UK issues first ever heat emergency — Analysis

UK issued the first ever emergency alert regarding summer temperatures. The warning was made Friday by UK.

The UK’s Met Office sounded the alarm on Friday morning, raising its Heat Health Alert level to red, indicating that the coming heatwave constitutes a national emergency. Met Office forecasts temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius in England (104 Fahrenheit), a record setting temperature for the UK.

Red alerts indicate that “a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system,”According to the government agency. “At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.”

Met Office recommended that citizens close all windows in sun-facing rooms, drink plenty of fluids, keep an eye on older siblings and younger family members and those suffering from underlying conditions. Many British homes don’t have air conditioning, unlike their American counterparts.

The Met Office issued the first alert of this type, but the system was introduced only in 2021. Since 2016, the World Health Organization calls for similar systems worldwide. They claim that climate change will lead to more intense and frequent heatwaves in this century.

“We’ve seen when climate change has driven such unprecedented severe weather events all around the world it can be difficult for people to make the best decisions in these situations,”Penny Endersby, Chief Executive of the Met Office, stated in a statement. “Please treat the warnings we are putting out as seriously as you would a red or amber warning from us for wind or snow.”

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In 2019, Britain saw its highest ever recorded temperature, with 38.7 degree Celsius in Cambridge in July 2019. Since the beginning of record keeping in early 20th century, there have been occasional waves of extreme heat. 1975 and 1995 were tied for having the most dry summers recorded in Great Britain. In 1976 temperatures reached 36 degrees and in 1995, there was drought that lasted from June through October. 

Britain was also subject to a heatwave that lasted from 37 to 38.5 degrees Celsius in July 1808.

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