UK temperatures hit record high as fires rage

The record-breaking heat wave that has warped European asphalt, sparked contagious wildfires and embroiled millions tightened its grip today as scientists warned more misery was on the way.

In a remarkable twist for the global thermostat, the UK Met Office said officials had recorded a provisional temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius – 104.36 degrees Fahrenheit – at Heathrow Airport in the aftermath -midday.

The provisional temperature broke the previous record of 38.7 C set in 2019 (climate wireJuly 18).

“I never expected to see this in my career,” said Stephen Belcher, chief scientist at the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, in a video on Twitter.

The dejected scientist added that “we could see temperatures like this every three years” if global emissions continue at a high rate.

“We are already committed to warming, and these extremes will become even more extreme in the future,” Belcher said.

At 11 a.m. EDT today, 4 p.m. UK, the Met Office reported that “temperatures have now exceeded 40 degrees Celsius in a number of UK locations, but cooler conditions are arriving in the far west of the country. “.

A first-ever red extreme heat warning remained in place for parts of England, along with a larger orange extreme heat warning for much of England, Wales and the south of Scotland.

A Red Extreme warning means ‘substantial changes to working practices and daily routines may be required’ and there is a ‘high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment’, according to the Met Office.

Meanwhile, London firefighters have declared a ‘major incident’ as grass and building fires broke out across the city.

“This comes as we have witnessed over 1,000 grass fires since June,” the fire department posted on Twitter.

The Independent The newspaper reported that ‘around 100 firefighters battled a blaze in the village of Wennington’ in east London today, with ‘television footage showing black smoke billowing into the air, with buildings and burning fields”.

” It’s essential. @LondonFire is under immense pressure,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted.

Flights were diverted from Luton Airport about 35 miles northwest of London yesterday after ‘high surface temperatures’ caused a small section of its runway to peel off, officials said. the airport in a Twitter statement. The track was repaired and reopened a few hours later.

In France, the translated website of the national meteorological agency, Météo France, reported that “the heat wave is moving towards the east of the country” and that “on the western side of the country, the atmosphere is becoming much more breathable “.

The break came after the city of Nantes, near the Atlantic coast, recorded a high of 42C yesterday, beating a previous record of 40.3C set in 1949. The city of Brest, in Brittany, has also set a temperature record and nighttime temperature records were also set in Normandy.

Wildfires have scorched thousands of hectares in several European countries, with dramatic videos posted on social media showing passengers on Spanish trains apparently surrounded by fires.

Although the weather systems are different, the United States is also feeling the pain.

Oklahoma City, for example, has a projected high temperature of 110 F today, which would tie a July record.

In total, US weather monitors today identified 14 locations across the country that are expected to reach daily record high temperatures today. Many of the record hot spots are in Texas, Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas.

“We are preparing for a broad expansion in heat,” Richard Bann, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, told E&E News. “The heat will come back.”

The average June temperature across the contiguous United States was 70.7°F, making it the 15th hottest June in 128 years.

Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi each had one of its 10 hottest Junes on record, while Texas had its fifth hottest month on record, according to NOAA.

England, meanwhile, could soon enjoy a welcome break.

“While it will be an unusually hot day for many, particularly in central and eastern England, however it will become cloudier and cooler as we move through the day in the west with a chance of a few showers or thunderstorms. The storm is likely to move towards the east of England later this afternoon with the potential for isolated heavy showers, gusty winds and lightning,’ the Met Office reported. “Temperatures should start to return closer to normal for the time of year as we move through the rest of the week with cooler air pushing across the country from the west.”

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