UK weather: Temperatures are set to hit 43C on the hottest day in UK history


Britain today experienced its hottest day on record as temperatures soared past 40C (104F) amid growing rail travel chaos as schools shut again and millions of people respond to the extreme heat by working from home.

The mercury hit an unprecedented 40.2C (104.4F) at London Heathrow Airport at 12.50pm, around an hour after a reading of 39.1C (102.4F) at Charlwood in Surrey beat the previous all-time UK high of 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge in July 2019. In third place is 38.5C (101.3F) in Kent in August 2003, ahead of 38.1C (100.6F) in Suffolk yesterday.

Elsewhere today, the mercury got up to 38.8C (101.8F) at Kew Gardens in West London around noon – also beating the all-time high. It was 38.1C (100.6F) at St James’s Park in Central London and 37.7C (99.9F) in Chertsey, Surrey. 

Forecasters said an absolute maximum of 43C (109F) is possible later on – and the highs in England are equal to the warmest spots anywhere in Europe today. The UK is also hotter than Jamaica, the Maldives and Barbados.

The Met Office also confirmed that last night was the warmest night on record in Britain, with temperatures not falling below 25C (77F) in many areas of England and Wales. The highest overnight minimum in the UK last night was 25.9C (78.6F) at Emley Moor in West Yorkshire, while it was 25.8C (78.4F) at Kenley in Croydon, South London.

This smashed the previous record of 23.9C (75F) in Brighton set on August 3, 1990. It comes one day after Wales had its hottest day ever with 37.1C (99F) in Hawarden, Flintshire – beating a record set in the same village in 1990. 

In Cambridgeshire today, the surface of the A14 at Bottisham appeared to have melted and buckled. And on the trains, Network Rail and operators upgraded their travel advice for those heading north out of London into the red warning area to ‘do not travel’, saying there will be no services in or out of London King’s Cross all day today. 

The heat has brought major rail chaos for commuters around the capital, with no Thameslink or Great Northern trains running in any location north of London, from Blackfriars via St Pancras, or from King’s Cross or Moorgate.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told people across Britain today to ‘apply common sense’ and ‘depending on the nature of your journey and reason for it, you might want to consider rearranging your day around it’. 

But the sight of parts of the UK shutting down sparked a backlash, with complaints that ministers and health chiefs were ‘acting like nanny’ – while holidaymakers were delayed yesterday as a part of runway at Luton Airport melted.

Today, the Supreme Court in London was closed to visitors because of the heat and an air-conditioning fault. A sign was posted at the building’s entrance explaining the problem, although hearings could still be viewed online. 

But the extreme heat is likely to end with a bang tomorrow, with the Met Office issuing a thunderstorm warning for between 1pm and 9pm across the South East amid concerns of sudden flooding, lightning strikes and power cuts. Forecasters said up to 1.2in (30mm) of rain could fall in some areas in just an hour and 2in (50mm) in three hours. 

Before then, with the UK’s first ever red warning for extreme heat still predicted to see the 40C (104F) barrier broken for the first time ever this afternoon, normal life was on hold in parts of the country as:

  • At least 171 schools closed, with teachers claiming learning was impossible in sweltering classrooms;
  • Hospitals cancelled appointments and non-urgent operations as operating theatres turned into ovens;
  • Royal Mail workers were told to return to sorting offices with undelivered mail amid fears they would fall ill;
  • Experts recommended avoiding the beach and holding off exercising until the extreme heat has passed;
  • Commuter numbers on roads and railways were down by up to a fifth, and tracks on some lines buckled;
  • There was a spate of water-related tragedies, including a 13-year-old boy’s body pulled from the River Tyne;
  • A 50-fold increase in demand for fans alongside a boom for bottled water, ice lollies and canned cocktails;
  • Water companies raised the prospect of hosepipe bans amid fears of a summer drought.

LNER will run no trains from south of York and south of Leeds to King’s Cross – and Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are among the operators running significantly reduced services.

On the London Underground, there was no Hammersmith & City line, no Metropolitan line between Baker Street and Aldgate due to ‘heat-related speed restrictions’ and no Jubilee line between Waterloo and Willesden Green.

There were severe delays on the Central, District and Victoria lines; severe delays on the sections of the Jubilee and Metropolitan that were in operation; and no Overground between Willesden Junction and Richmond or Romford and Upminster. There were also delays on the western and eastern sections of the Elizabeth line.

Two women dip their heads into the fountain to cool off at Trafalgar Square in London this morning amid the extreme heat

The surface of the A14 at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire appears to have melted and buckled today during the heatwave

The surface of the A14 at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire appears to have melted and buckled today during the heatwave

Maximum temperatures of at least 40C are expected in England this afternoon - but could rise even further to as high as 43C

Maximum temperatures of at least 40C are expected in England this afternoon – but could rise even further to as high as 43C

Forecasters at MetDesk produced this map revealing where the top temperatures are likely to be observed in Britain today

Forecasters at MetDesk produced this map revealing where the top temperatures are likely to be observed in Britain today

A group of women walk along the pebbles of Brighton beach today as they head to the coast of East Sussex

A group of women walk along the pebbles of Brighton beach today as they head to the coast of East Sussex

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

A member of F Company Scots Guards swelters during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace today

A member of F Company Scots Guards swelters during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace today

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a huge grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a huge grass fire came within feet of homes

A young woman in the fountains at Trafalgar Square in London today as the heatwave continues

A young woman in the fountains at Trafalgar Square in London today as the heatwave continues

Beachgoers make the best of the scorching morning temperatures at West Bay in Dorset today

Beachgoers make the best of the scorching morning temperatures at West Bay in Dorset today

Peter Dolby jumps into the water at Compton Lock in Winchester today on what is expected to be the hottest day on record

Peter Dolby jumps into the water at Compton Lock in Winchester today on what is expected to be the hottest day on record

