WORLD NEWS

UK breaks its record for highest temperature as heat builds

Jul 19, 2022, 6:01 AM | Updated: 4:00 pm
Kids cool themselves in a fountain outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall on July 19, 2022 in London, Uni...
Kids cool themselves in a fountain outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall on July 19, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. Temperatures were expected to hit 40C in parts of the UK this week, prompting the Met Office to issue its first red extreme heat warning in England, from London and the south-east up to York and Manchester. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered Tuesday amid a heat wave that has seized swaths of Europe — and the national weather forecaster predicted it would get hotter still in a country ill prepared for such extremes.

The typically temperate nation was just the latest to be walloped by unusually hot, dry weather that has gripped the continent since last week, triggering wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths. Images of flames racing toward a French beach and Britons sweltering — even at the seaside — have driven home concerns about climate change.

The U.K. Met Office registered a provisional reading of 40.2 degrees Celsius (104.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Heathrow Airport — breaking the record set just an hour earlier. Before Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in Britain was 38.7 C (101.7 F), a record set in 2019.

The nation watched the mercury rise with a combination of horror and fascination. With several hours of intense sunlight ahead, the record could go even higher.

“Temperatures are likely to rise further through today,’’ the forecaster said after the first record fell.

The sweltering weather has disrupted travel, health care and schools in a country not prepared for such extremes. A huge chunk of England, from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north, remained under the country’s first “red” warning for extreme heat Tuesday, meaning there is danger of death even for healthy people.

London streets saw less traffic, as many heeded advice to stay out of the sun, and trains ran at low speed out of concern rails could buckle, or did not run at all. The British Museum — which has a glass-roofed atrium — planned to shut its doors early. And the Supreme Court closed to visitors after a problem with the air conditioning forced it to move hearings online.

Many public buildings, including hospitals, don’t even have air conditioning, a reflection of how unusual such extreme heat is in the country better known for rain and mild temperatures.

The capital’s Hyde Park, normally busy with walkers, was eerily quiet — except for the long lines to take a dip in the park’s Serpentine lake.

“I’m going to my office because it is nice and cool,’’ said geologist Tom Elliott, 31, after taking a swim. “I’m cycling around instead of taking the Tube.’’

London’s King’s Cross Station, one of the country’s busiest rail hubs, was empty on Tuesday, with no trains on the typically bustling east coast line connecting the capital to the north and Scotland. London’s Luton Airport closed its runway for several hours Monday because of heat damage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain’s transport infrastructure, some of it dating from Victorian times, “just wasn’t built to withstand this type of temperature — and it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could.”

The dangers of extreme heat were on display in Britain and around Europe. At least six people were reported to have drowned across the U.K. in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while trying to cool off. Meanwhile, nearly 750 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal in the heat wave there.

The highest temperature previously recorded in Britain was 38.7 C (101.7 F), a record set in 2019. Tuesday’s reading was provisional, which means they are produced as near to real time as possible with final readings issued after data quality-control, the Met Office said.

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing that the likelihood of temperatures in the U.K. reaching 40 C (104 F) is now 10 times higher than in the pre-industrial era. In fact, that once unthinkable mark looked possible — even likely — Tuesday.

“This record temperature is a harbinger of things to come,’’ said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. “The increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and other extreme weather events is the result of climate change, and these impacts will continue to grow” unless the world drastically reduces emissions.

Drought and heat waves tied to climate change have also made wildfires harder to fight.

In the Gironde region of southwestern France, ferocious wildfires continued to spread through tinder-dry pines forests, frustrating firefighting efforts by more than 2,000 firefighters and water-bombing planes.

More than 37,000 people have been evacuated from homes and summer vacation spots since the fires broke out July 12 and burned through 190 square kilometers (more than 70 square miles) of forests and vegetation, Gironde authorities said.

A smaller third fire broke out late Monday in the Medoc wine region north of Bordeaux, further taxing firefighting resources. Five camping sites went up in flames in the Atlantic coast beach zone where blazes raged, around the Arcachon maritime basin famous for its oysters and resorts.

But weather forecasts offered some consolation, with heat-wave temperatures expected to ease along the Atlantic seaboard Tuesday and the possibility of rains rolling in late in the day.

___

Associated Press Writer John Leicester in Le Pecq, France, contributed to this story.

___

Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Climbers ascending Mount Kilimanjaro can now document their ascents in real-time on Instagram, foll...
Nimi Princewill, CNN

Africa’s highest peak gets fast internet

Climbers ascending Mount Kilimanjaro can now document their ascents in real-time on Instagram, following a recent move by Tanzanian authorities to install high-speed internet around the mountain's slopes.
1 day ago
The exterior of The City of Westminster Magistrates Court on August 23, 2013 in London, England.  (...
Associated Press

UK man in court over threat to ‘kill queen’ with crossbow

Prosecutors say a man who got into the grounds of Windsor Castle armed with a crossbow told police he wanted to “kill the queen."
2 days ago
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 15: A registered nurse prepares to administer an intradermal monkeypox vacc...
CNN

First possible case of human-to-dog monkeypox transmission reported

The first possible case of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox -- recently reported in two men and their pet in Paris -- had been a theoretical risk up till now, said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, technical lead on the monkeypox response for the World Health Organization.
3 days ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 01: A BMW logo is displayed at a BMW showroom in Manhattan on August 01...
Associated Press

Germany: 1 dead, 9 injured after test car veers into traffic

Police in Germany says one person has died and nine were seriously injured after a test car with autonomous steering capability veered into oncoming traffic.
3 days ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07:  Darius Campbell performing at Breast Cancer Care's London fashion sh...
Associated Press

‘Pop Idol’ and stage star Darius Campbell Danesh dies at 41

British singer and performer Darius Campbell Danesh died at age 41. His family said Tuesday that he was found unresponsive in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, on Aug. 11 and pronounced dead.
3 days ago
The lower reaches of the Whanganui River flow near the Kaiwhaiki settlement in New Zealand on June ...
NICK PERRY Associated Press

New Zealand river’s personhood status offers hope to Māori, against river’s degradation

WHANGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — The Whanganui River is surging into the ocean, fattened from days of winter rain and yellowed from the earth and clay that has collapsed into its sides. Logs and debris hurtle past as dusk looms. Sixty-one-year-old Tahi Nepia is calmly paddling his outrigger canoe, called a waka ama in his […]
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
UK breaks its record for highest temperature as heat builds