Britain is facing sweltering heat conditions with no rain which could lead to drought and wildfires, according to the national weather service and fire officials.
The Met Office, which monitors weather conditions, issued an Amber Extreme heat warning, today Aug. 11. Meanwhile, the National Drought Group is set to meet on Aug. 12 to decide whether to issue a drought warning.
The extreme heat warning is due to continue until Sunday and covers the southern half of England and parts of eastern Wales.
High pressure above England will see no let-up in the heat wave until next weekend.
“Persistent high pressure over the UK means temperatures have been rising day-on-day through this week and it is important people plan for the heat. Temperatures are expected to peak at 35 [degrees] C on Friday and possibly 36 [degrees] C over the weekend,” said Andy Page, Met Office chief meteorologist.
“We will also see increasingly warm nights, with temperatures expected not to drop below the low 20s [degrees] Celsius for some places in the south.
“Temperatures will drop early next week as the weather becomes more changeable. Heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely in some areas, but there is low confidence in the details at this time and it is impossible to say yet exactly where and when they will occur,” Page said.
Agostinho Sousa, head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the UK Health Security Agency, said, “Temperatures will feel very warm again this week, particularly in southern and central parts of the country.
“We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives, but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health.
“It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable—elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions—are prepared for coping during the hot weather.
“The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool, and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating,” said Sousa.
Mark Hardingham, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council warned that wildfires may break out, something that is highly unusual in the UK. In July wildfires devastated suburban areas in Essex in the East of England.
“In this heat, please don’t use barbecues when out in the countryside or at local parks,” said the fire chief.
“The increase in temperatures has seen fire services respond to a large number of fire and water rescue incidents.
“Many are preventable so we are asking the public to take steps to ensure they are keeping themselves and their communities safe.
Hardingham warned trying to keep cool could actually kill you.
“Rivers, lakes, and other water can still be very cold even in this hot weather. Jumping in for a swim can lead to cold water shock and accidental drowning, regardless of swimming ability. Unfortunately, this year we have seen a number of fatalities,” Hardingham said.
According to the Met Office, this heatwave could last longer than the 40 degree C record-breaking heatwave last month.