Two women lay a towel on the sand at Bournemouth beach today as sunbathers flock to the Dorset coast to enjoy the heat

Two women lay a towel on the sand at Bournemouth beach today as sunbathers flock to the Dorset coast to enjoy the heat

A man and woman sit in the River Dove in Dovedale today during the heatwave as people enjoy the weather in Derbyshire

A man and woman sit in the River Dove in Dovedale today during the heatwave as people enjoy the weather in Derbyshire

Sunworshippers on Brighton beach this morning on day two of the red extreme heat warning

Sunworshippers on Brighton beach this morning on day two of the red extreme heat warning

A busy Bournemouth beach this morning as people enjoy the sunshine on what is set to be a record-breaking day

A busy Bournemouth beach this morning as people enjoy the sunshine on what is set to be a record-breaking day

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

London Bridge today

London Bridge today

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work today

People flock to the beach and seafront at Southend-on-Sea this morning as an Essex Police officer walks past

People flock to the beach and seafront at Southend-on-Sea this morning as an Essex Police officer walks past

Cyclist Oonagh Thin, 24 takes a rest to enjoy the sun at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh this morning

Cyclist Oonagh Thin, 24 takes a rest to enjoy the sun at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh this morning

Australian cabaret and circus troupe Briefs take to the water to attempt to cool themselves during a photocall for "Bites" outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London today

Australian cabaret and circus troupe Briefs take to the water to attempt to cool themselves during a photocall for ‘Bites’ outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London today

Two women sunbathe on Brighton beach in East Sussex this morning on day two of the red extreme heat warning

Two women sunbathe on Brighton beach in East Sussex this morning on day two of the red extreme heat warning

Racehorses get cooled down at trainer Sue Smith's yard near Bingley in West Yorkshire this morning

Racehorses get cooled down at trainer Sue Smith’s yard near Bingley in West Yorkshire this morning

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London's Hyde Park today

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London’s Hyde Park today

A member of the Household Cavalry has a fan placed next to him at Horse Guards Parade in Central London this morning

A member of the Household Cavalry has a fan placed next to him at Horse Guards Parade in Central London this morning

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire - known as 'Blue Lagoon' - on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire – known as ‘Blue Lagoon’ – on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

A horse at Horse Guards Parade in Westminster is given some water to cool down as the heatwave continues

A horse at Horse Guards Parade in Westminster is given some water to cool down as the heatwave continues

Siblings Joshua, Harry and Chloe jump into the water at Compton Lock in Winchester, Hampshire, this morning

Siblings Joshua, Harry and Chloe jump into the water at Compton Lock in Winchester, Hampshire, this morning

A member of the Household Cavalry feels the heat at Horse Guards Parade in London today as the heatwave continues

A member of the Household Cavalry feels the heat at Horse Guards Parade in London today as the heatwave continues

People walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning ahead of another very hot day at the seaside

People walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning ahead of another very hot day at the seaside

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Friends Isaac Pratt and Connie Dolby hold hands as they drift down the river at Compton Lock in Winchester this morning

Friends Isaac Pratt and Connie Dolby hold hands as they drift down the river at Compton Lock in Winchester this morning

The dried out bed and reduced water levels in the Thruscross Reservoir in North Yorkshire, pictured this morning

The dried out bed and reduced water levels in the Thruscross Reservoir in North Yorkshire, pictured this morning

A woman enjoys the hot weather on a paddleboard at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

A woman enjoys the hot weather on a paddleboard at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures as shown in this map

The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures as shown in this map

In the West End, Oxford Circus station was closed this morning while London Fire Bridgade crews investigated what they said were ‘reports of smoke issuing from an escalator machine room on the northbound Victoria line’. 

Transport for London said London’s rail network will be running a reduced service throughout today due to safety restrictions put into place to deal with the heat, and Gatwick Express trains were completely suspended.

Heatwave death toll soars to 13 with two missing: Man in his 20s dies in Cotswolds as search is launched for swimmer dragged out to sea in Essex and hunt continues for 14-year-old boy in River Thames 

A man in his 20s has become the latest to drown after attempting to cool off from the scorching temperatures by going for a swim at a water park in Wiltshire.

At least 13 people have died in heatwave-related incidents since the heatwave began on July 9, bringing with it record-breaking temperatures. 

It comes after it was confirmed a man had died from drowning, bringing Monday’s death toll alone to five.

The 70-year-old man was pulled unconscious from the water in Sandown on the Isle of Wight. Emergency services battled for 40 minutes to save his life but he was declared dead at the scene.

In Wiltshire, police confirmed the man in his 20s had died at Cotswold Water Park in Ashton Keynes. The force said the man was pulled from the water but pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 6pm. 

Meanwhile, a boy aged 14 is feared dead in Richmond after he was declared missing when he was spotted getting into difficulty in the Thames in West London and at least one person is missing after going for a swim in Clacton, Essex, with a search operation ongoing.

In Richmond, emergency services were called at 5pm yesterday to reports of a child seen in the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton and searched the area for the boy but were unsuccessful. 

Also yesterday, a 16-year-old boy died after getting into difficulty in Bray Lake in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Robert Hattersley, 13, from Crawcrook, died following an incident in the River Tyne on Sunday as his family said they were ‘absolutely devastated’. The ‘kind and loving’ teenager died after getting into difficulty in a river near Ovingham, Northumberland, over the weekend.

Yesterday, police were also seen near the River Irwell in Bury at around 4pm as police parked in Jubilee Way. 

A man was also rescued yesterday by fire, police and ambulance services yesterday after he was seen in Erewash canal near Sandiacre, Derbyshire.

A 37-year-old man died after being pulled out of the sea at Brighton beach on Saturday evening. 

In Scotland a 51-year-old man died after his kayak capsized on the River Spey, Moray, on Sunday. 

