Insane World

Met officials issue 4-day heat warning in parts of England and Wales

The Met Office has issued a four-day amber extreme heat warning, meaning vulnerable people’s health could be impacted and travel could be disrupted.

The warning applies to southern and central England and parts of Wales from midnight on Thursday until Sunday.

The amber alert is the longest the Met Office has issued since it introduced the warning system in 2021 and is lower than the first-ever red warning in July, when temperatures exceeded 40C for the first time.

But the Met Office said while temperatures this week would remain below last month’s record highs, this heatwave could last longer.

While the warnings remain lower than those issued during last month’s record temperatures, the UKHSA’s Dr Agostinho Sousa emphasised it was important vulnerable people, like the elderly who live alone or anyone with underlying health conditions, were “prepared for coping during the hot weather”.

“The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating,” he added.

Disabled people could be particularly affected by heat, and may suffer fatigue, difficulty regulating their body temperatures, or problems moving to cooler spots in the home, Fazilet Hadi, from Disability Rights UK, said.

Meanwhile, a dairy farmer in Shropshire has said he might have to send some of his cows to slaughter if there is no rain in August as a result of the reduced amount of grass available.

England had its driest July this year since 1935, according to the Met Office, while south-east and central southern England had the driest month since records began in 1836.

Between the start of this year and 6 August, the south-east recorded 144 days with average rainfall of less than 0.5mm. Of those, 57 saw no rain at all.

Cathryn Ross from Thames Water said the water company was “seeing unprecedentedly low storage” and this summer saw “less than 65% of rainfall” than expected.

“We’re looking at less than 75% of our storage at the moment as to where we would expect it to be.

She said Thames Water was planning ahead for hotter, drier summers by becoming more water efficient, increasing storage and “potentially” new reservoirs.

Warnings of the threat posed by wildfires have been issued, with fire services urging people not to light bonfires or barbecues, or let off fireworks or sky lanterns.

On Tuesday, around 70 firefighters battled a blaze over five hectares of grass and shrubland in Enfield, north London, while there were also fires on the outskirts of Ipswich, in Northamptonshire and near Reading.

The heatwave combined with months of dry weather have also led to increasing problems for farmers, with grass not growing and irrigation water running low cited as two key concerns.

Thames Water said it would be announcing restrictions on water use in response to forecasts of more hot and dry weather.

The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has warned river flows are set to remain exceptionally low in central, southern and eastern England until October.

River Action founder Charles Watson called for the government to act to prevent an “ecological emergency”, warning that if river flows slowed down the ecology of rivers could be killed and the concentration of pollution in them would increase.