Temperatures in the UK have reached beyond 40C (104F) for the first time in recorded history.
A temperature of 40.3C was registered in Coningsby, Lincolnshire; a total of 33 places in the UK exceeded the country’s previous record of 38.7C, set in 2019.
After a spike in fires, some fire departments declared significant incidents. A big fire destroyed homes in the East London neighbourhood of Wennington.
Many rail services had to be cancelled because the tracks overheated or crumbled, and overhead cables broke.
Hundreds of London firefighters battled a grass fire that spread to nearby Wennington residences.
An eyewitness at the scene of the blaze described it as “total hell,” and residents were told that at least eight homes and maybe a church was destroyed.
Tim Stark, whose house was burned in the incident, called the fire department, telling them that he and his son had observed the fire in his neighbour’s garden but could not put out the flames because of the dry circumstances.
He estimated that as many as 15-20 homes were destroyed or rendered unusable.
“My house, the next-door neighbour’s house, and three or four more along that stretch are completely gone.”
Additionally, fires have broken out throughout the country, with significant occurrences reported in counties such as Leicestershire, East; North; South; Yorkshire; Leicester; Hertfordshire, Suffolk; Norfolk; as well as other nearby locales.
Following an update on the “hazardous flames,” Home Secretary Priti Patel advised the public to follow safety advice provided by their local fire service.
There was an appeal in the capital for people to avoid barbecuing and bonfires and to be careful with their cigarette butts.
After a fire in Dagenham, east London, two people were transported to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, while a nursery in Milton Keynes was also damaged.
Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Smith of the London Fire Brigade said some of the flames in the city were caused by “tinderbox” conditions and that Tuesday evening would be “important” in ensuring that the fires were kept from spreading further.
Adding, “It would be premature to declare we are out the other end of this episode,” he said.
Temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius in many locations, including Heathrow Airport, Gringley on the Hill, St James’s Park, Kew Gardens, and Northolt – all located in London.
Eastern England had temperatures between 39C and 40C, and at least 34 weather stations set new records for UK temperatures. This was the hottest day recorded in England.
Charterhall, in the Scottish Borders, registered 34.8C, topping the previous 32.9C set in 2003, according to preliminary Met Office estimates.
In Wales, Hawarden in Flintshire recorded 36.2C, provisionally the second-highest temperature ever recorded in Wales, but lower than Monday’s 37.1C record-breaking temperature.
In an undisturbed environment, temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius are “nearly inconceivable,” according to Met Office chief scientist and technology Prof Stephen Belcher. Still, due to climate change “fueled by greenhouse gases,” such severe temperatures are now a reality.
He warned that “temperatures like this may happen every three years” if excessive emissions persisted.
The first time the Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning, which expires at midnight on Tuesday after two days of excessive temperatures.
Some areas of the country are seeing rain, and lower temperatures are anticipated to arrive on Wednesday.
At least five people have drowned in and around water in the last two days, prompting the release of safety warnings.
It was announced Tuesday afternoon by the Metropolitan Police that the body of a 16-year-old boy who had gone missing on Monday had been discovered on the River Thames in Richmond, west London.
Network Rail had issued a travel advisory due to the severe heat, and there have been reports of bent roads and power outages.
Several rail operators have warned that service disruptions could continue on Wednesday morning as faults are resolved.
Additionally, here are some related updates:
1. Five individuals had been saved when rescuers arrived, and one was still missing.
2. A person has died after being rescued from the Isle of Wight’s sea.
3. Overheating transformers and sagging conductors contributed to power outages across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and the North East.
4. Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospitals in London had IT server problems due to the high temperatures.
5. Extreme caution is in effect for a large portion of England, encompassing the cities of London, Manchester, and York.
In the early morning hours, thunderstorms pounded the renowned tourist resort of Penzance, Cornwall, bringing a considerably cooler climate.
On Wednesday, colder temperatures are expected across the country, and thunderstorms are likely in the east and northeast of England, bringing an abrupt end to the heatwave.
In the night between Monday and Tuesday, the United Kingdom saw the warmest night on record, according to preliminary data.
According to the Met Office, nighttime temperatures of 25.9C were reported at Emley Moor in West Yorkshire, perhaps breaking the record.
According to Network Rail, the severe heat significantly impacted rail services, with tracks buckling and overhead electrical systems failing.
Suffolk just set a new record for rail temperatures, reaching 62C.
“The tough and unfortunate decision” to close the East Coast Mainline and the Midland Mainline on Tuesday was made by Network Rail’s Jake Kelly, the group director for system operation.
To cope with an increasingly hotter environment will require “many years” of service modifications; Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the UK rail network could not manage the intense heat.
According to water firms, greater water demand is causing low pressure and even interruptions in supply for specific families in the south and east of England.
Human-caused climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves.
Global temperatures have warmed by around 1.1C since the industrial revolution began, and unless governments worldwide drastically reduce emissions, they will continue to rise.
According to the UN’s climate science panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we live in the hottest period in 125,000 years.
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said the exceptional temperatures were “clearly underlining challenges with water security.” Farmers have warned that the UK is not prepared to deal with water shortages caused by climate change.
Wildfires have disappeared in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Morocco, among other places in Europe and North Africa, due to the high heat.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to affect travel in the southeast of England from 13:00 BST to 23:00 BST on Wednesday.