The same night, a man in his 50s died after falling from a boat and getting into difficulty in the water in Northern Ireland. Emergency services rushed to the scene at Cromane Bay, Kilorglin, at around 10pm.

Also on Sunday, a 50-year-old man died at Ardsley Reservoir, West Yorkshire, it was reported, after he got into difficulty while swimming.

On Saturday a 16-year-old Kalen Waugh drowned in Salford Quays on Saturday, causing Greater Manchester Police to issue a fresh warning about swimming.

Two other schoolboys drowned in separate swimming accidents last week.

After getting into difficulties while swimming in a quarry at Appley Bridge, Lancashire, on July 9, 16-year-old Jamie Lewin died. The promising boxer who ‘loved life’ and was ‘was one in a million’ was the third teenager in just seven years to lose his life at the quarry.

Just two days later Alfie McCraw, also 16, from Wakefield, who had only recently finished his GCSEs, died after swimming in a West Yorkshire canal.

In North Wales, Emma Louise Powell, 24, drowned while paddleboarding with two friends last Thursday evening.

The ‘happy go lucky’ woman got into difficulties at the beauty spot at Conwy Morfa with her two friends. All three were rescued from the water following a major rescue operation, but Ms Powell, from Llandudno, died. 

Network Rail had previously warned customers to travel only if ‘absolutely necessary’ today. It said the hottest rail track was 62C (143F) in Suffolk yesterday – where the air temperature was 38.1C (100.6F). Merseyrail said the number of trains running and journey times will be ‘seriously affected’, with some routes shut.

East Midlands Railway is running limited services between Derby, Nottingham, Luton, Bedford and London, which will stop completely between lunchtime and 7pm – the hottest period of the day.

There are limited and disrupted services running into and out of London Euston – on Avanti West Coast and West Midlands Railway – and London Marylebone with Chiltern Railway, according to Network Rail.

Meanwhile a section of the A14 dual carriageway in Cambridgeshire was left looking like a ‘skatepark’ after it warped in the heatwave yesterday, police said.

Policing East Cambridgeshire said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, with a photo of the damaged road surface: ‘No, the A14 is not being turned into a skatepark… unfortunately the road surface isn’t coping well in this heat. While it might look like fun it’s potentially very dangerous.’

The westbound section of the A14 at Bottisham was closed overnight for emergency repairs and had reopened by around 7am today, National Highways said.

Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth told how it was ‘extraordinarily unusual’ to see temperatures in the 30Cs by the morning rush-hour in the UK.

She added: ‘We’re looking at the maximum temperatures somewhere between 40C to 41C, and that’s looking to be across the Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region.’

Forecaster Rachel Ayers added: ‘There are likely to be delays on roads, with road closures, as well as possible delays and cancellations to trains and maybe issues with air travel. This could pose a significant health risk to those stuck on services or roads during the heat.’

Figures published by location technology firm TomTom show the level of road congestion at 9am today was lower in several cities than at the same time last week.

In Birmingham, congestion levels fell from 48 per cent on July 12 to 32 per cent. In Bristol, congestion levels were down from 46 per cent to 42 per cent. In London, levels fell from 60 per cent to 44 per cent. In Manchester, it declined from 59 per cent to 44 per cent.

The data shows the proportion of extra time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.

Forecasters and NHS leaders have warned that thousands of people – even those who are fit and healthy – could die during the ‘ferocious’ heatwave, urging them to do ‘as little as possible’.

But in a furious backlash, senior Tory MPs claimed people were becoming ‘frightened of the heat’. Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Great British common sense should be allowed to prevail’.

‘I long for the day when the Government stops acting like Nanny telling everyone what to do, every institution panicking and the BBC telling us we’re all going to die,’ he said yesterday.

‘If it’s very hot, just give people advice – wear a hat, wear sun lotion, drink a lot of liquid. If you go to Italy or France, they don’t just stop everything because it’s hot.’

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense group of backbench Tory MPs, said we were entering ‘a cowardly new world where we live in a country where we are frightened of the heat’.

‘It is not surprising that in snowflake Britain, the snowflakes are melting,’ he added. ‘Thankfully, most of us are not snowflakes.’

Former Tory Health Minister Edwina Currie warned against ‘too much hectoring’. 

She called on the Government to promote ‘more positive messages’ in hot weather, such as going to work and school early in the morning and ‘having a siesta’ to stay out of the sun.

Former Northern Ireland First Minister Dame Arlene Foster branded the warnings ‘Government over-reach’, add-ing that ‘all of this started with Covid regulations’.

She told BBC Politics Live people now ‘expect the Government to tell them how to live their lives, which I think is absolutely wrong’.

Tory donor and Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins claimed the push to stay away from work due to hot weather risked damaging an already fragile economy.

‘The only reason they want to be at home is so they can sit in the sun,’ he told Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show. ‘It’s another excuse. Just go to work, get on with your job.

Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning

Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning

Sunseekers head into the water at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning as the extreme heat continues in England

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

A woman wears an umbrella hat on the beach at Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning as the heatwave continues

A woman wears an umbrella hat on the beach at Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning as the heatwave continues

Steller sea eagle Vraska cools down with keeper Johanna McQuade at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park today

Steller sea eagle Vraska cools down with keeper Johanna McQuade at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park today

Beachgoers make the best of the scorching morning temperatures at West Bay in Dorset today

Beachgoers make the best of the scorching morning temperatures at West Bay in Dorset today

A woman lays on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, today as Britons feel the heat on the hottest UK day on record

A woman lays on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, today as Britons feel the heat on the hottest UK day on record

Australian cabaret and circus troupe Briefs take to the water to attempt to cool themselves during a photocall for 'Bites' outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London today

Australian cabaret and circus troupe Briefs take to the water to attempt to cool themselves during a photocall for ‘Bites’ outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London today

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire - known as 'Blue Lagoon' - on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire – known as ‘Blue Lagoon’ – on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service issued this picture of firefighters attend to a grass fire in Rixton, Warrington, today

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service issued this picture of firefighters attend to a grass fire in Rixton, Warrington, today

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

Swimmers Tara Wight and Kate Whitaker in the sea at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh this morning amid the heatwave

Swimmers Tara Wight and Kate Whitaker in the sea at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh this morning amid the heatwave

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

Fire crews have been sent to a gorse blaze at Zennor near St Ives in Cornwall, which is pictured this morning

Fire crews have been sent to a gorse blaze at Zennor near St Ives in Cornwall, which is pictured this morning

A woman goes for a swim off Bournemouth beach today as people enjoy the water and sun on the Dorset coast

A woman goes for a swim off Bournemouth beach today as people enjoy the water and sun on the Dorset coast

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on Bournemouth beach this morning as Britons prepare for another very hot day across the country

People on Bournemouth beach this morning as Britons prepare for another very hot day across the country

Two women carry water across Bournemouth beach early this morning as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Two women carry water across Bournemouth beach early this morning as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Ddrone footage of the aftermath of a field fire by Cheshunt Park in Hertfordshire pictured today, after it started yesterday

Ddrone footage of the aftermath of a field fire by Cheshunt Park in Hertfordshire pictured today, after it started yesterday

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside this morning

A group of men go for a paddle early this morning at Bournemouth beach as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

A group of men go for a paddle early this morning at Bournemouth beach as sunseekers flock to the Dorset coast again

Chippy the chimpanzee enjoying an ice treat at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling this morning

Chippy the chimpanzee enjoying an ice treat at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling this morning

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset this morning as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire - known as 'Blue Lagoon' - on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire – known as ‘Blue Lagoon’ – on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

People rest on a bench at St James's Park in London today as temperatures soar again across England

People rest on a bench at St James’s Park in London today as temperatures soar again across England

People on Bournemouth beach this morning as Britons prepare for another very hot day across the country

People on Bournemouth beach this morning as Britons prepare for another very hot day across the country

The dried out bed and reduced water levels in the Thruscross Reservoir in North Yorkshire, pictured this morning

The dried out bed and reduced water levels in the Thruscross Reservoir in North Yorkshire, pictured this morning

Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning

Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning

A woman wears an umbrella hat on the beach at Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning as the heatwave continues

The burnt out remains of Lickey Hills parkland in Birmingham this morning where fire crews are still on the scene

The burnt out remains of Lickey Hills parkland in Birmingham this morning where fire crews are still on the scene

A cyclist makes her way around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh today as the UK is braced to face the hottest day on record

A cyclist makes her way around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh today as the UK is braced to face the hottest day on record

People flock to the beach at Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning as the heatwave continues

People flock to the beach at Southend-on-Sea in Essex this morning as the heatwave continues

A woman dips her head into the fountain to cool off at Trafalgar Square in London this morning amid the extreme heat

A woman dips her head into the fountain to cool off at Trafalgar Square in London this morning amid the extreme heat

A bush fire in Leytonstone, East London, resulted in roads having to close as the heatwave continues in England

A bush fire in Leytonstone, East London, resulted in roads having to close as the heatwave continues in England

A man sits in a chair on the beach in Bournemouth today as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

A man sits in a chair on the beach in Bournemouth today as Britons melt on the hottest UK day on record

Trains to London King's Cross from Edinburgh Waverley station are cancelled due to hot weather this morning

Trains to London King’s Cross from Edinburgh Waverley station are cancelled due to hot weather this morning

A woman rests on the grass at St James's Park in London today as temperatures soar again across England

A woman rests on the grass at St James’s Park in London today as temperatures soar again across England

‘If we put up with this, we’re going to open the floodgates for all the snowflakes. They’re not going to come to work, whether it’s too foggy, too wet, too rainy, windy, (or) storms are coming.’

Keep gadgets out of the sun to stop overheating 

Tech experts have urged smartphone users to keep their gadgets out of the sun during the heatwave to ensure they continue working properly.

Many gadgets can overheat in direct sunlight leaving them unable to function properly or be charged.

People are also being encouraged to take cases off phones, tablets and laptops to improve airflow around them and help a device’s ability to cool, and move other items such as WiFi routers to a place with plenty of airflow to ensure they do not overheat.

Some larger devices contain internal fans to aid cooling, meaning giving them some extra space to disperse that warm air can help lower their temperature.

According to the mobiles team at Uswitch.com, extreme temperatures can cause gadgets to stop working as well as doing lasting damage to the technology.

Uswitch advises people to consider adjusting some settings to reduce battery usage and how hard a phone has to work as a result, which can help reduce the device’s temperature and ensure it continues to work efficiently.

‘Playing with the settings on your laptop, smartphone or tablet can also be an effective way of preventing them from overheating,’ Uswitch says. ‘It’s usually the batteries in these devices that get hot, so tinkering to get the battery usage down is always helpful.

‘The higher the brightness, the more the battery gets used, so this is the first setting to get down as low as you can.

‘It might be a bit harder to see, but it will definitely help keep your device cool. Also, a lot of smartphones have adaptive screens. In which case, the brightness will automatically go up if you’re out in the sun, so turn this setting off.’

If a device such as a smartphone begins to overheat, many will show users a warning to tell them they need to cool the phone down.

A smartphone that is too hot may also not charge when plugged in as this can cause a further temperature rise.

But experts have warned gadget owners not to put their devices in a fridge or freezer in an effort to cool them down.

Insurance provider So-Sure said doing so can be ‘very harmful’ as it means moisture could get into a device and cause significant damage.

Scotland and Northern Ireland also experienced their warmest days of the year so far yesterday with 31.3C (88.3F) recorded in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, and 31.1C (88F) in Derrylin, County Fermanagh.

After Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab urged the country to ‘enjoy the sunshine’ and be ‘resilient enough through some of the pressures it will place’, beaches were thronged yesterday. 

Members of the Household Cavalry have been using electric fans to help them cope with the rising temperatures in London.

Troops were looking red in the face and sweating while standing watch in their heavy ceremonial uniforms and helmets at Horse Guards Parade in Westminster, as the heatwave continued to hit the UK on Tuesday.

One could be seen stood in position with a large metal desk fan pointed towards him in a bid to keep him cool. Water was brought out to the horses of the mounted troops.

Meanwhile commuter numbers have plummeted across England – with a corresponding rise in visitor numbers to sea-side resorts.

It suggested that millions of people had heeded Cabinet Office Minister Kit Malthouse, who said ‘this may be a moment to work from home’ – or taken the day off altogether.

Mr Malthouse updated the Cabinet on the impact of the heatwave during their meeting this morning.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster updated Cabinet on the impact of the heatwave. He said services had experienced some disruption but were generally coping well thanks to the hard work of frontline staff.’

After more than a dozen train firms advised passengers to travel only if it is ‘absolutely necessary’, Network Rail said the number using major stations across Britain yesterday was around 20 per cent down on the week before.

Rail tracks buckled in London’s Vauxhall in the heat – resulting in a safety inspection on the line that caused disruption between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 

And operator Great Northern said a buckled rail at Watlington in Norfolk meant services could not run between Cambridge and Kings Lynn.

Transport for London, which has advised people to ‘only travel if essential’, said around 1.03 million entries and exits were made by London Underground passengers up to 10am today.

This is down 30 per cent compared with the same period last Tuesday, and also lower than yesterday’s figure of 1.06 million.

Some 1.04million bus journeys were made up to 10am, a decrease of 16 per cent week on week, and down from Monday’s figure of 1.07million.

Today, Mr Shapps said issues on the rails and roads will continue for decades during extreme heatwaves.

Asked how long it will take to upgrade existing rail infrastructure to be more resilient, he told Sky News: ‘Decades, actually, to replace it all. Ditto with Tarmac on the roads.

‘There’s a long process of replacing it and upgrading it to withstand temperatures, either very hot or sometimes much colder than we’ve been used to, and these are the impacts of global warming.’

He said there was no Cobra meeting planned for today, with the Prime Minister instead chairing Cabinet.

People sleep on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People sleep on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

A busy London Euston Station this morning amid mass travel disruption on the second day of the red weather warning

A busy London Euston Station this morning amid mass travel disruption on the second day of the red weather warning

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire - known as 'Blue Lagoon' - on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire – known as ‘Blue Lagoon’ – on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London's Hyde Park today

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London’s Hyde Park today

The sun rises over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

The sun rises over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

A man sleeping at London Bridge railway station this morning as temperatures are set to climb to 40C today

A man sleeping at London Bridge railway station this morning as temperatures are set to climb to 40C today

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Today, the Supreme Court in London was closed to visitors because of the heat and an air-conditioning fault

Today, the Supreme Court in London was closed to visitors because of the heat and an air-conditioning fault

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London's Hyde Park today

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London’s Hyde Park today

A person wets their hair in a fountain at Trafalgar Square in central London this morning

A person wets their hair in a fountain at Trafalgar Square in central London this morning

Early morning swimmers and paddleboarders cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today

Early morning swimmers and paddleboarders cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Empty shelves at a Lidl store in Clevedon, Somerset, this morning as the UK is set for another day of hot weather

Empty shelves at a Lidl store in Clevedon, Somerset, this morning as the UK is set for another day of hot weather

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London's Hyde Park today

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London’s Hyde Park today

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside today

People out enjoying the hot weather at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside today

A man drinks from a bottle of water on the Jubilee line this morning as commuters use the London Underground to get to work

A man drinks from a bottle of water on the Jubilee line this morning as commuters use the London Underground to get to work

Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset this morning at the start of what could be the hottest day on record

Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset this morning at the start of what could be the hottest day on record

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Empty shelves in the water aisle of a Sainsbury's supermarket at Nine Elms in South West London this morning

Empty shelves in the water aisle of a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Nine Elms in South West London this morning

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Swimmers Tara Wight and Kate Whitaker in the sea at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh this morning amid the heatwave

Swimmers Tara Wight and Kate Whitaker in the sea at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh this morning amid the heatwave

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London's Hyde Park today

People enjoy an early morning swim at the Serpentine Lido in London’s Hyde Park today

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire - known as 'Blue Lagoon' - on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

People at Harpur Hill Quarry in Derbyshire – known as ‘Blue Lagoon’ – on what is the hottest day on record in the UK

Mr Shapps also insisted Boris Johnson has not checked out early from Number 10 after the Prime Minister was criticised for not playing a direct enough role in combating the heatwave. 

What were Britain’s ten hottest days on record before today? 

1)   38.7C – July 25, 2019

2)   38.5C – August 10, 2003

3)  38.1C – YESTERDAY 

4)   37.8C – July 31, 2020

5)   37.1C – August 3, 1990

=6)  36.7C – July 1, 2015

=6)  36.7C – August 9, 1911

8)   36.6C – August 2, 1990

9)   36.5C – July 19, 2006

=10)  36.4C – August 7, 2020

=10)  36.4C – August 6, 2003

He told Sky News: ‘It’s literally not true, in fact exactly the opposite is the truth.’

Mr Shapps also conceded that the UK’s transport network cannot cope with the extreme heat.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We’ve seen a considerable amount of travel disruption, we’re probably going to see the hottest day ever in the UK recorded today and infrastructure, much of it built in Victorian times, just wasn’t built to withstand this type of temperature.

‘And it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could, because the temperatures are so extreme.’

Asked if the transport system can cope with the weather, he said: ‘The simple answer at the moment is no.

‘Where those tracks are 40C in the air, on the ground that could be 50C, 60C, 70C and more. 

‘So you get a severe danger of tracks buckling, what we can’t have is trains running over those and a terrible derailing.

‘We’ve got to be very cautious and conscious of that, which is why there’s reduced speeds on large parts of the network.’

Predictions of long tailbacks as road surfaces melted in the heat also took effect, with location technology firm TomTom recording congestion at 9am down by up to 11 per cent in major UK cities.

Lincolnshire Police said road surface temperatures topping 50C caused parts of the A159 to melt.

Transport for London – which advised people to ‘only travel if essential’ – said Tube passenger numbers were down 18 per cent on the previous Monday.

Meanwhile bus journeys in the capital were down ten per cent week-on-week.

Council staff pick up an abandoned tent on Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning as the hot weather continues

Council staff pick up an abandoned tent on Bournemouth beach in Dorset this morning as the hot weather continues

Two women walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach this morning as people arrive early at the Dorset coast

Two women walk along the sand at Bournemouth beach this morning as people arrive early at the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter pickers on Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter pickers on Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on deckchairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Retail analysts Springboard reported a similar fall in Central London footfall yesterday, with 11 per cent fewer peo-ple in regional cities – but a nine per cent boost in visitors to coastal towns.

Record heat brings Britain’s travel network to a halt: Oxford Circus station is evacuated over ‘smoking escalator’ and Network Rail tells people ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ 

Record breaking temperatures has brought Britain’s travel network to a halt, with Oxford Circus station evacuated over a ‘smoking escalator’, Network Rail issuing a ‘do not travel warning’, hundreds of trains cancelled, and runways melting at airports. 

London Fire Brigade said firefighters were investigating reports of smoke coming from an escalator machine room on the northbound Victoria Line. The incident is causing yet more disruption to the Tube network, which is already running a reduced service. 

Today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted the UK’s infrastructure ‘could not cope’ with the extreme weather – as the country braced for 43C (109F) highs.

 

Network Rail advised no one to travel on services leaving north from London today after pictures emerged of rails that had buckled in the heat. The hottest railway track reached 62C (144F) yesterday at a spot in Suffolk.

While several train companies have closed routes completely, others are warning against anything but essential travel. ‘Please don’t use our trains to get to the beach,’ Thameslink said.  

There will be no Thameslink or Great Northern trains running in any location north of London, from London Blackfriars via St Pancras, or from King’s Cross or London Moorgate today. 

Merseyrail said the number of trains running and journey times will be ‘seriously affected’, with some routes closed completely. LNER will run no trains from south of York and south of Leeds to King’s Cross.

Southern, South Eastern, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are among the dozens of train companies running significantly reduced services across the country. 

All trains out of King’s Cross were cancelled this morning, with foreign tourists bemused as to why temperatures that were ‘quite normal’ elsewhere during summer had resulted in such disruption.

‘People are clearly working at home today as advised,’ said the firm’s insights director, Diane Wehrle.

A number of small shops around the country closed early for the day or have closed completely until tomorrow. These included several groups of charity shops, while hairdressers, cafes and chip shops put up the closed signs.

In Durham, Woofs and Cuts dog groomers shut because it was ‘unsafe for any dogs to be in the hot conditions and for the journey to the appointment’.

At Wapping Wharf, Bristol, fashion and gift shop Frankly explained: ‘Our shop is in a metal box and it gets VERY hot in there.’ 

But the British Retail Consortium said major chains tend to have air conditioning, which protects staff and shoppers.

Meanwhile several ambulance trusts reported normal call volumes for a Monday as NHS medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis insisted ‘the overwhelming majority of NHS services are continuing to run’.

And Brian Jordan, director of 999 operations for London Ambulance Service, said the service saw a slight increase in calls for fainting and heat exposure. 

The service received 6,600 emergency calls yesterday, which was actually slightly lower than predicted.

‘We really hope that’s because the public really have been listened to the messages about how they can look after themselves and only call 999 if it’s a genuine emergency,’ Mr Jordan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.

‘People have been through a very long day yesterday and there’s been high temperatures overnight and with the even hotter temperatures today, I cannot really emphasise enough that people need to continue to do what we were asking them yesterday – to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, keep hydrated, look after more vulnerable friends, families, neighbours and use sun cream etc.’

He added: ‘As yesterday afternoon progressed we saw a slight increase in the rates of fainting and heat exposure’.

Mr Jordan said that the service expected to see a ‘build-up of illness due to the continued heat overnight and even higher temperatures coming today… it’s just about making sure that even after the peak temperatures, everyone continues to follow that advice’.

Ambulances were not waiting outside of hospitals any longer than usual on Monday, he added.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said the service has detailed plans in place for dealing with the extreme hot weather.

He added: ‘We have seen above-average call numbers since Monday afternoon. Demand on our service is very high and, even when the temperatures drop, we expect to still being seeing an impact from heat-related illnesses into the weekend.

‘We continue to ask the public to help us, as their actions can help manage rapid increases in the number of people calling for an ambulance.

‘Please continue to follow guidance during this period of hot weather and only call 999 in life-threatening emergencies.’

Flights were suspended at London Luton Airport for around two hours before engineers managed to repair what was described as a ‘surface defect’ on the runway.

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on chairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on chairs on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

Litter strewn across Bournemouth beach early this morning after sunseekers flocked to the Dorset coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

People rest on the sand on Bournemouth beach this morning ahead of another very hot day at the coast

Activity was also halted at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, with Sky News reporting that part of the runway had melted.

Heatwave could lead to devastating wildfires 

Experts are worried about the possibility of major wildfires tearing through the countryside as temperatures threaten to soar as high as 40C.

Wildlife would be ‘devastated’ by such a blaze, with one expert suggesting Britain could face conditions similar to those taking hold in southern Europe.

Lickey Hills parkland in Birmingham today after a huge fire

Lickey Hills parkland in Birmingham today after a huge fire

Patches of England were at ‘exceptional risk’ of wildfires on Monday, the Met Office said, with an alert spreading to most of the country for Tuesday.

‘I haven’t even seen the exceptional category being used in the times I’ve looked at the Wildfire Index before,’ Kathryn Brown, the Wildlife Trust’s director for climate action, said. ‘In southern Europe, we’re seeing these stories of these horrendous wildfires taking hold all over the place and these are the conditions that we’re going to be more prone to. We need to be much more aware, and the public needs to be much more aware, of the wildfire risk.’

Blazes across France, Spain, Portugal and Greece have levelled thousands of acres of land and forced the evacuation of locals and holidaymakers.

The National Trust has warned against lighting barbecues or campfires in open countryside and dropping litter such as glass bottles.

Crews at a grass fire last night in Ravenswood, Suffolk

Crews at a grass fire last night in Ravenswood, Suffolk

‘We’re on tenterhooks that someone is careless with a cigarette butt or thoughtless by lighting barbecues and us having to deal with a wildfire,’ the charity’s conservation head Ben McCarthy said. ‘They destroy the habitat they rip through and also all the animals and plants that occur there and make up those habitats. At the Marsden Moor (in West Yorkshire) fire back in 2019, when we surveyed the site after the flames had been extinguished, we saw lots of burnt-out reptiles and amphibians, burnt-out nests.’

Rainfall has been scarce recently, with less than 1mm recorded in the north east and north west between July 6 and 12, with none across the rest of England.

A fire service photo of a grass fire in Rixton, Warrington, today

A fire service photo of a grass fire in Rixton, Warrington, today

Along with making wildfires more likely, the RSPB is worried about the harm to bird populations over the next couple of days. ‘The birds that we see in our own gardens will really struggle because we’ve lost many natural sources of water over the past century,’ the charity’s Anna Feeney said. ‘A lot of ponds and wetlands have been drained for various reasons on farmland or just out on the wider landscape.’

She urged homeowners to put out basins of water so birds can drink and clean themselves.

Fish are also at risk, the Environment Agency said, with the heat triggering deadly algal blooms which reduce oxygen levels in streams and ponds. Anyone who finds distressed fish should avoid moving them and report them to an incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

It is understood RAF Brize Norton will remain closed today. An inspection and assessment is due to be carried out later and again tomorrow morning.

It was announced yesterday that flying activity was halted at the RAF base in Oxfordshire ‘during this period of extreme temperature’ and that aircraft would be using alternative airfields.

There are also warnings of wildfires, with people warned not to use barbecues or leave litter that could spark fires in the countryside. 

A dramatic aerial photographs showed a huge area of farmland near Chesterfield in Derbyshire left charred and blackened by a fierce blaze.

Zoos and wildlife parks closed to protect animals, staff and visitors.

And Royal Mail warned there could be disruption to post deliveries, saying in a statement: ‘In areas where tem-peratures rise to potentially dangerous levels during the day, our staff have been advised to return to the office with any mail they have been unable to deliver and not put themselves under any risk of falling ill due to the extreme heat. The safety of our staff is paramount during this time.’

Water companies also said they were experiencing ‘unprecedented peak demand’, with people encouraged to ‘carefully consider’ their water usage and urged not to waste it.

Met Office chief executive Professor Penelope Endersby said a summer drought was a real threat after the first half of 2022 was drier than average.

Thames Water’s demand reduction manager, Andrew Tucker, admitted the firm was getting through water sup-plies ‘faster than we would like’.

While no restrictions are currently planned, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the situation ‘may change’ if the weather remains dry.

Meanwhile it has emerged some Severn Trent staff were been attacked with stones while trying to fix water hydrants in Coventry over the weekend following reports of issues with local water supply.

It came after people were tampering with hydrants so they could play in the water – and when a team arrived to resolve the problem, some disgruntled residents were said to have thrown stones at them. One of the stones bounced off a Severn Trent van and broke the window of another vehicle, reported Coventry Live.

Elsewhere, council gritters were on stand-by to spread light dustings of sand on melting roads.

The RAC anticipated that the number of vehicle breakdowns on Monday and Tuesday could be up to a fifth higher than normal.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a high pollution alert in place in the eastern parts of England and the East Midlands, meaning EU ozone pollution thresholds have been exceeded.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden recorded its peak temperature for yesterday as 38C (100.4F), lower than the current UK heat record of 38.7C (101.7F) that was set there in 2019. The attraction said that the high was reached at 3.38pm yesterday.

Speaking before readings for the previous 24-hour period were taken, at 10am today, the attraction’s director Professor Beverley Glover said she had hoped the record would not be broken.

‘Recording these high UK temperatures services is a serious reminder that we all need to be taking climate change and its impacts seriously,’ she said. Peak temperatures for today will be confirmed at 10am tomorrow.

It comes as a 14-year-old boy is missing and believed to have drowned yesterday afternoon after getting into difficulty in the Thames in Richmond, west London.

The teenager was seen entering the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton and, after a search took place, he was presumed dead, with officers calling the incident a ‘tragedy’.

Emergency services and the Government have reiterated urgent warnings about the dangers of trying to keep cool after several tragedies in waterways and reservoirs during the heatwave.

It came as the family of 13-year-old Robert Hattersley said they were ‘absolutely devastated’ after he died when he got into trouble in the River Tyne in Northumberland on Sunday.

Emergency services also confirmed the deaths of a 16-year-old boy in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, a 16-year-old boy in Bray Lake near Maidenhead, Berkshire, and a 50-year-old man in a reservoir near Leeds in similar circumstances.

Siobhan Murphy, a lifeguard supervisor in Sefton, Merseyside, said they have been ‘extremely busy’ in recent days and advised people not to swim anywhere apart from beaches where lifeguards are present.

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Trains in sidings at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, as many services are cancelled amid mass rail disruption

Early morning paddleboarders at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning paddleboarders at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

A temperature of more than 30C is recorded on the Jubilee line in London this morning as commuters travel to work

A temperature of more than 30C is recorded on the Jubilee line in London this morning as commuters travel to work

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Commuters and joggers cross London Bridge this morning amid the extreme temperatures as the heatwave continues

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The skyline of the City of London during sunrise this morning amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The skyline of the City of London during sunrise this morning amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Commuters struggle in the extreme heat this morning as they cross London Bridge on the way to work

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Speaking at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, she said: ‘We recommend that you always go to a lifeguarded beach. The lifeguards are there to keep you safe, and we recommend that you swim between the red and yellow flags.

‘It’s the safest place to swim, there are no hazards there and the lifeguards are always watching that area.’

Hazards include a fast incoming tide and cold water shock which can affect swimmers of all abilities, she said.

She added: ‘Around the UK the water is always cold, no matter how warm it is outside, like on a day like today, so we recommend that if you do fall into cold water that you float on your back like a starfish and allow that cold water shock to pass. It has been proven to save lives.’

There have been warnings of pressures on hospitals from the extreme temperatures, and concerns ambulance services would face rising numbers of calls as the heat peaks on Tuesday afternoon.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level 4 heat-health alert – described as an ’emergency’ – and the UK is under its first red extreme heat warning for a large part of England, issued by the Met Office.

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

A near-empty ice cream freezer at a Lidl store in Clevedon, Somerset, today as the UK is set for another day of hot weather

A near-empty ice cream freezer at a Lidl store in Clevedon, Somerset, today as the UK is set for another day of hot weather

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Early morning swimmers cool off at Clevedon Marine Lake in Somerset today at the start of an exceptionally hot day

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Sun scorched grass seen on what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far at Blackheath in South East London today

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they wait for a train at London Bridge station

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

The sun rises on a warm early morning over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

Commuters on the sweltering Jubilee line this morning as they commute to work on the London Underground

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

The burnt out remains of parkland in Skellow, Doncaster, this morning after a grass fire came within feet of homes

Commuters wait for the doors to close on board the sweltering Jubilee line this morning on the London Underground

Commuters wait for the doors to close on board the sweltering Jubilee line this morning on the London Underground

The sun rises behind the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today on what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises behind the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today on what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over blades of grass in London today as Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over blades of grass in London today as Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today as  Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises over the Canary Wharf skyline in East London today as  Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises from behind an apartment block in East London today amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

The sun rises from behind an apartment block in East London today amid what is set to be the hottest UK day on record

A couple shelter from the rain while they change after an early morning sea swim at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth today

A couple shelter from the rain while they change after an early morning sea swim at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth today

A couple cover the heads in the rain following an early morning sea swim at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth today

A couple cover the heads in the rain following an early morning sea swim at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth today 

The Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning for between 1pm and 9pm tomorrow across the South East of England

The Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning for between 1pm and 9pm tomorrow across the South East of England

Britons have been urged to stay inside during the hottest period of the day, between 11am and 4pm, and wear sun cream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated with water – and there are warnings about swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Parents in despair as hundreds of schools close at short notice 

By Eleanor Harding and Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail

Parents have condemned the closure of hundreds of schools as teachers admitted they ‘can’t expect much learning’ during the heatwave.

Some children were forced back into remote learning yesterday, while at schools that stayed open trips, sports days and even detentions were axed.

Heads claimed the move was needed for ‘safety’ but campaigners said it risked turning pupils into ‘snowflakes’.

A total of 171 school closures were reported in a dozen council areas yesterday, but the true scale across the country is expected to be many times higher than this figure.

Full or partial closures included 53 schools in Buckinghamshire, 17 in Cambridgeshire, 30 in Oxfordshire and 40 in Worcestershire.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, told Sky News: ‘In some of the schools it might mean closing a classroom, in some of the schools it might mean closing early. We can’t expect much learning to go on in this sort of heat.’

Last night Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons education committee, called on schools to ‘do everything possible’ to keep classrooms cool enough to prevent closures. 

He cited damage to education during pandemic closures and said that ‘if they have to shut, they should reopen two days early in the autumn term so the kids can catch up’.

Molly Kingsley, of parent group UsForThem, said: ‘There is simply no bandwidth for children to miss yet more school and, given the timing, it also means that for a third year in a row our youngsters are likely to be missing end-of-year trips and rites of passage.’

Former Government adviser Chris McGovern said: ‘This hot spell is a chance for children and schools to demonstrate resilience by learning coping strategies. Closing early because of warm weather sends a message… that it is best to seek an easy way out.’

Parents also criticised the closures online, with one angry father in Leeds complaining: ‘Everyone wetting themselves about a bit of heat. Daughter’s school closed now. How do they manage in Greece and Spain?’

The Department for Education said it had ‘not advised schools to shut’ and heads were responsible for ‘local circumstances’.

While the extreme heat will continue today, a band of rain will bring an end to the sweltering conditions tomorrow.

But Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said: ‘I’ve been a qualified meteorologist for ten years, and telling people about 41C in the UK doesn’t seem real.’

In Scotland, Holyrood minister Keith Brown urged people ‘to think about whether they need to travel and, if they do, make sure they’re properly equipped and plan their journey in advance’.

The rising temperatures have brought disruption to parts of Scotland’s transport system, with overhead wires tripping and resetting due to the heat between Glasgow Queen Street Low Level and Hyndland.

Mr Brown, Justice Secretary and lead minister for resilience at Holyrood, said the Scottish Government is ