Met Office issues first ever red warning for exceptional heat

For the first time temperatures of 40C have been forecast in the UK and the Met Office has issued its first ever red warning for exceptional heat.

Exceptional heat is expected to affect a large part of England in the coming days, with temperatures likely in the high 30s in some places and potentially even reaching 40C. The red extreme heat national severe weather warning will cover Monday 18 July and Tuesday 19 July for parts of central, northern, eastern and southeastern England. An amber extreme heat warning was already in place for much of England and Wales for this time, but the amber areas are also being extended to cover Cornwall, west Wales and parts of southern Scotland.

Paul Gundersen, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, 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.”

The current highest temperature ever recorded in Britain is 38.7C, registered in Cambridge on 25 July 2019.

Gundersen added: “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.”

The step up in warning level to red is running parallel to an increase in the current heat health warning to Level 4 for England by the UK Health Security Agency.

Elsewhere in Europe, the recent hot conditions have led to multiple wildfires across Spain, France and Portugal where evacuations and health warnings have been issued in several regions.

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