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By Owen Amos and Adam Durbin
The Met Office has issued a red high heat warning for most of England on Monday and Tuesday, from London and the southeast to York and Manchester.
The highest temperature in the UK was 38.7C in Cambridge in 2019.
Extreme heat is also forecast across the UK – with amber warnings for the rest of England, all of Wales and parts of Scotland.
London is set to become one of the hottest places in the world as temperatures rise from the Western Sahara and the Caribbean.
The capital is said to be hotter than Dahlia in Western Sahara (24C), Nassau in the Bahamas (32C), Kingston in Jamaica (33C), Malaga in Spain (28C) and Athens in Greece (35C).
The warm weather will continue into Tuesday – with overnight temperatures in the mid-twenties – before cooling off on Wednesday.
It is the first time the Met Office has issued a red alert since it was launched last year.
This means that “extensive impacts on people and infrastructure” are expected, requiring “significant changes in work practices and daily activities”.
Some schools plan to close early – or never open – even though the government has issued guidelines designed to keep them open.
Network Rail people should only travel on Monday and Tuesday “if absolutely necessary”, with some cancellations announced in advance and speed restrictions on the network.
The LNER will not operate services between London and Leeds and York on most Tuesdays.
Jake Kelly from Network Rail said precautions were being taken to minimize the impact of the heat, but the heat was putting rail infrastructure under “particular stress”.
Alongside the Met Office’s red and amber warnings, the UK’s Health Protection Agency has issued a level four alert for England, which the government regards as a “national emergency”.
Ambulance capacity will be increased with additional call handlers, Health Minister Steve Barclay said after an emergency Cobra meeting for ministers on Saturday.
The London Ambulance Service said it saw 7,000 calls a day with the temperature rise and expected up to 8,000 on both Monday and Tuesday. He explained that a busy day in the capital sees a total of around 5,500 calls.
While there is no warning for Northern Ireland, temperatures are expected to reach 30C on Monday.
A heat wave occurs when temperatures rise by just 1C above pre-industrial averages.
We are living in the hottest period for 125,000 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the climate science arm of the United Nations.
We know what’s behind this – greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels like coal and gas. The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is at a high level for two million years and is increasing, according to the IPCC.
If all the promises made by governments at last year’s UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow are implemented, we are looking at a 2.4C rise in temperatures by the end of the century.
But the bad news is that CO2 emissions are increasing. In the year By 2030, without major reductions, we could see temperatures rise even further. Perhaps up to 4C by the end of the century, scientists predict.
what does that mean? I think you know the answer to that. This means many frequent and intense heat waves.
Sunday was the hottest day of the year so far, with 33C in Flintshire, 32C in Cheshire, 27.7C in Armagh in Northern Ireland and 26.4C in Auchincrove, Ayrshire.
Beaches across the country are crowded, and people are being warned to be careful if they freeze in the water.
A 16-year-old boy died while swimming in Salford Quays on Saturday night, his body has been found after a man went missing in a West Yorkshire reservoir.
Water companies in the south and east of England have warned that increased demand could lead to low pressure and even cut off supplies for some households.
Experts urged people to drink water, close their curtains where possible and check on their loved ones.
Professor Penny Enderby, chief executive of the Met Office, said: “In this country we take spells as an opportunity to go out and play in the sun. “This is not the weather.”
By Lawrence Peter
France has evacuated more than 16,000 people from the risk of wildfires in the southwest as fires also spread in Spain, Croatia and Greece.
In France’s Gironde, a popular tourist region, authorities have evicted tourists from campsites that have already left. Fires spread in the Teste-de-Buch and Landras areas.
More than 3,200 people fled the fires in the Mijas hills in southern Spain, although some later managed to return.
The Portuguese fires are under control for the time being.
More than 1,000 people have died in Portugal and Spain over the past few days.
The Mijas Volcano in Spain is not far from Malaga, a popular tourist destination. Elsewhere in Spain, wildfires have broken out in the states of Castilla León, Galicia and Extremadura.
Ellen McCurdy, who lives in the Málaga area, told Reuters: “We ran really well with a few essentials, and at this stage all the people on the streets were on the move… there were lots of ambulances and fire engines.”
Across the Mediterranean – from Morocco in the west to Crete in the east – thousands of firefighters and dozens of water-bombing planes were deployed. Since Tuesday, the entire region has been reeling under intense heat, which has left the vegetation bone dry.
Because of human-induced climate change, heat waves have become more frequent, more intense, and longer. The world has warmed by about 1.1C since the start of the industrial age and will continue to rise unless global governments drastically reduce carbon emissions.
France’s weather service is forecasting temperatures of up to 41C (106F) in the south of the country on Sunday and predicting a new record high on Monday. In Portugal, the temperature recently reached 47C.
A red alert for extreme heat is in place for parts of England in the UK, with the country bracing for high temperatures on Monday and Tuesday, possibly reaching 41C in some areas.
Dr Eunice Lo, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol, told the BBC that “warmer temperatures are a sign of climate change” and that 2,000 more deaths a year in the UK are caused by heat waves.
According to public records, the 10 warmest years in the UK since 1884 have all been since 2002. Globally, “heat waves are very common and long-lasting,” said Dr. Lo. “We need to stop burning fossil fuels and act now and fast.”
Morocco ordered more than 1,300 people to evacuate their homes and deployed more firefighters to fight forest fires in the north. The worst affected area is Larache province.
In Crete, Greek firefighters are battling a large fire in the hills around Rethymno on the northern coast. They said he was partially arrested on Saturday.
Some areas in southwestern Turkey and along Croatia’s Adriatic coast are also battling wildfires. There were several near the Croatian resort towns of Zadar and Šibenik, but no major evacuations.
By late Saturday, France had put 22 more regional departments – mostly on the Atlantic coast – on high orange alert.
One resident in southwestern France described the forest fires as feeling “post-apocalyptic”. The blaze has burned 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) of land and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin praised the firefighters for their “remarkable courage”.
“Everything went so fast – the fire was big, big, big,” 27-year-old Manon Jacquart told the BBC. She was evicted from the camp she was working on Wednesday morning and slept in a shelter near Teste-de-Buch, where hundreds of other people were sheltering from the disaster.
“I’m worried, I’m scared… I’m trying to be as strong as I can but I’m not okay… I want to forget this week,” she said.
Meanwhile, climbers in the Alps have been urged to postpone their trip to Mont Blanc due to the risk of rock falls caused by “unusual climatic conditions”.
As people rush to cool down, heat waves put people at risk of heatstroke, heat exhaustion and drowning, Dr. Lo said. Pets and farm animals are also at risk.
“Even healthy and fit people are at risk,” she said, although the most vulnerable are young children, the elderly and people with medical conditions.
High temperatures can damage infrastructure such as melting road asphalt and railroad tracks.
In Portugal, fires have destroyed 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of land this year, especially in the north. It is the worst fire since 2017, when 100 people died in a massive fire.
Holidaymakers on the coast of Torremolinos in southern Spain saw large plumes of smoke billowing over the hills.
Helicopters are on their way to shore collecting seawater to put out the fire, while planes are dropping fire retardant.
“There’s about 40 houses in our area where everybody was really worried and they were standing outside or standing on their porches watching it,” said Ashley Baker, a local resident.
“Even now there is fire on the top of the mountains. He’s gone so far, I’m so relieved.”
The Italian government has declared a state of emergency in the parched Po Valley – the country’s longest river is inundated in some places.
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