UK heatwave: level 3 heat health alert issued for parts of England as temperatures set to hit mid-30s

The Health Agency has announced an amber health alert covering southern and central England from 9 to 13 August

A heat health alert is coming into place across much of the country as temperatures are expected to climb to the mid-30s.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued an amber heat health alert covering southern and central England from midday on Tuesday (9 August) until 6pm on Saturday (13 August).

Experts are advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The health alert comes following two water companies announcing hosepipes bans and others warning they may need to do the same - after the driest eight months from November to June since 1976.

What does an amber heat alert mean?

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The amber heat alert “requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups”.

But it is one stage lower than the most serious level four red warning issued in last month’s heatwave.

Heatwave thresholds, which are met at different temperatures in different parts of the country, are likely to be hit in much of the country.

Scientists are warning that the likelihood of droughts occurring is becoming higher due to climate change.

Climate change is also making heatwaves more intense, frequent and likely – with last month’s record temperatures made at least 10 times more likely because of global warming, and “virtually impossible” without it, research shows.

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What is the forecast?

The Met Office said temperatures over the coming days will not be as extreme as the record-breaking heat in July when the thermometer climbed above 40C.

However it is still likely to rise into the low to mid-30s in central and southern parts of the UK.

Heatwave thresholds, which are met at different temperatures in different parts of the country, are likely to be hit in much of the country.

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Outside the hottest areas, much of England and Wales and south-east Scotland could see temperatures widely in the high 20s - with a chance of a few spots seeing temperatures into the low 30s, the Met Office said.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will also see temperatures in the high 20s and could reach official heatwave criteria by Friday (12 August), the forecasters said.

What has the Met Office warned?

The latest heatwave comes after months of low rain which has left the countryside, urban parks and gardens tinder-dry.

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Households in some areas are being urged not to light fires or have barbecues because of the dry land.

The Met Office’s fire severity index (FSI), an assessment of how severe a fire could become if one were to start, is very high for most of England and Wales.

The Met Office said it will reach “exceptional” for a swathe of England by the weekend.

What has been said about the hosepipe bans?

Two water companies announced hosepipe bans and others warned they may need to follow suit.

This is after the driest eight months from November to June since 1976 as well as the driest July on record for parts of southern and eastern England.

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Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has weighed in on the issue.

She told the Daily Express hosepipe bans “should be a last resort”.

Ms Truss said: “My view is that we should be tougher on the water companies and that there hasn’t been enough action to deal with these leaky pipes which have been there for years.

“I have a lot of issues with my water company in Norfolk, which is a particularly dry area of the country, and those companies need to be held to account.”

She added: “What I’m worried about is it seems to be a first resort rather than the water companies dealing with the leaks.”