usual.

It comes as Britons experienced the ‘warmest night on record’ with London reaching 29C (84F) by midnight, while the mercury in Southampton hit 24C (75F). Meanwhile, in Dover in Kent, the mercury stayed a few degrees cooler and reached 21C (70F) in the early hours of the morning while Aboyne in Aberdeenshire hit 19C (66F).

A car was seen engulfed in flames after overheating on Monday on the M56 motorway in-between Altrincham and Manchester

A car was seen engulfed in flames after overheating on Monday on the M56 motorway in-between Altrincham and Manchester

Forecasters have also issued an amber weather warning of 'extreme heat' in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland which is in force until midnight on Tuesday. Pictured: Bridge jumpers on Port Meadow, Oxford

Forecasters have also issued an amber weather warning of ‘extreme heat’ in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland which is in force until midnight on Tuesday. Pictured: Bridge jumpers on Port Meadow, Oxford

Pictured: Farmers and firefighters race to contain a fire in a hay field at Llanfairynghornwy, Anglesey

Pictured: Farmers and firefighters race to contain a fire in a hay field at Llanfairynghornwy, Anglesey

A sunseeker shares a swim with the Red deer in the Longford river at Bushy Park in south west London on Monday afternoon

A sunseeker shares a swim with the Red deer in the Longford river at Bushy Park in south west London on Monday afternoon 

Travel chaos is expected to continue on the railway network today with Britons facing more delays and cancellations. Pictured: Broadstone Road in Reddish had 'melted' due to sweltering temperatures on Monday

Travel chaos is expected to continue on the railway network today with Britons facing more delays and cancellations. Pictured: Broadstone Road in Reddish had ‘melted’ due to sweltering temperatures on Monday 

A police officer givers water to a British soldier wearing a traditional bearskin hat on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace during the hot weather in London on Monday

A police officer givers water to a British soldier wearing a traditional bearskin hat on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace during the hot weather in London on Monday

The sizzling heat, which has already killed more than 1,000 people on the continent and led to devastating wildfires in several countries, is set to cause havoc with some schools closing and commuters left struggling to get to work. Pictured: Farmers and firefighters race to contain a fire in a hay field at Llanfairynghornwy, Anglesey

The sizzling heat, which has already killed more than 1,000 people on the continent and led to devastating wildfires in several countries, is set to cause havoc with some schools closing and commuters left struggling to get to work. Pictured: Farmers and firefighters race to contain a fire in a hay field at Llanfairynghornwy, Anglesey

Wales has already recorded its hottest day on record on Monday, with the temperature reaching 37.1C Hawarden in Flintshire - beating the previous record for the country which has been in place since 1990 by almost 2C. Pictured: Bridge jumpers on Port Meadow, Oxford

Wales has already recorded its hottest day on record on Monday, with the temperature reaching 37.1C Hawarden in Flintshire – beating the previous record for the country which has been in place since 1990 by almost 2C. Pictured: Bridge jumpers on Port Meadow, Oxford

Pictured: Britons watch the glorious sunset from Greenwich Park viewpoint during the UK heatwave on Monday

Pictured: Britons watch the glorious sunset from Greenwich Park viewpoint during the UK heatwave on Monday

Forecasters have warned of a 'very warm and uncomfortable' night ahead as Britons struggle to drift off in the 'extreme' Spanish heatwave that has upset millions of sleep cycles across the country. Pictured: The sunset from Greenwich Park viewpoint on Monday night

Forecasters have warned of a ‘very warm and uncomfortable’ night ahead as Britons struggle to drift off in the ‘extreme’ Spanish heatwave that has upset millions of sleep cycles across the country. Pictured: The sunset from Greenwich Park viewpoint on Monday night 

A glowing red sunset is pictured in Sheerness, Kent at the end of another intensely hot day - as the mercury is set to reach a sweltering 43C (109F) on Tuesday, which is likely to see the previous temperature record of 38.7C (101.6F) broken

A glowing red sunset is pictured in Sheerness, Kent at the end of another intensely hot day – as the mercury is set to reach a sweltering 43C (109F) on Tuesday, which is likely to see the previous temperature record of 38.7C (101.6F) broken

Firefighters respond to a large wildfire that has broken out in woodland at Lickey Hills Country Park on the edge of Birmingham on Monday

Firefighters respond to a large wildfire that has broken out in woodland at Lickey Hills Country Park on the edge of Birmingham on Monday

Met Office forecast for today
Met Office forecast for tomorrow

Britons enjoy a barbecue in a river near the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute, Scotland on Monday

Britons enjoy a barbecue in a river near the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute, Scotland on Monday

Britain is bracing for its hottest night ever on record with temperatures set to remain at 86F (30C) across London and the South East. Pictured: Sunseekers jump from a pier into the water of Loch Lomond, in the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute, Scotland yesterday

Britain is bracing for its hottest night ever on record with temperatures set to remain at 86F (30C) across London and the South East. Pictured: Sunseekers jump from a pier into the water of Loch Lomond, in the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute, Scotland yesterday

Lee Hudson decided to take the day off in Kidderminster and jump into his homemade plunge pool while enjoying a drink and keeping a bottle of sunscreen nearby

Lee Hudson decided to take the day off in Kidderminster and jump into his homemade plunge pool while enjoying a drink and keeping a bottle of sunscreen nearby

A vehicle dramatically set on fire in a car park near the beauty spot of Durdle Door in Dorset yesterday

A vehicle dramatically set on fire in a car park near the beauty spot of Durdle Door in Dorset yesterday

Fire crews fight grass and field fires near Chesterfield in Derbyshire on Monday as temperatures soar across Britain

Fire crews fight grass and field fires near Chesterfield in Derbyshire on Monday as temperatures soar across Britain

Thousands of people pack onto Brighton beach in East Sussex yesterday as the very hot weather continue

Thousands of people pack onto Brighton beach in East Sussex yesterday as the very hot weather continue

People jump into the tidal pool and swim during hot weather at Perranporth Beach in Cornwall on Monday

People jump into the tidal pool and swim during hot weather at Perranporth Beach in Cornwall on Monday

Sunbathers on the sand at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Monday as the very hot weather continues

Sunbathers on the sand at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Monday as the very hot weather continues

 

Wales recorded its hottest day on record on Monday, with the temperature reaching 37.1C Hawarden in Flintshire – beating the previous record for the country which has been in place since 1990 by almost 2C.  

The sizzling heat, which has already killed more than 1,000 people on the continent and led to devastating wildfires in several countries, is set to cause havoc with some schools closing and commuters left struggling to get to work.

Experts also have warned major wildfires will tear through the countryside on Tuesday. While the National Grid has issued an alert calling for more power plants tonight and predicted very high demand as the country has turned on their fans and aircon on to try and stay cool.

A notice to power stations was briefly issued on Monday afternoon to remind them they must ensure they have enough megawatts available for an expected surge in electricity demand this evening as Britons using fans overnight placed a strain on the national grid.

Some schools in Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire shut on Mondaywhile others will close early – and water providers have also warned of shortages, while a burst water main caused chaos in Kingston upon Thames.

Meawhile, surface temperatures reached more than 54C (129F) in some areas of the UK on Monday, causing ‘surface defects’ on roads and airport runways.

The Luton Airport runway was closed for two hours because of a ‘surface defect’ in the heat as Wales recorded its hottest day on record with England having its hottest day of the year after fires broke out, trains were cancelled and schools closed.

The Met Office said temperatures could hit 43C tomorrow, the hottest ever recorded, and bring ‘thousands’ of deaths amid the country’s first ever Red Extreme Heat warning.

In Santon Downham, Suffolk the mercury hit 38.1C on Monday making it the hottest day of the year and the third hottest day on record.  London was at 37.5C (99.5F) and the mercury rose to 31.3C in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, and Leuchars in Fife.

Meanwhile, flying activity was also halted at RAF Brize Norton, with Sky News reporting that part of the runway had melted.

Wildfires continued to burn yesterday after weeks of very dry conditions – including across fields near Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham – while a vehicle dramatically set on fire in a car park near the beauty spot of Durdle Door in Dorset and an oil tanker went on fire on the M25. 

The Luton Airport runway was closed because of a 'surface defect' in the heat on Monday as Wales recorded its hottest day on record with England set to follow later after fires broke out, trains were cancelled and schools closed

The Luton Airport runway was closed because of a ‘surface defect’ in the heat on Monday as Wales recorded its hottest day on record with England set to follow later after fires broke out, trains were cancelled and schools closed

Emergency services rushed to a fuel tanker carrying 40,000 litres of fuel after it went up in flames on the hard shoulder of the M25 near Sevenoaks

Emergency services rushed to a fuel tanker carrying 40,000 litres of fuel after it went up in flames on the hard shoulder of the M25 near Sevenoaks

An easyJet plan sits on the tarmac as it waits to take off after Luton was shut due to the tarmac on the runway melting and maintenance crews were seen with water trucks cooling down the surface of the airport

An easyJet plan sits on the tarmac as it waits to take off after Luton was shut due to the tarmac on the runway melting and maintenance crews were seen with water trucks cooling down the surface of the airport

A Luton Airport staff member radios a colleague as passengers are seen crouched down and pack out the terminal as the flights are now beginning to operate again but face a lengthy delay due to the closure effecting flights

A Luton Airport staff member radios a colleague as passengers are seen crouched down and pack out the terminal as the flights are now beginning to operate again but face a lengthy delay due to the closure effecting flights

Wizz Air and easyJet passengers are seen queuing as flights start to resume while the Terminal looks packed out this evening

Wizz Air and easyJet passengers are seen queuing as flights start to resume while the Terminal looks packed out this evening 

A man carries his suitcase with his shirt off as the sweltering heat prevented flights from flying at Luton Airport for two hours on Monday

A man carries his suitcase with his shirt off as the sweltering heat prevented flights from flying at Luton Airport for two hours on Monday

Power stations issued notice to have enough megawatts for the surge in electricity demand this evening

A notice to power stations was briefly issued on Monday afternoon to remind them they must ensure they have enough megawatts available for an expected surge in electricity demand this evening.

National Grid ESO, which covers England, Scotland and Wales, said: ‘Earlier today a capacity market notice (CMN) was triggered by the automated system and cancelled shortly afterwards.

‘This was due to a combination of factors including high exports, low wind, planned plant maintenance outages, higher than usual demand and a small reduction in gas generation.

‘CMNs are automated and do not take into account all the factors which our engineers are working on.

‘Based on current assessments and submitted data the ESO is confident that electricity margins are sufficient.’

 

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Both the BBC and the Mirror reported that flights at Luton resumed at 5.40pm with arrivals following 15 minutes later while it was said the last plane was thought to have taken off at around 3pm.

Passengers packed out the Terminal as flights resumed but also face lengthy delays due to the earlier closure affecting some planes taking off. 

One passenger said her flight had been diverted to Stansted because the ‘runway has apparently melted in Luton’, adding that her car was still at Luton and she ‘can’t wait to schlep with the kids across counties on the hottest day of the year.’ Another added: ‘Diverted to Stansted, sat waiting to see will they fly us or bus us back to Luton.’ 

A Luton spokesman apologised to passengers, telling MailOnline: ‘Following Monday’s high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway. Engineers were called immediately to site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.’ 

An RAF spokesman said on RAF Brize Norton: ‘During this period of extreme temperature flight safety remains our top priority, so aircraft are using alternative airfields in line with a long established plan. This means there is no impact on RAF operations.’

The current UK temperature record looks almost certain be exceed when temperatures could reach a ‘crazy’ 41C in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and hit 40C in London on Tuesday. 

On Monday afternoon, the mercury rose to 31.3C in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, and Leuchars in Fife, the Met Office said. Meanwhile the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh recorded 30.8C, and the mercury peaked at 29.9C in Aviemore. 

Temperatures have not broken Scotland’s 9 August 2003 record of 32.9C at Greyrcrook in the Scottish Borders, but forecasters said that may happen on Tuesday.

South of the border, the Met Office has issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning for a large part of England, covering Monday and Tuesday. Tonight will be warm and uncomfortable, the Met Office has said, and higher than the average July afternoon.

Northern Ireland recorded its hottest day of the year, with temperatures soaring above 30C in some areas like  in Derrylin in Co Fermanagh with 31.1C and in Armagh with 30.6C. 

The highest temperature ever recorded in Northern Ireland was 31.3C (88.3F) in Castlederg in County Tyrone last July. 

In the Republic of Ireland, a yellow weather warning is in place after the Phoenix Park temperature on Monday marks the highest recorded in the 21st century, overtaking 32.3C in Elphin, Co Roscommon on July 19, 2006.

Met Eireann said: ‘This is only 0.3C below the all-time 135-year-old record set at Kilkenny Castle in 1887. Temperatures may still rise further.’ 

Crowds are seen swelling into departures at Luton Airport this evening as flights began to take off once again

Crowds are seen swelling into departures at Luton Airport this evening as flights began to take off once again 

People on the beach in the village of Luss on Loch Lomond, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland on Monday

People on the beach in the village of Luss on Loch Lomond, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland on Monday

A man looks at his phone as passengers face waits to take off after the Luton Airport runway closure

A man looks at his phone as passengers face waits to take off after the Luton Airport runway closure

People out enjoying the hot weather at Cullercoats Bay in North Tyneside as temperatures rose all over the UK yesterday

People out enjoying the hot weather at Cullercoats Bay in North Tyneside as temperatures rose all over the UK yesterday

A jetty almost buckled under the weight of scores of teenagers looking to escape the record-breaking heat at a popular Snowdonia beauty spot. Footage taken by an eyewitness showed the jetty near Llanberis, partially dip beneath the waters, before scores of youths fall into the Gwynedd lake

A jetty almost buckled under the weight of scores of teenagers looking to escape the record-breaking heat at a popular Snowdonia beauty spot. Footage taken by an eyewitness showed the jetty near Llanberis, partially dip beneath the waters, before scores of youths fall into the Gwynedd lake

People are seen during  the hot weather on the Embankment in London on Monday

People are seen during  the hot weather on the Embankment in London on Monday

Members of the public cool off by jumping from the pier into Loch Lomond on Monday, July 18

Members of the public cool off by jumping from the pier into Loch Lomond on Monday, July 18

A sparse looking concourse at Waterloo Station in London as people look at the departures board

A sparse looking concourse at Waterloo Station in London as people look at the departures board 

A man rides a sea scooter at Loch Lomond yesterday as temperatures soar in Scotland which could see its hottest ever recorded temperature tomorrow

A man rides a sea scooter at Loch Lomond yesterday as temperatures soar in Scotland which could see its hottest ever recorded temperature tomorrow 

Elsewhere, rail tracks buckled in London’s Vauxhall in the heat – resulting in a safety inspection on the line that caused disruption between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. And operator Great Northern said a buckled rail at Watlington in Norfolk meant services could not run between Cambridge and Kings Lynn. And all flights in and out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire were halted because the ‘runway has melted’, according to a military source.

Some 53 schools in Buckinghamshire have closed and reverted to remote learning. Elsewhere, Northwood Community Primary School in Kirkby, Merseyside, said that sports day had been axed today; while King Charles I School, a secondary school in Worcestershire, has cancelled all on-site detentions both Monday and Tuesday. The Met Office is also warning that temperatures overnight into Tuesday are holding up in the low 20s and possible mid-20s in isolated places, and it looks likely to be the warmest night on record in the UK.

Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said: ‘I’ve been a qualified meteorologist for 10 years, and telling people about 41C in the UK doesn’t seem real.

‘It’s crazy how we are talking about these sorts of values, I’ve never seen the models coming up with these values.

‘It’s been quite an eye-opener to climate change with all these temperatures in the UK.’

Professor Endersby told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: ‘We think today we may well see the hottest day in the UK in history, with the hottest temperatures in the South East, but actually the highest temperatures we expect tomorrow, and those temperatures will be further north as that warm air pushes north. 

‘It’s tomorrow that we’re really seeing the higher chance of 40C and temperatures above that. Even possibly above that… 41C isn’t off the cards. We’ve even got some 43Cs in the model but we’re hoping it won’t be as high as that.’

Penny Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office said: ‘The extreme heat we are forecasting right now is absolutely unprecedented. Please treat the warnings we are putting out as seriously as you would a red or amber warning from us for wind or snow, and follow the advice.’

One GP surgery in Hertfordshire had to close a site yesterday because it has no air conditioning; others in London have texted patients to warn them of reduced services with limited clinic rooms in operation; and Milton Keynes University Hospital said it was ‘standing down routine outpatient appointments and surgery’ Monday and Tuesday. 

Maintenance workers are seen working to repair the runway after surface damage left passengers delayed by two hours

Maintenance workers are seen working to repair the runway after surface damage left passengers delayed by two hours 

People are seen jumping off the pier in Scotland as temperatures reached this year's highs yesterday in the country

People are seen jumping off the pier in Scotland as temperatures reached this year’s highs yesterday in the country 

Water trucks can be seen cooling down the surface of the airport at Luton on Monday

Water trucks can be seen cooling down the surface of the airport at Luton on Monday

A large fire that has broken out on grassland at Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham yesterday causing smoke to envelope the city

A large fire that has broken out on grassland at Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham yesterday causing smoke to envelope the city

Luton airport passengers saw the tarmac melting yesterday before it was shut as it's pictured looking empty

Luton airport passengers saw the tarmac melting yesterday before it was shut as it’s pictured looking empty 

This map from Netweather shows how 41C highs are expected in parts of central England tomorrow - and 40C in the South

This map from Netweather shows how 41C highs are expected in parts of central England tomorrow – and 40C in the South

A very busy Brighton beach in East Sussex at lunchtime Monday as visitors flock to the seaside

A very busy Brighton beach in East Sussex at lunchtime Monday as visitors flock to the seaside

A man leaps into the River Cam, as the temperatures continue to rise to 38C in Cambridge yesterday

A man leaps into the River Cam, as the temperatures continue to rise to 38C in Cambridge yesterday

Concern wildfires could tear through the countryside at 40C

Experts are worried about the possibility of major wildfires tearing through the countryside as temperatures threaten to soar as high as 40C.

Wildlife would be ‘devastated’ by such a blaze, with one expert suggesting Britain could face conditions similar to those taking hold in southern Europe.

Patches of England were at ‘exceptional risk’ of wildfires on Monday, the Met Office said, with an alert spreading to most of the country for Tuesday.

‘I haven’t even seen the exceptional category being used in the times I’ve looked at the Wildfire Index before,’ Kathryn Brown, the Wildlife Trust’s director for climate action, said.

‘In southern Europe, we’re seeing these stories of these horrendous wildfires taking hold all over the place and these are the conditions that we’re going to be more prone to.

‘We need to be much more aware, and the public needs to be much more aware, of the wildfire risk.’

Blazes across France, Spain, Portugal and Greece have levelled thousands of acres of land and forced the evacuation of locals and holidaymakers.

