UK weather: Heat-health warning escalated to amber as temperatures soar higher than in Athens & Ibiza

There are concerns the hot weather could put the NHS at risk - here’s how to keep safe in the heatwave
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An ongoing heat-health alert for most of England has been escalated as temperatures hit a potentially record-breaking 32C during a delayed heatwave in the UK this week. There is an ‘amber’ warning in eight of the country’s nine regions which will remain in force until Sunday night (September 10).

English regions included in the amber warning are: London, the South East, the South West, the East and West Midlands, the East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber. Only the North East of England has a ‘yellow’ level alert, which means the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions should take extra care and officials do not believe there will be a significant impact on the NHS there.

The UK Health Security Agency’s amber alert means people of all ages could be affected - putting the NHS at risk. Sweltering conditons are also being felt in Wales, particularly in the south, while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland could see could see “unseasonably high temperatures” for this time of year.

The Met Office said the hot weather is linked to a jet stream which has been amplified by tropical storms in the far western Atlantic, as well as deep areas of low pressure. This has led to high pressure “dominating over the UK”.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “Many of us will welcome the hot weather for the coming days, but it is important to take sensible precautions while enjoying the sun and look out for those who are more vulnerable to the effects of heat.

“We advise you to check on older family members, friends, or neighbours and those with heart or lung conditions. Staying hydrated and keeping cool is crucial for everyone during hot weather, while enjoying the sun.”

A woman reads a book on a bench in Green Park in central London on September 5, 2023 as the country experiences a late heatwave.A woman reads a book on a bench in Green Park in central London on September 5, 2023 as the country experiences a late heatwave.
A woman reads a book on a bench in Green Park in central London on September 5, 2023 as the country experiences a late heatwave.

The heatwave comes after what has been regarded as a wash-out summer with heavy rainfall. Despite temperatures regulary failing to reach 20C in July though, June was still one of the hottest ever recorded in the UK.

Average temperatures are expected to return by the middle of next week. However, heatwaves in the UK are becoming more likely and extreme, something scientists say would have been “virtually impossible without climate change”.

Tips on keeping safe during the heatwave

According to the UKHSA, there are ways in which you can keep yourself and others safe during periods of hot weather, such as:

  • Knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and what to do if you or someone else has them
  • Keeping out of the sun at the hottest time of the day, between 11am and 3pm
  • If you are going to do a physical activity (for example, exercising or walking the dog), plan to do these during times of the day when it is cooler, such as the morning or evening
  • Keeping your home cool by closing windows and curtains in rooms that face the sun
  • If you do go outside, cover up with suitable clothing, such as an appropriate hat and sunglasses, and seek shade and apply sunscreen regularly

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