UK Weather: Country set to swelter over weekend heatwave

6 August 2020, 18:51

To trigger a “heatwave” in the UK, three days reaching certain temperatures are needed.
To trigger a “heatwave” in the UK, three days reaching certain temperatures are needed. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Forecasters have warned temperatures over the next three days will exceed the heatwave threshold, and potentially top 37C.

The Met Office has warned the public not to be "caught out" by soaring temperatures and not to underestimate the risks after a slightly cooler week.

Friday will see the UK boasting hotter temperatures than some classic European holiday destinations such as Ibiza and Tenerife, with the mercury predicted to soar to 37C (98.6F) in London and the South East.

As we reported yesterday, parts of the country will be hotter than top holiday destinations in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

But, concerns over dehydration and sunburn, especially among the most vulnerable are high as the weather is set to change.

The Met Office has issued a heat health alert, warning conditions could reach dangerous levels for some.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Dan Suri, said: “Although much of the UK can expect a spell of warm and sunny weather lasting into early next week, it’s going to turn very hot for parts of England and Wales with temperatures widely reaching above 30 Celsius on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"Met Office heatwave criteria will be reached over East Anglia and southeast England.

“Friday is likely to be the hottest day with temperatures of 36 to 37 Celsius in parts of east and southeast England."

Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said: "Everyone needs to be careful during this heatwave, especially on Friday, where we are going to see a dramatic rise in temperature in some parts, exceeding the heatwave threshold.

"After a slightly cooler week, people should make sure they aren't caught out. If you need to travel, keep hydrated and apply sunscreen; the chance of sunburn and dehydration will be much higher."

Friday will be the second day of a four-day heatwave expected to last until Sunday.

The sweltering temperatures are expected to continue until Sunday and are the result of hot air moving in from southern Europe.

The threshold for a heatwave is three days of temperatures over 25C (77F) across most of the nation and 28C (82.4F) in London.

Forecasters believe Friday could even surpass the 37.8C (100.04F) recorded in Heathrow on July 31 - the hottest day of the year so far, and the UK's third-warmest ever.

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a heat-health warning, with people advised to stay cool indoors by closing curtains that face the sun and ensuring pets or children are not kept in vehicles.

Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, consultant in public health at PHE, said: "This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to Covid-19. A lot of homes can overheat, so it's important we continue to check on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they're living alone and may be socially isolated."

Motorists looking to travel to seaside locations have been urged to ensure cooling systems are filled to the correct level, to look at the coolant date and to not overload their vehicle with luggage.

Breakdown experts Green Flag has predicted just under 127,000 breakdowns to occur between Friday and Wednesday, which translates to 15 breakdowns every minute.