The National Trust has warned against lighting barbecues or campfires in open countryside and dropping litter such as glass bottles.

‘We’re on tenterhooks that someone is careless with a cigarette butt or thoughtless by lighting barbecues and us having to deal with a wildfire,’ the charity’s conservation head Ben McCarthy said.

‘They destroy the habitat they rip through and also all the animals and plants that occur there and make up those habitats.

‘At the Marsden Moor (in West Yorkshire) fire back in 2019, when we surveyed the site after the flames had been extinguished, we saw lots of burnt-out reptiles and amphibians, burnt-out nests.’

Rainfall has been scarce recently, with less than 1mm recorded in the north east and north west between July 6 and 12, with none across the rest of England.

 

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In London, a judge at Wood Green Crown Court was forced to halt a murder trial after an air conditioning unit broke down – saying he had ‘no choice’ but to adjourn proceedings and move the case to the Old Bailey. 

In Cardiff, a children’s hospital’s cancer ward at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital was left without air conditioning after the unit failed in hot weather. Engineers were working to fix the fault affecting the chemotherapy area – and health chiefs said that if the problem cannot be solved, patients will be moved to a different ward to keep cool. 

Meanwhile Royal Mail warned of disruption to deliveries, saying today: ‘In areas where temperatures rise to potentially dangerous levels during the day, our staff have been advised to return to the office with any mail they have been unable to deliver and not put themselves under any risk of falling ill due to the extreme heat.’ 

At Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guard was scaled down to protect the soldiers. The marching and ceremonial parade was made shorter to prevent the Queen’s Guard from being too long in the midday sun.

But Guardsman were still required to stand to attention and march outside the Palace in their Canadian bearskins and full uniform. And one standing guard was seen being given water to drink as he stood in the direct sunshine.

As health officials declared a ‘national emergency’, rail chaos was already affecting parts of London this morning – with the Overground suspended between Willesden Junction and Richmond, and Romford and Upminster.

On the Underground, the District, Central, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines all had severe delays while the Hammersmith & City Line was completely axed due to ‘heat related restrictions’ and there was no Metropolitan line between Baker Street and Aldgate. Transport for London told all passengers in the capital to avoid non-essential travel.

Transport for London (TfL), which advised people to ‘only travel if essential’, said around 1.06 million entries and exits were made by London Underground passengers up to 10am on Monday, down 18% compared with the same period last week.  

The scorching heat means the UK will be warmer than Nassau in the Bahamas (32C), Kingston in Jamaica (33C), Malaga in Spain (28C), Athens in Greece (35C), Albufeira in Portugal (28C) and Dakhla in the Western Sahara (24C).

Temperatures had already hit 34C (93F) in London by midday today. As Britons camped overnight at Bournemouth beach for the best spot on Monday amid what forecasters called an ‘exceptional hot spell’:

The hot weather also caused a significant drop in footfall in London, with a drop of 10 per cent across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres yesterday compared to last week.

The figure across all UK shopping destinations was down 3 per cent overall – but footfall on high streets in coastal towns was up 9 per cent.

A 4,000 square metre fire has broken out on grassland at Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham. The fire service has asked people to stay away from the area and told residents to keep their doors and windows closed

A 4,000 square metre fire has broken out on grassland at Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham. The fire service has asked people to stay away from the area and told residents to keep their doors and windows closed

A major grass fire in Newgale, Pembrokeshire, on Monday with multiple crews at the scene trying to keep it under control

A major grass fire in Newgale, Pembrokeshire, on Monday with multiple crews at the scene trying to keep it under control

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to tackle a grass fire on Woolwich Common during the heatwave

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to tackle a grass fire on Woolwich Common during the heatwave 

Two women play in the sea off Bournemouth beach yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far

Two women play in the sea off Bournemouth beach yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far

A deserted play area at Grendel Park in Maidenhead as temperatures have topped 38C in the heatwave

A deserted play area at Grendel Park in Maidenhead as temperatures have topped 38C in the heatwave

Members of the public cool off by jet skiing at Loch Lomond in Luss, Scotland on Monday as the Met Office has warned that temperatures could reach 30c in Scotland as a heatwave engulfs the UK

Members of the public cool off by jet skiing at Loch Lomond in Luss, Scotland on Monday as the Met Office has warned that temperatures could reach 30c in Scotland as a heatwave engulfs the UK

A woman walks past Galata Restaurant on Green Lanes in Haringey, north London which is closed due to extreme hot weather
Wellbeing on Green Lanes in Haringey, north London was also shut

A woman walks past Galata Restaurant on Green Lanes in Haringey, north London (left) which is closed due to extreme hot weather. Wellbeing (right) on Green Lanes in Haringey, north London was also shut yesterday

A woman jumps into the water in Loch Lomond yesterday as temperatures continue to soar dramatically

A woman jumps into the water in Loch Lomond yesterday as temperatures continue to soar dramatically 

Firefighters continue to tackle a huge blaze at a recycling centre near Braintree in Essex yesterday amid fears it may spread to a nearby forest

Firefighters continue to tackle a huge blaze at a recycling centre near Braintree in Essex yesterday amid fears it may spread to a nearby forest

The fire seen as it was originally raging in Braintree on Monday as the heatwave creates massive temperatures in the UK

The fire seen as it was originally raging in Braintree on Monday as the heatwave creates massive temperatures in the UK 

Network Rail engineers have found a kink in the rail at Vauxhall in London yesterday due to the extreme heat

Network Rail engineers have found a kink in the rail at Vauxhall in London yesterday due to the extreme heat

The kink in the tracks was spotted near Vauxhall in London on Monday, with trains re-routed to avoid the affected section

The kink in the tracks was spotted near Vauxhall in London on Monday, with trains re-routed to avoid the affected section

A man uses a newspaper as a fan whilst travelling on the Bakerloo line in central London during the heatwave on Monday

A man uses a newspaper as a fan whilst travelling on the Bakerloo line in central London during the heatwave on Monday

Lara Cahill, Olivia Murtagh and Caoimhe Clynch sunbathe on Portobello beach in Edinburgh on Monday

Lara Cahill, Olivia Murtagh and Caoimhe Clynch sunbathe on Portobello beach in Edinburgh on Monday

People flock to Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as they make the most of the extreme temperatures

People flock to Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as they make the most of the extreme temperatures

Tanisha Randell, 19, takes a stroll along Bournemouth beach
Tanisha Randell, 19, takes a stroll along Bournemouth beach

Tanisha Randell, 19, takes a stroll along Bournemouth beach on Monday during a day trip from Southampton

People swim at Hampstead Heath in North West London yesterday as they enjoy the very hot weather

People swim at Hampstead Heath in North West London yesterday as they enjoy the very hot weather

Commuters cross London Bridge yesterday as the Shard reflects the sun in the early morning heat

Commuters cross London Bridge yesterday as the Shard reflects the sun in the early morning heat 

People relax on Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning as the heatwave continues

People relax on Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning as the heatwave continues

 

People are seen enjoying the heatwave on Monday at Ruislip Lido in west London

People are seen enjoying the heatwave on Monday at Ruislip Lido in west London

People flock to Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as they make the most of the extreme temperatures

People flock to Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as they make the most of the extreme temperatures

People preparing to enter the water in Penzance, Cornwall, on Monday

People preparing to enter the water in Penzance, Cornwall, on Monday

Scorching temperatures in Battersea Park in South West London on Monday as people cool off inside the fountain

Scorching temperatures in Battersea Park in South West London on Monday as people cool off inside the fountain

Commuters on London Bridge today
Commuters on London Bridge today

Commuters on London Bridge feel the heat at 8.30am on Monday amid the extreme weather conditions

A young girl rides her inflatable pelican in the sea at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Monday

A young girl rides her inflatable pelican in the sea at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Monday

A woman uses a fan to cool herself down as commuters cross London Bridge on Monday in extreme temperatures

A woman uses a fan to cool herself down as commuters cross London Bridge on Monday in extreme temperatures

A woman keeping cool in the River Thames near Chertsey in Surrey
Bournemouth Beach today

A woman keeping cool in the River Thames near Chertsey in Surrey on Monday (left) and another on Bournemouth beach (right)

Luton Airport tweets
Luton Airport tweets

Luton Airport tweets
Luton Airport tweets

People took to Twitter after the London Luton Airport runway was closed because of a ‘surface defect’ in the heat on Monday

The Met Office’s Professor Endersby said today that such extreme temperatures are not expected beyond tomorrow, but that meteorologists will then be monitoring the possibility of drought in the coming months. 

‘Well, we certainly don’t see these very hot temperatures persisting past Tuesday, so we’re expecting a big drop in temperature, mercifully, overnight into Wednesday – down 10 or 12 degrees on what it has been the days before.

Millions more people work from home to avoid severe travel disruption

Millions more people are working from home to avoid severe disruption to transport networks caused by soaring temperatures.

Road traffic and public transport usage dropped on Monday after people were urged to avoid unnecessary travel.

Network Rail said the number of passengers using major stations across Britain on Monday was around 20% down on a week ago.

Location technology firm TomTom said road congestion at 9am was lower in most UK cities than at the same time last week. In London, congestion levels fell from 53% on July 11 to 42% on Monday.

In Birmingham they were down from 46% to 43%, in Manchester they decreased from 45% to 37%, and in Glasgow they dropped from 17% to 12%. The figures reflect the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.

Transport for London (TfL), which advised people to ‘only travel if essential’, said around 1.06 million entries and exits were made by London Underground passengers up to 10am on Monday. This is down 18% compared with the same period last Monday.

