England’s orange ‘category three’ weather warning puts children, the elderly and the vulnerable at risk

Britain is bracing for another week of scorching temperatures, with experts announcing a level 3 health alert will be in effect from midday today, with little rain forecast to help ease the danger of drought, which prompted restrictions on garden hoses and fire warnings.

Pictured: The brilliant orange sunrise over the River Thames is pictured in Gravesend, Kent, as the heatwave continues across the country

Temperatures in the capital are expected to reach 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, while Southampton and Exeter are expected to hit 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to the Met Office, temperatures in central and southern parts of the UK are expected to climb to the low to mid-30s by Thursday, but will not be as intense as the record heat of July, when the thermometer went above 40 degrees Celsius.

From midday today until Saturday August 13, the UK Health Security Agency issued a Level 3 health alert for southern and central England, warning Britons to ‘look out for others, especially the elderly, young children and newborns, and those with underlying health concerns.’

He also advises people to “close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor areas cooler and to remember that it can be cooler outside than inside”, as well as to “drink enough fluids and avoid excess alcohol, dress appropriately for the weather, and slow down when it’s hot.

With the recent heat wave following months of light rains that have left the countryside and urban parks and gardens dry, some residents are being asked not to light fires or have barbecues.

The Met Office’s Fire Severity Index (FSI), which rates how catastrophic a fire could become if it were to start, is extremely high for much of England and Wales and will reach ” outstanding” for much of the country by the weekend. .

Meanwhile, Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss has weighed in on watering bans after two water companies announced them, and others have warned they may have to follow suit, after the eight driest months from November to June since 1976, as well as the driest July on record for parts of southern and eastern England.

“My opinion is that we should be tougher on the water suppliers and that there hasn’t been enough action to deal with these faulty pipes that have been there for years,” Ms Truss said.

“I have a lot of problems with my water supplier in Norfolk, which is a very dry part of the country, and those companies need to be held accountable,” she says.

A garden hose ban, she told the Daily Express, ‘should be a last option’, adding: ‘What worries me is that it seems to be a first response rather than suppliers of water that treat leaks”.

“Temperatures will again be quite warm this week, particularly in southern and central parts of the country,” said Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the UK Security Agency. health (UKHSA).

“We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely, but keep in mind that the heat can have a rapid effect on health.”

“Ensuring that the most vulnerable people, such as older people living alone and those with underlying health conditions, are prepared for the hot weather is essential.”

“The most essential recommendation is to stay hydrated, stay cool, and take precautions to protect their homes from overheating.”

Droughts are increasingly likely due to climate change, which is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

Heat waves are also becoming more severe, frequent and likely due to climate change, with record high temperatures over the past month made at least ten times more likely by global warming and “almost impossible” without it, a study has found.

Asked about the potential for a garden hose ban in London, Government Minister Paul Scully said it was “always smart” for people to save water.

“But we will look carefully because all about London and the South East is that the more development there is and the less rainfall there is clearly less to do, and we have to be careful,” he said. .

Heat wave thresholds, which are reached at different temperatures in different parts of the country, are expected to be reached across most of the UK.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will also expect high temperatures in the 20s and could meet official heatwave standards by Friday, forecasts show.

To reflect the growing situation in the UK, the Met Office has increased the temperatures required for an official heat wave in eight English counties.

“Heatwave requirements are expected to be met for large sections of the UK later this week, with the hottest regions expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday. “said Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Tony Wardle.

“On Saturday, temperatures could reach 35°C or possibly 36°C.

“Elsewhere, temperatures will rise into the mid-20s and low 30s Celsius later this week as temperatures rise day by day due to an area of ​​high pressure stretching across most of the UK.

“Coupled with high daytime temperatures, nights will be warm, with the mercury dropping to just 20 degrees Celsius in some southern locations.

Little rain is forecast, according to the Met Office, with only the North West expected to experience brief showers.

“Further south, which has seen little rain for some time now, the drought will persist through the week and bring little respite to the parched territories, particularly in the southeast,” Wardles added.

According to Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, there are several reasons why drought spells are getting worse due to human-induced climate change.

A warmer atmosphere is thirstier and dries out the ground, while heat waves increase the development of drought conditions, and ocean breezes cannot blow enough precipitation on land because the continents are warming up so quickly.

Uneven global warming can also disrupt weather patterns, making long periods of rainy or dry weather more frequent.

“Human-caused global warming is exacerbating the global water cycle and altering weather patterns, leading to more severe droughts but also greater flooding around the world,” Prof Allan said.

“Above all, the risk of drought we are seeing in the UK reminds us that we urgently need to tackle the problem at the source: this means cutting fossil fuel emissions to limit the scale of harmful climate change we are facing. will face,” said Dr Leslie. Mabon, lecturer in environmental systems at the Open University.

“Additionally, countries like the UK, which have historically had a more moderate climate and have less experience dealing with the long-term impacts of hot and dry spells, must prepare now to adapt to a warmer weather.

“This involves reviewing our water infrastructure and assessing where improvements need to be made to ensure that we are better prepared to manage water during hot spells,” the report said.

Garden hose restrictions could be in place until October, with no ‘significant rainfall’ expected anytime soon, as temperatures in several parts of England hit 36 ​​degrees Celsius, prompting a ‘category three’ heat warning .

Temperatures are expected to climb to the low to mid-30s in central and southern parts of the UK, but won’t be as intense as the record heat in July, when the thermometer topped 40 degrees Celsius.

From Tuesday to Saturday, the UK Health Security Agency issued a heat warning for southern and central England, with experts asking people to keep an eye out for the elderly, people with health conditions pre-existing children and young children.

An Atlantic weather system is expected to drop temperatures by 10 degrees Celsius next week, while increasing the chance of rain and thunderstorms. However, it is unlikely to be large enough to replace the water supply.

After the driest eight months from November to June since 1976, including the driest July on record for parts of southern and eastern England, two water companies have already put in place restrictions on garden hoses, and others have warned they may have to follow suit.

According to the Times, Southern Water, which has imposed a moratorium in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, has appealed to the Environment Agency for a six-month ‘drought permit’ to allow it to take more water from the River Test.

The River Test’s flow was 2,500 megaliters (Ml) per day in March, but has now fallen to 450 Ml.

According to Southern Water, the flow could drop even more this month to 365Ml, exceeding the legal limit for water withdrawal.

“The authorization would last for six months or until flows are restored to over 500 million liters per day for 21 consecutive days,” a spokeswoman said.