Flights across London have been grounded and weary holidymakers left stranded as thunderstorms and record-breaking July heat brought air and rail travel misery to thousands.
Flights were cancelled at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and Eurotunnel passengers faced delays of up to three and a half hours.
British Airways apologised after cancelling around 30 flights out of Heathrow on Friday as the heatwave sparks travel chaos.
The meltdown, caused by electrical storms across the continent in Britain and Europe, comes just hours after London was brought to a standstill by rail cancellations.
Trains stopped running at several major London stations, including Kings Cross, St Pancras and Waterloo, as the mercury hit a July record of 38C yesterday and rails buckled in the heat.
The lack of trains meant many air passengers were left stranded at the airports.
Euston station was packed with people as trains struggled in the heat with some tracks buckling and speed limits down
Commuters stuck at Kings Cross St Pancras railway station after overhead cables were damaged, severely disrupting East Midlands and Thameslink services
Lengthy queues in sweltering conditions at Stansted Airport were caused when thunderstorms delayed or grounded flights
Cancelled: Late yesterday evening flights inbound to Stansted from Central and Eastern Europe were cancelled in the heat
Many passengers took to social media to complain that little or no information was being imparted over tannoy systems
One social media user stuck at Heathrow tweeted: ‘Flight stranded, 3,5h and still no update on departure. We do have a whole Balkan band onboard tho :)’
It follows chaos for commuters up and down the country with hundreds stranded on sweltering services while they struggle to get home from work.
Sparks from overheated cables caused a trackside fire this evening while police hauled trapped passengers off a sweltering train in two separate incidents.
Britain endured temperatures hitting 100.6F (38C) amid health warnings, melting pavements and major train disruption today.
Hundreds of commuters were stuck on two trains after damaged overhead electrical cables caused a grass fire on a railway embankment at Finchley Road station in Hampstead, North London.
Up to 600 passengers were trapped as the blaze took hold, buckling rails and causing chaos for commuters struggling to get home.
Meanwhile, near Peterborough, rescue teams were pictured freeing trapped passengers – including a pregnant woman – who were stranded for two hours without air conditioning. London North Eastern Rail cancelled all services in and out of Kings Cross following the incident.
Pictured: Passengers are evacuated near Peterborough today after they were trapped without air conditioning for two hours
Pictured: Commuters face a gruelling journey home this evening on the central line in London as the UK had its second-hottest day on record
Pictured: Passengers gather in the sweltering heat at Kings Cross St Pancras station in central London as temperatures soared today
Commuters are stripping to the waist on the London Underground this evening as temperatures soar across the country
Pictured: Commuters trapped on a train halfway between Newark and Kings Cross as chaos spreads across UK travel networks in the blistering heat
Rail workers are pictured stranded near Peterborough today as passengers had to be rescued from a carriage with no air conditioning
Pictured: Fire breaks out in Hampstead, melting rails and causing chaos for up to 600 commuters in the capital this evening
Police are pictured at Hampstead this evening after fire broke out trackside on the UK’s second-hottest day in history
Police scrambled to Hampstead in north London after a blaze broke out trackside when cables overheated in the sweltering temperatures today
It follows last night’s disruption of Britain’s busiest station after man was seen chasing a dog along electrified tracks. All lines in and out of London Waterloo were blocked at about 7pm due to trespass, South Western Railway said. Video shared on social media showed a man running along the tracks at the approach to the station.
‘We saw a dog running down the track and then, 20 seconds later, a man running after it,’ said passenger Adam Willmott, 23. ‘The dog was much faster and the man was looking rather tired.’
He said his London-bound train had been stationary for more than 20 minutes with no power. ‘We have no air conditioning and it is just getting hotter and hotter,’ he said. ‘The train manager said he doesn’t know when we will move.’
A spokesman for South Western Railway said: ‘I can confirm that the trespass incident involves an individual chasing a dog down the rail lines and that services have been held between Waterloo and Vauxhall stations. The British Transport Police have been called to handle the incident.’
It follows earlier disruption at London Euston and London St Pancras because of heat-related problems on tracks. Commuters are stripping to the waist on the London Underground and other services as they face arduous journeys home in baking heat.
Commuters were stuck at St Pancras railway station after overhead cables were damaged, severely disrupting East Midlands and Thameslink services.
Boards displayed at the station announced most trains had been cancelled with others delayed. Two rail workers said the wires had been damaged by fire.
Pictured: A man runs along the track near Waterloo last night as he frantically chased after his dog, bringing disruption ahead of today’s heatwave
Gary Freeman, 56, a senior worker in the construction industry, faced an unknown delay for his train back to St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
Wiping his forehead repeatedly with a handkerchief, he said: ‘This week it’s been crazy, last Friday this happened as well. On the hottest day of the year it adds insult to injury.
‘I’m debating whether to keep standing here sweating or to go and get a nice cold beer. There are people sitting in trains not moving on the tracks apparently.’
Network Rail’s network services director Nick King said: ‘We have a number of heat-related incidents across the rail network this evening that are causing disruption to services. We are sorry that some passengers are experiencing uncomfortable conditions and inconvenience.
‘Our teams are working flat-out to fix the issues as quickly as possible and get people on the move. We’re asking anyone travelling this evening to check with their train operators or visit the National Rail Enquiries website to see how their journey is affected.’
Further travel disruption could be caused by thundery downpours prompted by the sweltering temperatures, with flash flooding and even power cuts possible.
A yellow warning for thunderstorms has been issued for most of England except the South West, and parts of Scotland until 4am on Friday.
A shirtless passenger on a rush-hour Victoria line train on the sweltering London Underground this morning
A man rides shirtless on an air-conditioned Great Northern train from London King’s Cross to Ely in Cambridgeshire today
Pictured: A fire breaks out on the line between London and Luton today, cancelling trains as the wires above the track overheated
Trains in and out of Manchester Piccadilly have been delayed as problems on the West Coast Main Line are expected until the end of the day.
This is understood to be after a number of overhead wires on the network were damaged by the heat. A spokeperson for Manchester Piccadilly said: ‘Due to numerous heat related issues across the network we have widespread delays and cancellations.
‘We are doing everything we can to keep trains moving. All but essential travel advised. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this will obviously cause.’
Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: ‘We’re already seeing thunderstorms being triggered by today’s hot weather and we’ll continue to see thunderstorms breaking out this evening and overnight across wide areas of the UK.
‘Also tonight it’s going to be very warm across central, eastern and south-eastern parts in particular as temperatures fall no lower than 23C to 24C in places, which could see further temperature records broken.’
A fire broke out near the tracks of the London to Luton main line this afternoon after the soaring temperatures reportedly caused cables to overheat.
A rambler collapsed in the heat in Dorset, surfaces melted in Grimsby and Londoners faced searing heat on the Tube with the high humidity expected to make temperatures feel like 109F (43C) in the South East this afternoon.
Temperatures hit 100.6F (38.1C) in Cambridge at 3.30pm – making it the warmest July day on record and the second hottest day in UK history behind the 101.3F (38.5C) in August 2003 – with the mercury still set to rise.
East Midlands Trains urged passengers ‘do not travel’, while Thameslink said ‘you are strongly advised not to travel’, after the heat caused damage to overhead electric wires between London St Pancras and Luton. In Greater Manchester, firefighters hosed down Barton swing bridge in Salford to avoid it buckling in the heat.
Pictured: Today’s hottest temperatures at major cities across the UK, with London coming out on top with highs of 99.9F
Hundreds of thousands of commuters who use Southeastern, Greater Anglia, Southern, Gatwick Express, London North Eastern, West Midlands and Great Northern trains also faced delays, cancellations and overcrowding today. The West Coast main line in Greater Manchester along with other services in the county are facing major disruption.
Police were called after scuffles broke out at the Brockwell and Parliament Hill lidos in London as hundreds of people tried to get in, while food was removed from the shelves of a Sainsbury’s in Bolton after its fridges broke.
As hundreds of thousands of people sunbathed in beaches and parks, fan sales rose 200 per cent at some stores and bosses at Madame Tussauds Blackpool had to move waxworks out of direct sunlight to avoid them melting.
Police warned people over swimming in the heatwave after three men drowned and another was reported missing, while racing at Southwell was abandoned with two races remaining due to the ‘extreme temperatures’.
A reduced service is operating on commuter train routes and between London and Scotland, with trains running as slowly as 20mph to protect the tracks. Rail operators said delays could last well into this evening.
