UK weather: Level three heatwave alert issued for whole of England

·2 min read
Last month the UK Health Security Agency issued a Level 4 alert when temperatures hit 40C in parts of southern England - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Last month the UK Health Security Agency issued a Level 4 alert when temperatures hit 40C in parts of southern England - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

All of England has been placed on a level three heat health alert, the UK Health Security Agency (HSA) has announced.

It follows forecasts of temperatures in the mid-30s later this week.

The alert will be in place from midday Tuesday to 6pm on Saturday August 13 for all regions of England.

The alert system was only created this year following the founding of the HSA in 2021.

Last month, it issued a Level 4 alert when temperatures hit 40C in parts of southern England.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, the head of extreme events and health protection at the HSA, said: "We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health.

"It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable – elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions – are prepared for coping during the hot weather.

"The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating."

With the latest heatwave coming after months of low rain, which have left the countryside and urban parks and gardens tinder-dry, households in some areas are being urged not to light fires or have barbecues.

Two water companies have already announced hosepipe bans and others have warned they may need to follow suit, following the driest eight months from November to June since 1976, and the driest July on record for parts of southern and eastern England.

Tony Wardle, the deputy chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "Heatwave criteria look likely to be met for large areas of the UK later this week, with the hottest areas expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday.

"Temperatures could peak at 35C, or even an isolated 36C on Saturday.

"Elsewhere will see temperatures widely into the high 20s and low 30s Celsius later this week as temperatures build day on day through the week due to an area of high pressure extending over much of the UK.

"Coupled with the high daytime temperatures will be continued warm nights, with the mercury expected to drop to only around low 20s Celsius for some areas in the south."

Scientists warn that the likelihood of droughts occurring is becoming higher due to climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

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.