Britain battles scorching heat that could break records

LONDON. The UK is bracing for what could be the hottest day on record. Many schools in England were planning to close, hospitals were canceling non-essential procedures and nursing homes were preparing to keep their vulnerable residents safe.

The UK has declared a national emergency and released its first ever “Red” warning for exceptional heat, meaning there is a potential risk to life due to temperatures that can reach 41 degrees Celsius (about 106 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday and Tuesday. This will be the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK. The current record is 101.6 degrees, set in 2019, according to the UK Met Office.

High temperatures are becoming more common, not only in the UK, but throughout the world, and climate scientists have little doubt that burning fossil fuels is an important factor this change.

To make matters worse, most buildings in Britain are designed to retain heat, because in the past, low temperatures were a big concern. In addition, only a few homes have air conditioning, making people especially vulnerable to high temperatures.

“We are asking people to keep an eye on their neighbors and those who may be vulnerable,” UK Health Minister Steve Barclay said on Saturday, adding that additional measures have been added for ambulance services, including extra hours.

The government held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss preparations for the heatwave, but outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly did not attend, opting instead to hold a farewell party. according to local media.

Transport services will also be affected on Monday and Tuesday as the city’s Transport for London advises people to make only essential journeys.

Schools have not been ordered to close, although some will. The reaction of the parents was mixed.

“Some of the windows don’t open, there are no fans or air conditioners,” said Guy Arnel, 44, from Ascot, a town west of London, where his 18-year-old daughter attends. a week. “It’s probably best not to be in that kind of heat box.”

Some parents planned for their children to stay at home even if schools were open.

“We will keep our children at home so I can monitor what they eat, drink and how they behave,” said Zoe, 46, who has 8-year-old twins, one of whom is autistic and has a reduced kidney function, making it especially vulnerable to heat.

“In this situation, I’m very happy to play the ‘mother knows best’ card,” said Zoe, who lives in Cheshire in northwest England and asked to be named for privacy reasons.

Some hospitals have said they will cancel non-emergency surgeries, citing the risk to both patients and staff.

“We have made the decision to forego scheduled outpatient appointments and surgeries on Monday and Tuesday because many of the patients referred for these appointments are debilitated and at increased risk, and due to the unpredictable nature of very high fevers required by the emergency department. Jo Harrison, chief executive officer of Milton Keynes University Hospital, announced this on his Twitter.

Nursing homes and nursing homes were also preparing for the weather.

At Forrester Court Nursing Home in London, which provides care for vulnerable patients, including those with dementia, team leader Jessie Lau said staff are making sure residents stay hydrated and are also handing out ice cream. Like most buildings in Britain, the house does not have air conditioning. Lau said staff asked for extra fans to help offset the heat.

James Clear, manager of hospitality services at Care UK, which manages over 150 nursing homes across the UK including Forrester Court, highlighted the broad efforts to keep patients hydrated, saying in a statement: encouraging people to eat fruit as a snack, any interaction helps.”

Retailers are reporting unusual demand for fans and air conditioners, items traditionally considered unnecessary due to the country’s usually mild climate.

“As the UK heat wave continues, the country is going to be taking lengthy measures to keep temperatures warm, throwing away all kinds of food in the past few weeks, including fans,” said Lara Britten, home appliance expert at Currys. The largest electronics retailer in the UK.

RS. Britten said that over the past three days, Currys fan sales have increased by 300% from the previous week.

A spokeswoman for one of Britain’s largest department stores, John Lewis, said ventilator sales last week were up more than 250 percent year-over-year, while air-conditioning sales were up more than 525 percent year-over-year.

Some people seemed more eager to enjoy the heat than to endure it.

A spokesman for B&Q, the UK’s largest home goods retailer, said hot tub sales had nearly tripled over the past week from normal levels and sales of charcoal grills had almost doubled.

Britain’s RAC, which provides roadside assistance and other car services, said it expects a significant spike in breakdowns due to overheating vehicles and reiterated government calls to avoid unnecessary travel.

Train travel was also discouraged. Network Rail, which operates much of the UK rail network, has advised people not to use trains because of the risk of warping the tracks due to high temperatures and fires on the tracks.

Many people said they planned to stay close to home.

“I am 100% working from home this Monday because of the heat,” said Bertie Maher, 25, who works for an e-commerce company in London. “I can take cold showers during the day and sunbathe for 20 minutes during my lunch break.”