The heat was all too much for some men, who took off their shirts as they rode public transport. One shirtless man was seen working on his laptop on an air-conditioned train from London King’s Cross to Ely in Cambridgeshire.
The heat also affected mainland Europe, with Paris recording its hottest day ever as temperatures topped 109F (42.6C) – smashing a 70-year-old record – while Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also set all-time records.
Tonight, the Met Office has issued a warning for thunderstorms in the east of the country including 1.2in (30mm) of rain in less than an hour plus frequent lightning, hail and gusty winds from 3pm today until early tomorrow.
Pictured: Sunbathers make the most of today’s sweltering weather as they relax on the beach in Margate, Kent, as Great Britain melts
Pictured: A Queen’s Life Guard braves the soaring heat as he stands to attention at Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall in London this afternoon
A shirtless man walks along Regent Street in Central London today as the capital endures the heatwave
One Londoner beat the scorching temperatures by creating his own beach in the middle of Blackfriars Bridge yesterday. The scene was photographed by holidaymaker Tom Evison, 44, who is visiting the UK from Australia, and posted on Facebook
Steps appear to have melted in the heat outside a house in Ladbroke Grove, West London, pictured at 8.30am today. The photo was taken by Mouki Koutouki, of Hammersmith, who said on Facebook: ‘Tales of heatwave madness – the floor is lava’
The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) – and it will be even hotter on the continent
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Forecasters warned that flooding and lightning strikes could affect driving conditions, disrupt train services and lead to power cuts, although temperatures are expected to become much cooler from tomorrow onwards.
There is then a further warning for heavy rain in northern England and southern Scotland from 12pm Saturday until 3pm Sunday, with up to 4.7in (120mm) expected over the Pennines and North York Moors plus a flooding risk.
Meanwhile, in Liverpool: Showers have started sweeping across the city in the north-west, while temperatures remain on the brink of record-breaking in the south-east
Liverpudlians brave the downpour in Merseyside as sunbathers hit the beach in the south-east of England as much of Britain swelters today
What records could be broken in Britain today?
TOP TEMPERATURE OF TODAY SO FAR
- 100.6F (38.1C) at Cambridge – July 25, 2019
HOTTEST DAY OF 2019
- BROKEN – Previous record was 93.7F (34.3C) in Writtle, Essex – July 24 (yesterday)
HOTTEST JULY DAY
- BROKEN – 98.1F (36.7C) at London Heathrow – July 1, 2015
HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD
- England and UK: 101.3F (38.5C) in Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003
- Scotland: 91.2F (32.9C) in Greycrook, Borders, on August 9, 2003
- Wales: 95.4F (35.2C) in Harwarden Bridge, Flintshire, on August 2, 1990
- Northern Ireland: 87.4F (30.8C) in Knockarevan, County Fermanagh, on June 20, 1976 and Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast, on July 12, 1983
Police had to be called to an outdoor swimming pool after hordes of overheating Londoners tried to force their way in. Around 500 people tried to storm Brockwell Lido in South East London during the heat.
Tempers flared around midday when waiting times topped three hours. The Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police were called to Brockwell Lido to reports of overcrowding.
‘Officers attended. Security staff at the lido have closed the doors as a group of 500 people are trying to get in. The owners of the venue are advising people not to come as there is a three-hour waiting time.’
Gauri Kangai posted a picture of the fracas on Twitter with the words ‘No City for Keeping Cool’. She added: ‘Raises (questions) about design in cities for extreme climate instances like today.’
There were similar scenes elsewhere in the capital – with Parliament Hill Lido forced to refuse further entry just before noon due to overcrowding.
Police were repeatedly forced to attend the pool after fights broke out in the queue, and eventually the Met decided to leave an officer effectively on guard to prevent any more disruption.
The force said: ‘Officers were first called to the venue at 9.49am when a number of minor scuffles broke out as swimmers queued to enter the lido. Further incidents of disorder broke out throughout the day.’
A spokesman said there had been no arrests or any reported injuries, but added: ‘Police remain in attendance to prevent a breach of the peace.’
Fire crews cool down the Barton swing bridge in Salford, Greater Manchester, to stop it buckling this afternoon
Pigs were protected by factor 30 suncream at Stonehurst Family Farm in Mountsorrel, Leicester, amid the heat today
In Cambridgeshire, temperatures in this garden nudged 40C (104F) during the afternoon before the barometer swung to rain to indicate storms on the way
People attempt to cool off from the high temperatures in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake in London this afternoon
Sainsbury’s in Bolton in Greater Manchester, where chilled foods and drinks had to be removed from shelves and fridges closed down after equipment stopped working due to the severe heat today
Enormous queues to get into the Hyde Park Lido in London today on one of the hottest days ever recorded in Britain
People enjoy the sunshine on Bournemouth beach as the UK surpasses the hottest July day on record today
Children jump into the water of the River Hamble in Hampshire this afternoon to cool off in the hot weather
Six ducklings cool off from the blistering heat today by taking a dip in a swimming pool in Hibaldstow, Lincolnshire
Pictured: Sunbathers on Hampstead Heath as Britain sweltered in the heat today on what was the UK’s second warmest day ever
Pictured: Sunbathers in Hyde Park, central London, today as temperatures soared across the country, melting roads on the second warmest day in UK history
In Bristol, Portishead Lido warned those hoping to cool off of long queues. Staff tweeted: ‘Be prepared for a long wait, and there’s no shade. Bring water, snacks, folding chairs, sunscreen, a hat and some patience and humour.’
Previous top ten hottest days recorded in Britain
- 101.3F (38.5C) – August 10, 2003
- 98.8F (37.1C) – August 3, 1990
- 98.1F (36.7C) – July 1, 2015
- 98.1F (36.7C) – August 9, 1911
- 97.9F (36.6C) – August 2, 1990
- 97.7F (36.5C) – July 19, 2006
- 97.5F (36.4C) – August 6, 2003
- 97F (36.1C) – August 4, 1990
- 96.8F (36C) – August 9, 2003
- 96.6F (35.9C) – July 3, 1976
Lidos in Peterborough, London’s Tooting Bec and at Hemsley in York were also forced to turn away disappointed swimmers after reaching capacity.
In Bristol, a burst water main left hundreds of homes in the Speedwell, Eastville, Fishponds and Horfield areas without water today, with engineers saying they are working ‘as quickly as possible’ to restore the supply.
A Bristol Water spokesman said: ‘With the weather being as hot as it has been we get ground movements. It’s very likely ground movements has caused friction to increase and decrease the pipe size and unfortunately it’s burst.’
It comes as the Environment Agency said spy drones will be used for the first time this summer to catch cheating farmers who are taking out too much water from rivers to pit on their parched crops.
Some people used electric fans to cope with the heat, with sales at Currys PC World up 200 per cent and John Lewis reporting selling six every minute.
Swimmers cool down by jumping into the River Swale at Richmond in North Yorkshire today as the heatwave continues
Mebea Kichaw, five, and his sister Nitsuh, seven, play in the fountains at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre today
The huge queue outside Tooting Bec Lido in South London this afternoon as people try to get inside for a swim
People play in the water at Hathersage Outdoor Swimming Pool in Derbyshire on an extremely hot day for Britain
Sunseekers flock to Goodrington Sands in Devon today on what is expected to possibly be Britain’s hottest ever day
And Aldi sold out of its 12ft garden swimming pool just 10 days after it went on sale for £89.99. The circular ‘Intex Metal Frame Pool’ can hold 7,199 litres of water but it was no longer available to buy on its website.
Aldi’s new swimming pool sells out in 10 days as consumers turn to fans and wine to beat the heat
Aldi has sold out of its enormous garden swimming pool just ten days after it went on sale.
The huge, circular pool is 12ft wide and can hold 7,199 litres of water. But due to the huge demand during this week’s heatwave, there are no longer any left.
The £89.99 pool is held up by a steel frame and comes with a pool skimmer, cover, floating chemical dispenser and four repair patches. But Aldi’s website states the ‘Intex Metal Frame Pool’ is now sold out.
One vexed customer – called Xander the Mander – tweeted: ‘Wishing I’d bought the inflatable pool I saw in Aldi so I could pop it on the roof n chill’.
Sweltering consumers are also turning to fans and rose wine in their droves to cope with the heatwave.
Currys PC World said fan sales were up 200 per cent while John Lewis reported selling six fans a minute.
The department store has also seen sales of temperature balancing bedding soar by 76 per cent while linen sheet sales are up 82 per cent.
Currys said Dyson and Logik Pedestal models were clocking up a lot of interest online.