Some 1.07 million bus journeys were made up to 10am, a 10% decrease week on week.

TfL said: ‘Ridership on Monday is typically lower than other days of the week on public transport and is therefore likely to be a good indication of where people are working from home. Typically, TfL also sees a small reduction in ridership at this time of year as schools enter their last week of term and people begin to go on holiday.

‘However, the recent high temperatures have led to more of a reduction than would have been expected before our travel advice was issued to only make essential journeys during this extreme hot weather.’

Temperatures were expected to soar into the high 30s on Monday. Train speed restrictions imposed by Network Rail to reduce the chances of tracks buckling in the heatwave caused delays and cancellations.

Many operators are running a heavily reduced timetable on Monday and Tuesday, including Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern and Thameslink. LNER will run no trains from south of York and south of Leeds to London King’s Cross on Tuesday.

Kevin Groves, chief spokesman for Network Rail, said journeys which typically take two hours could take ‘more than four hours’ as emergency measures have been brought in to prevent trains derailing.

He told Sky News: ‘Certainly later on today that (buckling) is a strong possibility, which is why, from about midday today through till 8pm tonight, there will be large swathes of England and Wales that will have emergency heat-related speed restrictions placed on the rail network.’

Jake Kelly, also from Network Rail, warned of travel disruption across the country. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the return of normal services on Wednesday ‘will depend on the damage that the weather does to the infrastructure’.

Council gritters were on stand-by to spread light dustings of sand on melting roads.

The RAC anticipated that the number of vehicle breakdowns on Monday and Tuesday could be up to a fifth higher than normal. Spokesman Rod Dennis said the increase in callouts will ‘put pressure on all breakdown services’ as he advised drivers to carry an ’emergency kit’ such as water, non-perishable food, sun protection and any medication required.

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‘We are still seeing hotter than average in our three-month outlook and also very dry, and our attention is turning, once we’re past these two days, to drought and when we might see any rain, and we’re not seeing any significant rain coming up.’

She also said that the public should take Met Office heat warnings as seriously as those about other significant weather events such as snow or wind, as the extreme heat could cause thousands of excess deaths.

Professor Endersby added: ‘Our warnings are always impact-based, so, when we put out warnings, if they’re red, that means there’s a danger to life and we’re expecting major infrastructure impacts, and that’s true, whether it’s snow, wind, rain, and it’s true of this heat warning. 

‘We’re certainly seeing people reacting a little bit differently to the heat warnings as though they think that maybe we shouldn’t be telling them to worry about heat the way we tell them to worry about storm or wind.

‘These temperatures are unprecedented in the UK and we’re not used to dealing with them. And heat undoubtedly causes many hundreds, thousands of excess deaths in heatwaves, so people do need to take care and follow the advice we’ve been putting out about keeping in the shade, keeping cool, keeping hydrated, and so on.’

She also said that, while extreme temperatures remain ‘rare’, by 2100 temperatures like those expected this week could be seen in the UK as frequently as once in every three years as a result of climate change.

‘These temperatures are unattainable in the UK without climate change, they just don’t appear in the ensembles at all. They’re still rare in today’s 1.1 – 1.2-degree warmed climate, but by 2100, we’re expecting them to be anywhere between one in 15 and one in three years, depending on the emissions pathways we take between now and then.’

She added: ‘We will certainly need to make changes to our infrastructure, transport, hospitals, care, homes, all those sorts of things, as well as to our domestic building designs. So yes, we need to make short-term changes for things like cooling centres and then longer-term changes, as well as assuming the very good progress we’ve already made as a nation towards net zero.’

Health secretary Mr Barclay said: ‘We’re seeing an increase in calls and the extra resource we have put in place is to manage that.

‘But there’s also a time lag in the data because the highest point of the expected heatwave is actually going to be tomorrow afternoon.

‘So that’s the point of maximum concern, but we’re seeing an increase in calls.

‘That’s why we put more call handlers in place. It’s why we put additional funding in – an extra £150 million for the ambulance service, a further £50 million for 111, and indeed other support such as £30 million for auxiliary ambulances. So extra resource has been put in place.

‘The contingency plans, that are well established, have been activated.

‘And we’re meeting regularly with NHS leaders, with ambulance chief executives, to closely monitor the impacts, and particularly the (ambulance) handover times, so we can mitigate those with the increased pressure they’re facing.’

It comes after the Met Office revealed the deep red colour showing the high temperatures on weather maps was part of a redesign in autumn 2021 that was actually intended for parts of the Middle East and North Africa. 

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office Paul Davies warned that tonight will be very hot and it will be hard to sleep in the heat. He told Sky News: ‘Tonight will be very oppressive, I mean it’s actually difficult sleeping conditions.

‘And tomorrow is the day where we are really concerned about a good chance now of hitting 40C or 41C, and with that all the health conditions that come with those higher temperatures.’

He also claimed that the rise in temperature is ‘entirely consistent’ with climate change and said the ‘brutality’ of the heat could become commonplace by the end of the century.

Prince Charles says heatwave vindicates his view ‘for quite some time’ that tackling climate change is essential 

Prince Charles said the heatwave vindicates his view ‘for quite some time’ that tackling climate change is ‘utterly essential’ as Britain swelters in ‘alarming’ temperatures.

The Prince of Wales, 73, said national commitments to reach net zero have ‘never been more vitally important’ as he made a speech at an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall.

The nation is experiencing an extreme heatwave, with thermometers passing 38C, resulting in school closures, train services being cut and ambulance crews facing rising numbers of 999 calls.

The mercury hit 38.1C in Santon Downham, Suffolk, by 4pm on Monday, making it the hottest day of the year, while temperatures topped 37C in a number of other places.

Charles has long campaigned on environmental issues and last autumn told Cop26, the UN climate change summit, the world has had enough of talking and commitments need to be put into practice.

Prince Charles said the heatwave vindicates his view 'for quite some time' that tackling climate change is 'utterly essential' as Britain swelters in 'alarming' temperatures

Prince Charles said the heatwave vindicates his view ‘for quite some time’ that tackling climate change is ‘utterly essential’ as Britain swelters in ‘alarming’ temperatures

The Prince of Wales, 73, said national commitments to reach net zero have 'never been more vitally important' as he made a speech at an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall. Pictured: Charles alongside his wife Camilla

The Prince of Wales, 73, said national commitments to reach net zero have ‘never been more vitally important’ as he made a speech at an open-air event to mark his 70 years as Duke of Cornwall. Pictured: Charles alongside his wife Camilla

Speaking at the end of a garden party in the grounds of Boconnoc House near Plymouth, the prince said: ‘If I may so say, those commitments around net zero have never been more vitally important as we all swelter under today’s alarming record temperatures across Britain and Europe.

‘As I have tried to indicate for quite some time, the climate crisis really is a genuine emergency and tackling it is utterly essential – for Cornwall, the country and the rest of the world.’

Cop26 president Alok Sharma, who led last year’s landmark UN climate change summit in Glasgow, has indicated he may resign if the next prime minister is not fully committed to the net zero agenda.

He said in an interview with the Observer that while it was ‘absolutely a leadership issue’, some of the remaining candidates in the Tory leadership race have been only ‘lukewarm’.

Charles also spoke of his belief in the sustainable elements of Nansledan, an extension to the Cornish coastal town of Newquay on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate of property, investments and land that provide an income to the heir to the throne.

In a lighter moment, Charles joked about touring a country agricultural show with its hard of hearing chairman during one of his many trips to the Cornwall during the past decades

In a lighter moment, Charles joked about touring a country agricultural show with its hard of hearing chairman during one of his many trips to the Cornwall during the past decades

During the garden party, the couple mingled with individuals from all walks of Cornish life from Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmers to charity workers and members of the Armed Forces

During the garden party, the couple mingled with individuals from all walks of Cornish life from Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmers to charity workers and members of the Armed Forces

He told the guest: ‘In the development of Nansledan, as well as in the Duchy’s new, regenerative agricultural practices that will help us to meet, we hope, our Net Zero Carbon commitments, we have only been able to make what progress we have by working in partnership with our tenants, our suppliers and the people of Cornwall.’

In a lighter moment, Charles joked about touring a country agricultural show with its hard of hearing chairman during one of his many trips to the Cornwall during the past decades.

He said: ‘There have been so many memorable visits over all these years – especially to the Royal Cornwall Show – where, years ago, and in the days of the then chairman, Sir John Molesworth-St Aubyn, who was a wonderful character and extremely deaf, I remember asking him ‘if I could visit the Bee tent.’

‘After walking half the way round the showground, following him, he brought me to the lavatory tent – the ‘Pee tent!”

During the garden party, the couple mingled with individuals from all walks of Cornish life from Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmers to charity workers and members of the Armed Forces.

While Camilla kept the burning sun at bay, the prince remained cool in his sunglasses and suit – buttoned at the front

While Camilla kept the burning sun at bay, the prince remained cool in his sunglasses and suit – buttoned at the front

Earlier, the couple had visited the picturesque fishing village of Mousehole, near Penzance, where temperatures were around 10 degrees below the sweltering 38C in London and the south-east.

The duchess told locals ‘This is very cool here. It’s stifling in London,’ and joked ‘I’m using my parasol. I think I’m going to take off like Mary Poppins.’

While Camilla kept the burning sun at bay, the prince remained cool in his sunglasses and suit – buttoned at the front.

Over the coming days, the couple will tour the county and neighbouring Devon to mark 70 years since Charles became the Duke of Cornwall on the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952.

 

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