Heatwave: Urgent warning to only travel “if absolutely necessary” as temperatures could hit 40C

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People are being urged to avoid travelling during a heatwave.

Temperatures could hit 40C in the coming days as people are urged to only travel if “absolutely necessary”.

Transport for London (TfL) has warned residents of the capital to avoid travelling due to “extreme” temperatures being expected.

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The Met Office has issued a red heat warning for the first time ever and it is in place for Monday (18 July) and Tuesday (19 July).

There is concerns that the heat could be a risk to life.

The current heatwave is set to peak on 19 July, with an 80 per cent chance of the mercury topping the UK’s record temperature of 38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019.

Transport for London (TfL) is advising passengers to only travel for “essential journeys”.

What have TfL said?

TfL’s chief operating officer Andy Lord said: “Due to the exceptionally hot weather that is expected next week, customers should only use London’s transport network for essential journeys.

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“If customers do need to travel, they should check before they travel as we are expecting there to be some impact to Tube and rail services as a result of temporary speed restrictions we will need to introduce to keep everyone safe,” he added.

“It is also vital that customers always carry water at all times with them when travelling.”

What have Network Rail said?

Rail passengers in England and Wales are being warned to only travel if absolutely necessary on Monday and Tuesday.

Jake Kelly, Network Rail’s System Operator group director, said: “Rail passengers should only travel if necessary as there will be delays and cancellations to train services due to the unprecedented heat we’re expecting.

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“The wellbeing of our passengers is our first priority so we’re asking all passengers who decide to travel to take time to prepare before leaving the house.

“Remember to bring a water bottle with you, along with whatever else you need to keep yourself well in the heat. Water bottles can be refilled for free at most Network Rail’s managed stations.

He added: “Journeys will take significantly longer and delays are likely as speed restrictions are introduced to keep passengers and railway staff safe, so make sure to allow considerably more time to complete your journey and be prepared for very hot conditions

“We’re working closely with MetDesk to monitor forecasts and adapt our plans, and with our train operator colleagues to make sure we can get passengers who need to travel to their destinations safely.”

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What warnings are in place?

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for heat covering much of England and Wales from Sunday until Tuesday.

There is a 50 per cent chance of temperatures reaching 40C somewhere in the UK, likely along the A1 corridor, with the Met Office also issuing its first red warning for extreme heat.

TfL have urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)TfL have urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
TfL have urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

What measures are TfL taking?

Very hot temperatures can affect rails, overhead power lines and signalling equipment, with TfL saying it will work hard to keep as many services running as possible using “enhanced” inspections to mitigate the impact of the extreme weather.

Track temperature checks will continue to be carried out regularly across the Tube and rail networks to ensure they remain safe and that the track is not at risk of bending or buckling, TfL said in a statement.

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It added it was also inspecting the air conditioning units on the trains that cover 40% of the Tube network, the trains on the Elizabeth Line and London Overground as well as the air cooling units on double-deck buses to ensure they are functioning well.

TfL also has response teams standing by on its rail and road network to deal with any issues as they occur, with a particular focus on stalled trains and times, crowding and customer advice.

What are the signs of dehydration?

Dehydration is a common symptom of extreme heat and occurs when the body loses more fluid than it is taking in.

When the normal water content of your body is reduced, this upsets the balance of salts and sugar in your body, affecting the way it functions. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and become a more serious problem.

Early warning signs of dehydration include:

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  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow and strong smelling urine
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Urinating little and fewer than four times per day

A lack of fluids is the most common cause of dehydration, but it can occur more easily if you are suffering from heatstroke, have a high temperature of 38C or above, have diabetes, or you have been vomiting or have diarrhoea.

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