Waitrose shoppers have provided the supermarket with two of its biggest weeks ever for sales of rose wine while also sending sales of English sparkling wine up 71 per cent and Champagne up 27 per cent.
Superdrug reported sales of cooling sprays rising by 116 per cent on Monday compared to Sunday in preparation for the heatwave, while sales of deodorants and body sprays were up 26 per cent week on week following the temperature increase.
Meanwhile, Halfords warned drivers to get their car’s air conditioning checked.
The budget store is also selling giant inflatable flamingo pool floats for £19.99 and a water slide for £12.99.
Bosses at Madame Tussauds Blackpool said they had moved waxwork figures of Ariana Grande and Freddie Mercury out of direct sunlight and away from windows to keep them cool in the intense heat.
A swimmer drowned today while taking a cooling dip in the sea.
Paramedics and police were called to Norman’s Bay in Pevensey, East Sussex, shortly before lunchtrime after a body was spotted floating in the water just off the beach.
Rescuers who rushed to the scene managed to pull the victim onto the beach and attempted heart massage but the person was certified dead at the scene.
The body was taken by ambulance to the mortuary at the Conquest Hospital in nearby Hastings where a post mortem examination will be carried out to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Parts of the London Overground were suspended due to heat-related speed restrictions, while a points failure near Potters Bar and a signalling fault near East Croydon caused further disruption for commuters this morning.
London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway advised passengers not to start new journeys as high temperatures are disrupting its services to London and across the West Midlands.
A spokesman for the operators said: ‘We are sorry to have to issue this advice. We don’t make these decisions very often nor do we take them lightly.
‘Faced with multiple heat related incidents across our network the responsible thing is to focus on people already travelling. We will be doing all we can to get people home this evening.’
The scorching temperatures caused damage to overhead electric wires between London St Pancras and Luton, blocking all lines. This is affecting East Midlands Trains and Thameslink services.
East Midlands Trains posted a message on Twitter urging passengers ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ and warned it had been unable to secure ticket acceptance via alternative routes.
Thameslink said ‘you are strongly advised not to travel’, and said journey times will be extended by up to 90 minutes.
Overhead electric wires between London Euston and Watford Junction have also been damaged by the heat, disrupting Virgin Trains services.
A spokesman for the operator said: ‘Due to extensive disruption on the network today, any Virgin Trains customers who would prefer to postpone their travel can use their tickets on Virgin Trains services tomorrow. A full refund will be available to those who choose not to travel.’
Nick King, network services director at Network Rail, said: ‘We have a number of heat-related incidents across the rail network this evening that are causing disruption to services.
Don’t wear flip flops while driving, motorists urged
Britons who will be wearing flip flops during the heatwave this week have been warned to put proper shoes on for driving.
For those who get behind the wheel with the footwear could find themselves landed with a careless driving charge.
Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are advised they must have ‘footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.
While wearing flip flops while driving is not illegal, they could become wedged under pedals, and make someone drive erratically.
Careless driving comes with a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your licence. But charges contested in court could see a £5,000 fine, nine penalty points and even a driving ban.
‘We are sorry that some passengers are experiencing uncomfortable conditions and inconvenience. Our teams are working flat out to fix the issues as quickly as possible and get people on the move.
‘We’re asking anyone travelling this evening to check with their train operators or visit the National Rail Enquiries website to see how their journey is affected.’
Motoring organisations warned the scorching heat could cause roads to ‘melt like chocolate’, requiring gritters to be called out.
Today broke the temperature record set just yesterday for the hottest day of 2019 as Essex hit 93.8F (34.3C).
Parts of England experienced a ‘tropical night’ overnight as temperatures failed to fall below 20C (68F), the Met Office said. Norfolk saw an overnight minimum 69.6F (20.9C), while it was 69.3F (20.7C) in London.
Commuters on the Central and Bakerloo lines of the London Underground this morning sweltered in temperatures of at least 89.1F (31.7C), saying they ‘are being treated like animals’.
NHS worker Jimmy Lyons, 38, of north London, was travelling into work on the Central Line this morning.
He said: ‘There’s still no proper air conditioning in this day and age and I want money invested. I’ve just got back from America – if there was no proper air con they would sue. Animals aren’t even transported in this heat.’
Emergency services rescue a man from the River Swale at Richmond, North Yorkshire, today as people jump into the water
With the school holidays now in full swing, families rush to the lido pool in Peterborough today to enjoy the hot weather
People enjoy the hot weather on Brighton beach in East Sussex as the UK enjoys the hottest July day on record today
Sunbathers gather in London’s Green Park today as the country is hit by sweltering temperatures during the heatwave
A man struggles in the heat on the Northern line in London (left), while a woman wipes her brow on the Victoria (right) today
Sunseekers flock to the beach at Goodrington Sands in Devon today on what is expected to be Britain’s hottest ever day
Annie Parker, 45, a British expat data analyst in Oman who regularly works in London, said she missed the trains in the Middle Eastern country.
Pavement MELTS under pedestrian’s feet
Temperatures have been soaring so much in parts of Britain that the heat is now melting roads.
Rick Byrne filmed the pavement melting underneath his feet in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, and after just a few seconds it showed the imprint of his trainers.
Shoe prints can be seen in the road in Grimsby yesterday
The road surface was starting to come loose yesterday as temperatures hit 84F (29C) with ridges and lines appearing from passing cars.
And video footage showed shoe prints appearing in the road after just a few seconds of standing in one spot.
Previously in hot weather, councils have sent gritters to try to stop melting roads causing problems for drivers.
A tyre print left in a road in the Lincolnshire town yesterday
Travelling on the Central line in shorts and a tank top, she said: ‘Yesterday on the Jubilee line was horrendous. London is one of the biggest cities in the world and we’ve had the Tube here for a long, long time but there’s never been any investment.
‘We are just not considered high enough priority. In Oman it’s worse outside but it’s better inside. There’s air con everywhere and the Tubes there aren’t only AC but there’s refreshing smells as well. That’s how they combat body odour and it makes it more pleasant and everyone’s clean – you don’t appreciate until you don’t have it.’
Trainee lawyer Emma Holder, 25, pays £7 a day to commute from Finsbury Park in North London.
She said: ‘It’s the worst part of my day for sure. I think we’ve being treated like animals – everyday one of my friends will say on our WhatsApp chat that it’s ridiculous.
‘It’s hot and it’s not acceptable because it’s really expensive to get the Tube and when you’re paying a certain amount you expect it to be a decent service. I don’t understand why other cities that have the Tube have a decent service.’
Business Paul Fletcher, 67, from Holland Park, said: ‘I think we are being treated like animals. I use the Central line most days – that really is a properly terrible service. I think they are a nightmare. They’ve got to make investment and air conditioning.’
It follows dramatic thunderstorms which battered large areas of the UK on Tuesday night, with spectacular images showing lightning illuminating the night sky. There were said to have been about 48,000 lightning strikes.
Several buildings were damaged and hundreds of homes in Norfolk were left without power.
The Met Office has issued a warning for further thunderstorms tonight, covering the east of the country from 3pm lasting into tomorrow morning.
A man dives into the cool water at the men’s swimming pond at Hampstead Heath in North West London today
The queue for the Hampstead Heath Lido in North West London snaked around the corner in the heatwave today
Pedestrians walk on Westminster Bridge under the scorching sun as record temperatures are expected in the capital today
People punt under the Bridge of Sighs at St. John’s College in Cambridge on the River Cam today
Commuters pictured in the rush hour on a Piccadilly line train today on what has been the hottest ever July day
It forecast temperatures of 37C (98F) but said there is a 70 per cent chance the UK record of 38.5C (101F) will be broken.
Spy drones will catch farmers taking too much water out of rivers for crops
Spy drones are being used this summer to catch cheating farmers who are taking out too much water from rivers to pit on their parched crops.
The Environment Agency has warned that to ensure farmers and landowners stick to their permitted limits on pumping water onto their fields, the authority will for the first time be launching drones fitted with cameras.
Last year’s heat wave saw illegal abstractions by growers desperate to water their valuable crops so now the EA will use spy-in-the-sky camera drones to check on farmers in the Cambridgeshire Fens.
Andrew Chapman, of the Environment Agency, said: ‘We will be prioritising our water resources compliance work over the summer in those catchments that are at risk from this prolonged dry period. It is the first time we have ever used drones for this purpose.’
The EA says if irrigators are caught abstracting water illegally, they face enforcement action ranging from written warnings to prosecution.
That was set in Kent during the heatwave of August 2003 in which more than 2,000 people died.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said:’It will get into the 30s across the country and reach the mid-30s in the South East.
‘If it is to get to 39C, it will happen somewhere between London and Cambridge. Temperatures locally could also break July or all-time records.’
Health professionals warned that the elderly and those with heart and respiratory problems are again at risk. Hospitals are expected to face extra pressure as cases of dehydration soar.
Councils urged people to check on vulnerable friends and family, while parents are advised to take extra care to keep babies and young children cool.
Pets and zoo animals are also at risk. Monkeys were given ice lollies containing carrots, sweet potato and honey to keep them cool at Longleat Safari Park.
Police issued a warning about swimming during the heatwave after three men drowned and another was reported missing. The first man drowned at Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire on Tuesday.
Divers then recovered the body of a 23-year-old from the River Thames at Shadwell Basin and a 47-year-old further along the river at Kingston yesterday, while the search continues for a man last seen in the water at Waterloo Bridge on Tuesday.
A P&O cross-Channel ferry starts its voyage as people float in rubber dinghies close to the White Cliffs of Dover today
Roads in Empingham, a village in Rutland in the East Midlands, have been melting under the intense heat today
A temperature of 89.1F (31.7C) was recorded at Notting Hill Gate station on the Central line in West London at 7.30am today
A beautiful scene on the River Thames in Windsor, Berkshire, this morning as the heatwave continues to hit Britain
A man enjoying a day off feels the heat on a tennis court in Leicestershire as temperatures soar across the country today
Pictures taken using the Cat S61 smartphone show temperatures of 92.12F (33.4C) on the Victoria Line in London (left) today as temperatures rocket towards 102F. Thermal images show temperatures of 100F (38.2C) on the 220 London bus from Willesden to Wandsworth today (right)
Thermal images of the Piccadilly Line this morning show a man looking uncomfortable and hot (left). Packed Tube carriages are pictured on the Victoria Line (right) where the mercury rocketed to 93.2F (34C) on the morning commute
The UK was hit by thunderstorms overnight on Tuesday, with a series of images showing lightning illuminating the night sky.
Labour calls for workers to be sent home in heat
Workers should be protected from stiflingly hot temperatures, with legal safeguards to help them stay cool, Labour is urging.
Under plans revealed by the party, if the workplace temperatures goes over 86F (30C), or 81F (27C) for those doing strenuous work, employers will have to put in place effective controls.
Most workers in the UK have no legal safeguards protecting them from working during uncomfortably high temperatures or dangerous extreme heat, with current guidance only referring to a minimum working temperature but not an upper limit.
Under Labour’s plan, measures would include flexible working and travel arrangements, extra breaks, access to water, cooling systems/air conditioning, flexible dress codes or the provision of protective clothing.
One video caught the moment a bolt of lightning struck a chimney in Bristol, creating a fireball.
Paul Krekelaar was filming out his window around 1am and saw a small explosion over a neighbour’s house.
A huge bang could be heard as the lightning struck the chimney and burst into flames.
Roofs were also set alight in Cheshire and Nottingham while stunning images captured the moment lightning struck the 17th century Grade I-listed Chesterton Windmill near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
The heatwave has been caused by what is known as an ‘omega block’, where high-pressure blocks and diverts the jet stream, allowing hot air to flow up from northern Africa. It follows another heatwave in June.
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: ‘There’s a very large area of high pressure over eastern Europe and up into Scandinavia.
‘That’s combined with a jet stream that has taken a bit of a downturn to the south across the Atlantic, then shooting up north to the west of the UK.
‘That combination of the jet stream and the high pressure is working to funnel up the warm air from the continent which has its source origins in North Africa.’
Hundreds of thousands of commuters who services across the UK faced delays, cancellations and overcrowding today
There was a similar scene across much of Europe. The Netherlands and Belgium recorded their highest ever temperatures yesterday of 102F (39.1C) and 102F (38.9C).
How the Tube is now too hot even for CATTLE
Temperatures on the Tube rose to more than 93F (34C), leaving commuters and tourists frantically fanning themselves.
The temperature on the Central line has been recorded as 93.6F (34.2C) this week, which is 4.2C more than the legal limit for transporting cattle.
EU law states that cattle cannot be transported in temperatures past 86F (30C), but there are currently no laws in place to prevent human beings being transported at such temperatures.
Guidance from Transport for London recommends that the maximum level for overcrowding is ‘three people per square metre of standing space’, but also states that this can vary. In these circumstances it would mean that cows are actually transported in better conditions, and have to be given at least 0.95m2 each, and as much as 1.60m2 for larger cows.
Southeastern, which operates trains in Kent and parts of East Sussex, said it would be running a ‘significantly reduced service’ due to speed restrictions imposed by Network Rail amid fears tracks are at risk of buckling.
Extreme weather action teams (EWATs) have been ‘activated’ to keep passengers safe and trains running, Network Rail said.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the industry, advised passengers in London and the South East to consider changing their travel plans on Thursday owing to the heat.
London North Eastern Railway, which runs inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line, is advising customers against travelling today.
It said some services were likely to be cancelled or delayed as speed restrictions will be imposed between Peterborough and London King’s Cross.
Those making long car journeys cannot rely on the radio for company – FM and AM radio signals can be disrupted in hot weather because signals from local stations can travel further and cause interference outside their usual range.
The Met Office has warned heatwaves are on the increase as a result of climate change.
A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance today could see the hottest UK temperature ever – heat flare shown in red
The Met Office has forecast temperatures of 37C (98F) but there is a good chance the record of 38.5C (101F) could be broken
Conditions will be much cooler tomorrow as the very hot weather ends, with rain showers also possible for many parts
A thunderstorm warning issued from 3pm today until 4am tomorrow (left), and a rain warning for the weekend (right)
This graphic shows the temperatures passengers will have to endure on the London Underground in the heatwave this week
It is even possible the mercury could climb to 104F (40C), which would be ‘unprecedented’ for the UK climate, weather forecasters said.
How to keep cool: Heat advice as rambler is rescued from coast path
England’s chief nurse has urged people to check on their neighbours as a heatwave hits parts of the UK for the start of the school summer holidays.
It comes as a rambler succumbed to the heat and had to be rescued from a coast path.
Graham Glynn, 73, collapsed with heatstroke while walking on the South West Coast Path near Weymouth, Dorset, in temperatures of 81F (27C).
Coastguards and ambulance paramedics treated him at the scene before he was stretchered off the path, over a stile, through a cow field and into a waiting ambulance.
Paramedics check Graham Glynn’s blood pressure after the rambler succumbed to the heatwave and was rescued in Dorset
Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to stay cool as temperatures soar and has reminded them not to leave children or animals in parked cars.
Owen Landeg, principal environmental public health scientist at PHE, said: ‘Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy.
‘However, for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer.
Mr Glynn, 73, collapsed with heatstroke while walking along the South West Coast Path near Weymouth yesterday
‘If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.
‘It’s also worth remembering to think about practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat.’
Public Health England warns that the main risks posed by a heatwave are:
- not having enough water (dehydration)
- overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Mr Glynn is carried over a stile en route to an ambulance after coastguards and ambulance paramedics treated him
The Met Office has raised a Level 2 heatwave alert for this week. Public Health England advises people to stay tuned to the weather forecast, check the forecast at their destination if travelling, and keep cool at home. Tips for coping include:
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it’s hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it’s cooler.
- Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and do not go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this is not possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Water, lower fat milks and tea and coffee are good options. You can also drink fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks, but they can be high in sugar.
The scorching temperatures gripping the UK and much of Europe come against a backdrop of global warming of 1C since the Industrial Revolution driven by greenhouse gas emissions, forecasters added.
Professor Peter Stott, from the Met Office, said: ‘There’s no doubt that climate change is playing a role here because of the elevated temperatures and that’s related to the fact we’ve got this weather pattern being drawn up from North Africa.’
That part of the world has warmed by double the global average, while continental areas are warming faster than over the sea.
So when the UK shares weather patterns with places that are warming fast, it is ‘pushing us into temperatures that are unprecedented, pushing us into those ranges that we have never seen before or are very, very infrequent’, he said.
He added that the existing record temperature for the UK, of 38.5C, set in August 2003 in Faversham, Kent, was set in recent times when the impact of climate change was already being felt.
And it is not just the UK, with heatwaves seen across the northern hemisphere both this summer and last.
The east coast of America has recently been in the grip of a heatwave and much of Europe is seeing records broken at the moment, while last year, Europe and Japan saw sweltering summer conditions.
‘Having this frequency of heatwaves across the hemisphere would have been extraordinarily unlikely without climate change, and it’s now being made a possibility, and it’s what we’re seeing,’ Professor Stott said.
A study from the Met Office previously showed last year’s summer heatwave was made around 30 times more likely than it would be under natural conditions as a result of human activity driving global warming.
Dr Michael Byrne, from Oxford University, said that if Thursday becomes the hottest day on record in the UK it would be ‘hugely significant’, but just the latest in a ‘torrent’ of temperature records being broken in the last month.
‘Not only has 2019 brought the world its hottest ever June, but in recent days countries from Belgium to the Netherlands to Germany have broken their all-time heat records. It has never been hotter in northern Europe.
‘Such extreme heat poses serious health risks this week as well as uncomfortable questions about how well the UK is preparing for increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves over coming decades.’
The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has warned the UK is not prepared for the increase in heatwaves that is expected with global warming.
The extreme temperatures are also expected to put pressure on hospitals.
Analysis of admissions due to dehydration found that when temperatures hit 87.8F (31C), admissions rose by 22.7 per cent amongst the general population, and 33.3 per cent for the elderly.
An extra two degrees hotter, and admissions rise by 127 per cent amongst the general population and 150 per cent for the elderly, research by Draper & Dash found.
The weather has led to uncomfortable, restless nights for many, while there has also been a surge in the number of people looking up symptoms of heat-related illnesses on the NHS website.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said NHS staff were ‘struggling’ as ‘few lessons had been learned’ from last year’s heatwaves and few hospitals are prepared for the impact of intense heat.
He said ‘overheated and exhausted staff’ are at greater risk of making errors.
Last year, hospitals hired in large fans and coolers for a week or so but have got nothing long-term in place – they are purely reactive not proactive.
‘Some better organisations bought in lots of bottled water and gave it to staff or brought round cooled drinks. To get drinks, staff would usually need to leave the ward to buy them.
‘There is often nothing or very little in place for staff to get fluids on wards on an ad-hoc basis and they are expected only to drink in breaks which isn’t right when temperature on wards are really high.
‘Patient areas don’t have coolers or ice machines due to infection concerns.’
The Lullaby Trust, which works to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) also known as Cot Death, issued advice for parents to keep their babies safe and cool this summer.
The sun rises today on what is predicted to be the hottest day on record, at Keyhaven Harbour in the New Forest, Hampshire
The sun rises over a fishing boat in the English Channel near Dover in Kent this morning on another very hot day
A jogger makes her way through Richmond Park in South West London this morning as the sun rises
The sun rises today over Burton Dassett Hills in Southam, Warwickshire, ahead of what could be the hottest UK day on record
It warned that babies who get too hot are at an increased risk of SIDS and said the ideal temperature of a baby’s room should be 61F (16C) to 68F (20C).
Central line commuters face waiting until 2030 for air conditioning
Londoners have again suffered sweltering temperatures on Tube lines without air conditioning – with those on the Central and Bakerloo lines suffering the most.
The Central line is Tube network’s busiest and second hottest line, with more than 75 trains dating back to 1992, and an average July temperature of 87.1F (30.6C).
And while Transport for London plans to introduce 92 new air-conditioned trains in its Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, these are unlikely to be in place until 2030.
TfL says the new Central line trains will have more capacity, more reliability and walk-through carriages to help ease peak demand – plus improved accessibility.
Problems with the current stock include vents and windows that are too small to be effective, along with the depth of the tunnels which are carved out of clay.
This clay has been heating up since the end of the 19th century, and absorbs nearly 80 per cent of energy produced by trains, humans and infrastructure.
Another issue is the regular stopping and starting at the 49 stations over 46 miles, with 38 per cent of heat generation on the network coming from trains braking.
But a TfL has insisted it is ‘doing all it can’ to improve conditions on the Central line, including changing the roof and glazing of carriages to reduce temperatures.
As the country sizzled, Labour led calls for workers to be protected from stiflingly hot temperatures, with legal safeguards to help them stay cool.
Under plans revealed by the party, if a workplace reaches 86F (30C), or 80.6F (27C) for those doing strenuous work, employers will have to put in place effective controls.
Current guidance only referring to a minimum working temperature but not an upper limit.
The capital’s first purpose-built swimming lake in Beckenham, South East London, was forced to close after just five days after council chiefs were overwhelmed by the numbers who turned up.
Coral said it was odds-on at 1-2 for the UK’s hottest ever temperature to be recorded today.
Spokesman John Hill said: ‘In what is certain to be sweltering conditions, the odds have been cut on 40C or higher being recorded, while we are being bombarded with bets on this being the hottest summer ever in the UK.’
Meanwhile, the owner of Magnum, Carte d’or and Ben & Jerry’s has admitted ice cream sales took a hit in spring and early summer this year due to the cooler weather.
Unilever, which also owns brands including Hellmans and Dove, said the previous two summers had started positively, but this year – particularly in May – the weather had been far too cool.
Chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly said: ‘There were a number of swings and roundabouts. It seems ironic with record temperatures (today) but during the period it was quite negative with strong early summers before.’
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The ultimate heatwave hacks: From ice packs on heads to DIY air conditioning – how Britons and their beloved pets are keeping cool on what is set to be the hottest day UK history
As Britain boil on what could be the hottest day in history, people up and down the country are trying everything they can to cope in the heat.
From fans on the London Underground to ice packs and cold flannels strapped to people’s foreheads, Britons are resorting to desperate measures to keep themselves and their beloved pets cool.
Thousands of workers abandoned the office in favour of working from home, where they fashioned garden desks complete with ice-cold drinks and paddling pools.
Those who had to brave the sticky morning commute bought ice lollies for their colleagues and propped open doors in the absence of air conditioning.
Pet owners are making sure their furry friends don’t overheat by plonking them in front of fans and putting ice cubes in their water bowls.
The mercury is expected to rise to 102.2F (39C) in London and the south east today, which would be the hottest day since records began.
People are strapping ice packs to their foreheads to keep cool and propping open doors at work on what could be the hottest UK day ever
Those working from home plonked their pets in front of desk fans to stop them overheating. Ross put his pooch Twiggy where he would stay the coolest
Public Health England advised people to put their bed sheets in the freezer before they went to bed last night, leaving windows wide open and fans up the max.
This morning staff at Nottingham Hospital decided to make the most of the blistering conditions by putting a batch of cookies on the dashboard of a car to cook them in the heat.
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Women feeling the heat on their chests have also been investing in ‘freezable bras’ that have ice pack padding.
Their cotton covers means customers are spared from any embarrassing leaks.
In the shops, rose wine is flying off the shelves as the temperature rises.
Currys PC World say fan sales are up 200 per cent while John Lewis and Partners reported selling six fans a minute yesterday.
The department store has also seen sales of temperature balancing bedding soar by 76 per cent while linen sheet sales are up 82 per cent.
Laurence Mitchell, electricals buying director at John Lewis, said: ‘Sales of fans are up 120 per cent and we’ve seen strong demand for handheld fans in particular which are an ideal way to keep cool on the move.’
Staff at a hospital in Nottingham decided to make the most of the blistering conditions by putting a batch of cookies on the dashboard of a car to cook in the heat
Eyna the trainee hearing dog made sure to avoid sticky surfaces as she relaxed this morning
Brac the Welsh Terrier was pictured by his owner licking an ice cube in a desperate bid to stay cool
These piglets at Pennywell Farm in Devon were given their lunch inside an ice cube yesterday
Currys said Dyson and Logik Pedestal models are also clocking up a lot of interest online.
A Dyson model was visible in a window at Buckingham Palace when the Queen met Boris Johnson to be sworn in as Prime Minister yesterday.
Waitrose shoppers have provided the supermarket with two of its biggest weeks ever for sales of rose wine while also sending sales of English sparkling wine up 71 per cent and Champagne up 27 per cent.
Wine buyer Rebecca Hull said: ‘We closely monitor the weather as a rise in temperature of even just a few degrees will see a change in what our customers are shopping for.
‘We are anticipating a rush on rose this week as the weather is set to warm up and bottles of fizz are making their way into ice buckets across the country.’
This man set up his own beach spot on Blackfriars Bridge in central London yesterday
Workers bought ice cream for en masse to make sure they keep cool in the office today
Superdrug reported sales of cooling sprays rising by 116 per cent on Monday compared to Sunday in preparation for the heatwave, while sales of deodorants and body sprays were up 26 per cent week on week following the temperature increase.
