Extreme heat warning goes into effect in UK


LONDON (AP) — Britain’s first-ever extreme heat warning is in effect for large parts of England as hot, dry weather that has scorched mainland Europe for the past week moves north, disrupting travel, health care, and schools.

The “red” alert will last throughout Monday and Tuesday when temperatures may reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time, posing a risk of serious illness and even death among healthy people, according to the U.K. Met Office, the country’s weather service. The highest temperature ever recorded in Britain is 101.7  degrees Fahrenheit, a record set in 2019.

While Monday is likely to bring record highs to southeastern England, temperatures are expected to rise further as the warm air moves north on Tuesday, Met Office CEO Penelope Endersby said. The extreme heat warning stretches from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north.

Hot weather has gripped southern Europe since last week, triggering wildfires in Spain, Portugal, and France. Almost 600 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and Portugal, where temperatures reached 117 degrees Fahrenheit last week.

Drought and heat waves this summer have also made wildfires harder to fight.

Officials in southern France’s Gironde region announced plans to evacuate an additional 3,500 people from towns threatened by the raging flames. More than 1,500 firefighters and water-bombing planes are trying to douse the flames in the region’s tinder-dry pine forests.

In Britain, train operators are asking customers not to travel unless absolutely necessary because the heat is likely to warp rails and disrupt power supplies, leading to severe delays. Some medical appointments have been canceled to relieve strain on the health service. While some schools have closed, others are setting up wading pools and water sprays to help children cool off.

Britain is unaccustomed to the temperatures forecast this week, and few homes, schools, or small businesses have air conditioning. Across the U.K., average July temperatures range from a daily high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of 53 degrees.

Great Britain, Heat wave