UK heatwave: Britons urged to check on neighbours as temperatures soar

22 July 2019, 10:10 | Updated: 22 July 2019, 15:35

Britons are being urged to check on their neighbours as a heatwave hits the country this week.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said people should make time to "check in on neighbours and loved ones who can suffer the most from heat and pollen".

The warning comes as forecasters say the UK could see record temperatures for July this week and might even break the all-time night-time record.

The mercury is expected to hit 34C (95F) in London on Wednesday, while Thursday could see 36C (97F), not far off the July record of 36.7C (98F) and the record for the hottest night may also be under threat.

Sky News weather producer Chris England said: "We are likely to see night-time temperatures staying above the record July minimum of 23.3C (74F) set at St James's Park in 1948 and possibly the all-time record of 23.9C (75F) set in Brighton on the 4 August 1990.

"Daytime temperatures could well go over the July maximum of 36.7C (98F) set at Heathrow in 2015 as well, with Thursday being the hottest day.

"There's just a small chance that the all time record of 38.5C (101F) set at Faversham in August 2003 could be broken."

People with minor illnesses are urged to check the NHS website or call 111 for help.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: "A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Met Office have jointly issued a level two "alert and readiness" warning amid fears of a rise in heat-related health problems.

While daytime temperatures are set to hit highs in the mid-30s, humidity will make it will "feel like" 44C (111F), Netweather said, with a risk of isolated thunderstorms on Wednesday.

Relief will come by the weekend, as temperatures drop in more westerly winds, bringing rain.

For the majority of the UK, the mercury needs to hit 25C (77F) for three consecutive days to be classed as a heatwave.

This threshold increases the further south east in the country, with temperatures in London needing to reach 27C (81F).

The intense heat is being brought north from a plume of Saharan air, which is already causing high temperatures in parts of southern Europe.

France is set for a second heatwave of the summer this week.

The country's national weather agency, France Meteo, predicts the heatwave will last "three to four days rather than the six days of June's heatwave".

In the US, 50,000 people were left without power as the East Coast sweated through another day of extreme heat and humidity.

A Boston benefit run was cancelled, while a Civil War re-enactment was ditched in Dealware and the New York Police Department (NYPD) implored residents to take it easy.

"Sunday has been cancelled," the NYPD jokingly tweeted . "Stay indoors, nothing to see here. Really, we got this."