Meanwhile, Halfords warned drivers to get their car’s air conditioning checked.
Aaron Edwards, from Halfords Autocentres, said: ‘Dirt can build up in your car’s air con system and can also be a breeding ground for other microorganisms which can cause allergic reactions.
‘It can be easily solved by taking your car in for an air conditioning clean which is designed to remove bacteria that has built up over time.
‘We also recommend changing your car’s pollen filter regularly to keep your car free from irritants.’
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These two made sure they had cold packs on their heads within minutes of waking up this morning
‘They don’t deserve dogs’: Warning to pet owners after two animals are trapped in roasting-hot cars during blistering heatwave
Police have been forced to smash their way into people’s cars to free dogs trapped in the scorching heat.
Officers spotted one poorly pooch left inside a car in Plymouth city centre for three hours yesterday afternoon.
Left yelping on his own during the hottest hours of the day between 2pm and 4pm, locals were appalled the pet had been left locked inside the vehicle.
The dog bounded out as soon as he was freed, relieved to be in the cooler air, while his owners were less pleased as they returned to find their windows smashed.
In Leeds yesterday shoppers in Sainsbury’s were asked which customer had left their dog stuck in a car as officers threatened to break their way in.
Police officers in Plymouth had to smash their way into a car yesterday to free a dog locked inside for more than three hours
The dog bounded out as soon as he was freed, relieved to be in the cooler air, while his owners were less pleased as they returned to find their windows smashed
In Leeds yesterday shoppers in Sainsbury’s were asked which customer had left their dog stuck in a car as officers threatened to break their way in
An announcement was made over the tannoy at Sainsbury’s in Colton Retail Park after police spotted the dog trapped inside with the window only slightly ajar.
Sgt Micklethwaite on Twitter: ‘In the space of less than 10 minutes the dog was starting to pant / overheat. Just don’t do it.’
While it is not illegal to leave an animal unattended, if the heat of the car causes it to die or become unwell, owners could be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
Charles Cross Policing Team said of yesterday’s incident in Plymouth: ‘Another dog left in the sun, another window smashed!
‘This little guy was alone for over 3 hours. If you love your furry friends, please THINK. He was very happy to be set free! #DogsDieInHotCars’
Fellow dog owners in the area were outraged, claiming the owners ‘don’t deserve dogs’ and the images ‘broke their hearts.
One person wrote: ‘Well done who made the call, well done officers, STUPID human who left that lovely dog in this vehicle.’
Another commented: ‘This breaks my heart, I get so angry why do people do this ?!!! They don’t deserve dogs !’
Someone else posted on Twitter: ‘It’s bad enough when people take their dogs out when it’s this hot, but leaving them in the car?! They should be banned from keeping animals full stop.’
PCSO Tracy Cunningham said the family got back to their car just as it was due to be taken away.
She said: ‘They weren’t happy with us because their window was put in.’
The owners were spoken to via an intrepter over the phone, who explained why the police have the power to free dogs who could risk perishing in the heat.
The dog was checked over by the RSPCA and is now with a vet.
Dogs Trust says on a 71.6F (22C) day, the temperature inside a car could rise by 11C in just 10 minutes and because dogs cannot cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.
Earlier this week an American Bulldog Finlay was left fighting for his life after his body temperature soared to a life-threatening 42.2C (108F) during recent hot weather.
Earlier this week an American Bulldog Finlay was left fighting for his life after his body temperature soared to a life-threatening 42.2C (108F) during recent hot weather
The one-year-old – who was born with three legs – became overheated when his owner took him to a park in Glasgow.
The charity has advised not walking dogs at the hottest times of the day. But it said early morning or later in the evening walks are best accompanied with water.
It has also said tarmac can get ‘very hot in the sun’ and advises owners ‘to check it with their hand before letting dogs walk on it so they don’t burn their paws’.
Other tips that have been given are avoiding long car journeys, using a sun blind for shade, avoiding congested roads as much as possible and taking regular breaks and having plenty of water on board.
Dogs Trust veterinary director, Paula Boyden, said: ‘There are so many things we can do to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy in hot weather, but it is crucial we keep a close eye on them, even if we are playing indoors.
‘If we all do this, then hopefully we and our dogs will be able to enjoy a long hot summer.’
Why does the heat cause disruption to train travel?
Soaring temperatures in the UK have led rail operators to warn of possible speed restrictions due to the risk of tracks buckling. Here, we look at how the extreme heat affects the railway system:
– How are railway tracks affected by hot weather?
Around 20,000 miles (32,187km) of steel track criss-crosses the country, much of which is exposed to sunlight. According to Network Rail, which owns and manages Britain’s railway infrastructure, tracks in direct sunshine can be as much as 20C hotter than the air temperature. As the mercury rises, the steel rail absorbs heat and expands, causing it to curve, known as buckling. The forces the temperature change provokes pushes and pulls the track out of shape, Network Rail said. Sleepers and ballast are used in railway design to contain these forces and prevent buckling. Network Rail said buckled tracks need to be repaired before trains can run again, leading to disruption. Overhead lines can also expand and sag in extreme heat, bringing a risk of passing trains pulling them down.
– When do tracks buckle?
Network Rail said its track has a ‘stress-free’ temperature of 27C (80.6F), which the company said is the UK mean summer rail temperature. It said more than three-quarters of its track is on concrete sleepers, which, when ‘fully compliant’ with its standards, can withstand rail temperatures of more than 59C (138.2C). But some sections of track are not designed to cope with that level of heat and are at risk of buckling.
– How does Network Rail prevent buckling?
The company said it can roll out extreme weather action teams (EWATs) to ensure passenger safety and keep trains running during hot weather. Weather conditions are monitored through specialist forecasters and the use of ‘mini weather stations’ and track-side probes. As train movements also exert force on tracks, slower speed restrictions can be introduced to reduce the chances of buckling, with the side-effect of disrupting timetables. Network Rail said it paints some track white as this makes it less heat-absorbent and reduces the temperature by 5C or 10C. Where a stretch of track is composed of short rail sections bolted together, gaps are left to allow for expansion.
– Does this happen in other countries?
Network Rail said other nations choose a higher stress temperature limit for their tracks, depending on the climate. Countries with extreme weather conditions adjust their tracks between summer and winter, the company said. This can include inserting concrete slabs which can better contain track forces than sleepers and ballast. Network Rail’s website said that the ‘variations in short-term weather and long-term climate’ in Britain mean ‘it is neither practical nor cost-effective’ to implement such measures permanently. It said solid concrete slab tracks costs about four times as much to install as standard ballasted track. The company also said that stress-proofing Britain’s rail track to the levels of hot countries would also create ‘the risk of increased tension on the rails in the winter’.
‘Welcome to HELL!’: Britons complain it’s ‘hotter than the sun’ as nation wilts in blistering heatwave
Twitter went into meltdown this morning as commuters suffered scorching temperatures inside packed train carriages after a sleepless night tossing and turning in the heat.
Britain could reach its hottest ever today with record-breaking temperatures of 102.2F (39C) expected in London and the south east.
As the UK prepares for a heatwave, people are taking to social media to share their fear of the unbearable temperatures due today and over the weekend.
Commuters in London moaned the Underground is ‘hotter than hell’, as rail operators slow and cancel services to stop trains buckling in the heat.
Here MailOnline compares some of the most hilarious ‘meltdown’ memes as Britain bakes in the stifling heat.
Heatwave leaves woman with Adidas branded on her leg after day outside transfers logo from her gym leggings
Danielle Viagus-Foster had the sun beating down on her for nearly an hour and a half, not realising she was being turned into a walking advertisement by dangerous UV rays
A woman had the Adidas logo branded into her leg after wearing a pair of the sportswear company’s leggings out in the scorching heat.
Danielle Viagus-Foster, 21, was sat outside in the sunshine while waiting for her friends to come back after a driving lesson earlier this week.
Ms Viagus-Foster had the sun beating down on her for nearly an hour and a half, not realising she was being turned into a walking advertisement by dangerous UV rays.
When she got home and removed her Adidas leggings she saw the name of the multinational corporation had been negatively branded onto her skin.
She posted an image of her sunburnt leg online, saying: ‘Think I caught a tan through my leggings’.
Ms Viagus-Foster, from Poole, Dorset, said: ‘I was like wtf when I took my leggings off to put something cooler on… I couldn’t stop laughing.’
Others commented saying that she should contact Adidas to get sponsorship money for advertising their brand on her skin.
Ms Viagus-Foster revealed she had sent them a message and would ‘see what happens’.
Her story comes as Britain continues to swelter in the remarkable heat with ‘Tropical Thursday’ making its debut.
The UK has been roasting in 97F (36C) temperatures amid the grip of a searing Saharan heatwave which threatens to buckle train tracks.
But the worst is yet to come today when the UK could face its hottest day on record.
The NHS says that sunburn usually gets better within seven days.
The Health Service advises sunburn victims to get out of the sun as soon as possible, cool off with a shower, bath or damp towel, and apply aftersun cream or spay, like aloe vera.
Drinking plenty of water and covering suburnt skin until it has fully healed are also advised.
But the NHS warns against using petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin or putting ice on it.
It also recommends suburnt people to not pop any blisters, scratch or try to remove peeling skin or wearing tight-fitting clothing over the affected area.
Ms Viagus-Foster, from Poole, Dorset, had been sat outside in the sunshine while waiting for her friends to come back after a driving lesson earlier this week
Ms Viagus-Foster had told the Mirror: ‘It was when I went to put on my bikini that I saw my leg.
‘I thought ”Oh my god”. I was in fits of laughter.’
Private health firm Bupa has warned that becoming sunburnt through clothes is a possibility.
A spokesperson said: ‘You may feel that by ”covering up”, you’re protecting your skin. In some cases, this is true, but many materials actually don’t protect you nearly as much as you might think.’
Earlier this month it was revealed that a dangerous ‘sunburn tattoo’ trend had been gaining popularity online.
The trend involves a person purposefully not applying sun tan lotion to an area of the skin in order to create a sunburn showing off an image or design.
Participants have taken to sharing images of their ‘tattoos’ online — with designs including the Batman logo, stars and sandal lines.
Dangerous: People have been participating in the ‘sunburn tattoo’ trend this summer
On the rise: This trend involves avoiding sun tan lotion around a specific area to intentionally form sunburn lines into a specific shape
Dr Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist, told DailyMail.com the trend was creating ‘damage that is going to be with you for the rest of your life’.
‘There is no safe way to get a sunburn tattoo,’ she said. ‘That is major misconception. There is no such thing as a safe tan.’
Dr Bowe advocated against any sunburn or tan lines forming from sitting out in the sun because of the damage ultraviolet rays create when penetrating the skin layers.
The hottest day in Paris EVER: Northern France, Belgium and Holland all swelter in record hottest days as temperatures top 109F causing trains to grind to a halt, nuclear stations to power down and fears for Notre Dame
Paris recorded its hottest day ever today as temperatures topped 109F (42.6C) – smashing a 70-year-old record by almost 35 degrees.
Trains were slowed to avoid overheating while people bathed in fountains around the Eiffel Tower and in public parks in a desperate effort to keep cool.
‘Its so hot in the metro, it’s unbearable. There are many people, no air conditioning and everyone is on top of each other,’ said Paris commuter Petra Ulm, 34
The French capital was among a host of northern cities to set local temperature records, including the likes of Troyes, Rouen, Lille and Dunkirk.
Meanwhile Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also set all-time records of 106.7F (41.5C), 105F (40.6C), and 107.06F (41.7C) respectively, breaking previous all-time records set only the day before.
French forecasters also said that Wednesday night was likely the warmest the country had ever experienced, with an average low of 70.5F (21.3C).
This was the scene in Paris today as the French capital recorded its highest ever temperature at 109F (42.6C)
People cool down at the fountains of Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower today during a heatwave in Paris
The record temperature was recorded in the Montsouris area of the city, Meteo-France said, beating the previous high of 104.7F (40.4C) set in July 1947. Pictured: Bathers take a dip on the Ourcq canal in Paris today
Temperatures in the Netherlands topped 104F (40C) for the first time on record on Thursday, Dutch meteorology instutitue KNMI said
A woman cools off with water on a hot summer day in Brussels, Belgium
There were also fears that the heat could cause Notre Dame’s vaulted ceiling, which was fire-damaged cathedral to fully collapse
Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect at Notre Dame, said that as mortar between the remaining bricks in the vaulted ceiling dries there is a chance it will give way
The UK also registered its second-hottest day ever with 99.8F (37.7C) showing on thermometers at Kew Gardens in London.
Forecasters predicted the all-time record of 101F (38.5C), set in Kent in 2003, would fall later in the day.
French energy company EDF said it was limiting production at two nuclear plants for fear of over-heating rivers the stations use for coolant, killing off fish.
Meanwhile Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect at Notre Dame, said he was ‘extremely worried’ that the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling – which was damaged by fire – may collapse completely in the heat.
Mr Villeneuve said: ‘I am very worried about the heatwave. What I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their coherence, their cohesion and their structural qualities and that all of sudden, the vault gives way.’
Trains were cancelled in Britain and France, and French authorities urged travellers to stay home.
France also banned the transportation of animals between 1pm and 6pm ‘for economic reasons’.
Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all experienced their hottest days ever today with the UK’s record also set to tumble as the year’s second heatwave gripped the continent
The heatwave is being caused by an omega block – named because it resembles the shape of the Greek letter – which causes the jet stream to bend northwards, drawing hot air up from Africa and the Iberian Peninsula
People cool off during a sunny day at a pond in front of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
A young man jumps from a diving platform into Lake Zurich during hot summer weather in Zurich, Switzerland
Visitors enjoy the water of the North Sea in Blokhus, Denmark
Prost! Beer-drinkers enjoy a cold glass in the Belgian capital of Brussels during the heatwave
The Netherlands and Belgium also reported new record heats and Britain is expected to do so later.
The Netherlands’ meteorological institute said 40.4 C (104.72 F) was recorded Thursday in the municipality of Gilze Rijen, near the border with Belgium. That just eclipsed the 39.3 C (102.74 F) recorded a day earlier in the southern city of Eindhoven.
In Belgium the new all-time high rose to 40.6 C (105. F).
‘This is the highest recorded temperature for Belgium in history since the beginning of the measurements in 1833,’ said Alex Dewalque from the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.
Swathes of Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland could face temperatures exceeding 40 C (104 F).
Germany recorded 40.5 degrees (104.9 F) Wednesday, and the German Weather Service is expecting even higher temperatures Thursday.
French winemakers also revealed that this year is set to be the worst in the last five years for win production, with the number of bottles down 13 per cent on last year.
A year of hugely unpredicatable weather has affected the vines which grow the grapes. Not three months ago farmers were battling late frosts that saw them light fires in the fields to keep the plants warm.
In Bordeaux, a huge wine-producing region, the temperature hit 106F (41.2C) on Tuesday this week.
A spokesman for EDF said: ‘Production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear generating fleet at the Bugey, St-Alban and Tricastin nuclear power plants beyond 26 July 2019.’
Tourists frolicked in fountains across Europe as they sought relief from the heat, while volunteers fanned out to help the elderly, sick and homeless.
This latest heat wave is being triggered by an omega block, a type of high-pressure pattern resembling the Greek letter that diverts the jet stream – a strong current of air which controls much of Europe’s weather.
As the jet stream – which typically runs in a meandering line from west to east – bends upwards, it allows hot air to surge northward from Africa.
Germany was poised to break heat records set only yesterday as warm air drawn up from Africa caused the second European heatwave this year
Almost the entirety of France was under a weather warning for heat on Thursday including 20 departments on a red warning, meaning immediate danger to life
With Paris in the grip of a fierce heatwave, the Cher river in Auzances is starting to dry up
This was the scene in Lussat, central France, today where the Landes pond has been drastically reduced in size amid the heatwave
Clare Nullis, of the World World Meteorological Organisation, said that climate change was making these events more likely, following on the heels of another heatwave last month which set many of the records due to be broken Thursday.
She told EuroNews: ‘We expect when 2019 comes to an end, we will see the warmest 5-year-period on record.
‘Climate change is very much real, it is not a future distant scenario, it is happening now, and it is playing out through extreme weather events.’
In France, five deaths have been linked to the heatwave while authorities in Austria reported Thursday that a three-year-old child had died in a hot car.
The boy had crawled inside the vehicle at his family’s farm on Tuesday while his parents were unaware and fallen asleep, emergency workers said.
He was discovered hours later and rushed to hospital, where he died Wednesday.
Hundreds of travellers were stuck on trains in sweltering conditions outside Paris for several hours late Wednesday after a fire on an electrical transformer halted traffic in and out of the Gare de l’Est station in Paris.
This came after a failure on an overhead power line had halted train traffic between Brussels and London and Paris.
It was not immediately clear if the fault was due to the heatwave but Eurostar warned further disruptions were expected Thursday.
Cooler weather with rain was expected to provide relief from Friday.
A temperature indicator outside of a pharmacy indicates 42C (107.6F) in Brussels, Belgium
A person sunbathes on dry grass during a heat wave in Vienna, Austria
People walk past a curtain of water at the Praterstern Square in Vienna
People cool off during a sunny day at the English garden in Munich, southern Germany
The thermometer at the United Nations office shows 42 degrees in Bonn, western Germany
Across Germany, Switzerland and Austria, some communities painted rail tracks in white hoping the light color would bring down the temperature by a few degrees.
In Heiligendamm on the Baltic Sea in eastern Germany, train services were canceled temporarily during last month’s heat wave after the tracks were deformed by the heat.
German railways Deutsche Bahn said passengers who had booked tickets for Thursday or Friday and wanted to delay their trips because of the heat could do so until August 4 without extra charge.
Across London and Paris, authorities and charity workers handed out water and sunscreen to homeless people and opened day centers for them to rest and shower.
‘They are in the street all day, under the sun. No air conditioning, no way to protect oneself from the heat, so for some it’s really quite complicated,’ said Ruggero Gatti, an IT worker joining other Red Cross volunteers handing out water bottles, soup and yogurt to the homeless in the Paris suburb of Boulogne.
In Cologne in western Germany, volunteers offered free water to thirsty passersby at the initiative of the city’s local transportation system and an energy supplier, while others were sunbathing on the dried-up banks of the Rhine river.
Artists break out their easels and put brush to canvas in the ground of the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, which has recorded its warmest day ever
A woman reads a newspaper on the banks of the Thames as she enjoys the weather in London
France’s Romain Bardet, followed by Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, pours water on his legs due to a heat wave hitting western Europe
A sign displays the water temperatures at Blokhus, in Denmark, on Thursday
The national rail authority and Paris public transit system urged passengers to avoid travel Thursday. Messages to ‘Hydrate yourselves!’ came from the radio, television and public message boards.
French Health Minister Agnez Buzyn said that temperatures on Thursday are expected to be 2 degrees higher than in 2003. Some 20 million French are expected to be hit by the heatwave, she said.
Summers are usually mild in much of Europe and few homes have air conditioning. It’s not that common in hospitals, stores or restaurants either.
Electric fans are selling fast around Paris – and traditional folding fans seem to be making a comeback, waved by many on the stuffy subway.
In Bavaria’s prisons, inmates were getting cold cucumber soup, fruit and yoghurt for lunch and more water than normal, the German news agency dpa reported.
The heat wave is intense but expected to be short, with temperatures dropping Friday and Saturday.
As emissions continue to warm the planet, scientists say there will be more and hotter heat waves, like those increasingly hitting the U.S. though it’s too early to know whether this hot spell is linked to man-made climate change.
‘There is likely the DNA of climate change in the record-breaking heat that Europe and other parts of the world are experiencing.
‘And it is unfortunately going to continue to worsen,’ said Marshall Shepherd, professor of meteorology at University of Georgia.
People sunbathe in Hyde Park, London, where the second-warmest day on record was registered on Thursday
A young woman tries to keep cool in Hyde Park, London, as temperatures soar
People cool off at floating pools set up on the Ourcq canal in Paris on July 25, 2019 as a new heatwave hits Europe
France’s weather office said the scorching conditions ‘require particular care, notably for vulnerable or exposed people’ with almost the entire country under an orange-level weather alert, the second-highest level.
Paris, in particular, remains haunted by the early summer of 2003 when 15,000 deaths were blamed on the heat and the authorities were bitterly criticised for not mobilising fast enough.
‘We need to take care of ourselves but above all others especially those who are alone, and be able to detect the first symptoms of heatstroke,’ said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
Local authorities have placed restrictions on water usage in many areas due to drought-like conditions that have seen ground and river water levels fall dramatically.
This summer’s second heatwave has amplified concerns in Europe that human activity is heating the planet at a dangerous rate.
The June 26-28 blast of heat in France was four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) team said this month.
One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly, weeks-long heatwave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.
Why is the UK in the grip of a heatwave and is it related to the one roasting the US?
WHAT IS CAUSING THE HEATWAVE?
The heatwave has been triggered by the build-up of high pressures over Europe over the past few days, leading to the northward movement of warm air from Europe over the UK.
‘At this time of year southerly winds will always lead to above average temperatures,’ said University of Reading meteorologist Peter Inness.
‘Air from continental Europe, the Mediterranean and even North Africa is brought over the UK.’
‘The eastward passage of weather fronts and low pressures from the North Atlantic are currently being blocked by the high pressure over Europe,’ added University of Reading climate scientist Len Shaffrey.
IS IT RELATED TO THE US HEATWAVE?
The US’s recent warm weather has been caused by a high-pressure dome building up over much of the country, trapping the summer heat.
This has wider-reaching effects.
‘Heatwave conditions in the U.S Midwest and the East coast have strengthened the jet stream,’ explained environmental scientist Kate Sambrook of the University of Leeds.
‘The resulting thunderstorms occurring on the continent have helped the jet stream to meander and move to the north of the U.K.’
‘As a result of this shift, hot air has been drawn up from Europe causing the high temperatures we are experiencing this week.’
The US’s recent warm weather has been caused by a high-pressure dome building up over much of the country, trapping the summer heat
HOW LONG WILL THE HEAT LAST?
‘Although there is some uncertainty in the forecast, it looks like it will become cooler on Friday as the high pressure over Europe moves slowly towards the east,’ said Dr Shaffrey.
‘This will allow weather fronts to move over the UK, bringing cooler air and possibly some rain,’ Professor Shaffrey added,
HOW HOT WILL IT GET?
Meteorologists are predicting high temperatures reaching up to 100°F (38°C) over central and Eastern England on Thursday.
Although different forecasts are anticipating slightly different details, ‘the broad message of all the forecasts is the same,’ said Dr Inness.
‘It will be hot, with high temperatures persisting through the night time periods, and there is the risk of some thunderstorms over the UK.’
These will continue through Wednesday.
‘If conditions continue, it is likely that we could experience the hottest July on record,’ said Dr Sambrook.
‘However, the outcome is uncertain as conditions are expected to change early next week.’
University of Oxford climate scientist Karsten Haustein added that ‘there is a 40–50 per cent chance that this will be the warmest July on record.’
The final estimate depends on which observational dataset is used, he noted.
While agreeing that the next week’s weather will determine this July’s place in the record books, Dr Inness noted that 2019 did bring us the warmest June known since the year 1880.
‘In fact, 9 of the 10 warmest Junes in the global record have happened since 2000’, he said.
In Europe, he noted, this June was also the warmest on record, reaching almost a whole degree Celsius above the previous number one back in 2003.
‘Weather records are not normally broken by such large margins — a few tenths of a degree would be more likely.’
The present conditions may turn out to be record-breaking, but they are also part of a recent trend towards warmer UK summers.
‘2018 was the joint hottest [year] on record with highest temperature measured at around 35°C, similar to temperatures expected this week,’ said University of Leeds climatologist Declan Finney.
The likelihood of experiencing such hot summers has risen from a less than 10 per cent chance in the 1980s to as high as a 25 per chance today, he added.
IS CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSING HEATWAVES?
‘The fact that so many recent years have had very high summer temperatures both globally and across Europe is very much in line with what we expect from man-made global warming,’ said Dr Inness.
‘Changes in the intensity and likelihood of extreme weather is how climate change manifests,’ said environmental scientist Friederike Otto of the University of Oxford.
‘That doesn’t mean every extreme event is more intense because of it, but a lot are. For example, every heatwave occurring in Europe today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change.’
However, local factors also play a role, with each extreme weather event being influenced by the location, season, intensity and duration.
The present heatwave is not the only notable indicator of climate change, experts note, with ongoing droughts — such as those being experienced in many parts of Germany — also being in line with scientific predictions.
Research into the 2003 European heatwave suggested at the time that human activity had more than doubled the risk of such warm summers — and that annual heatwaves like we are experiencing now could become commonplace by around the middle of the century.
‘It has been estimated that about 35,000 people died as a result of the European heatwave in 2003, so this is not a trivial issue,’ said Dr Inness.
‘With further climate change there could be a 50% chance of having hot summers in the future,’ agreed Dr Finney.
‘That’s similar to saying that a normal summer in future will be as hot as our hottest summers to date,’ he ad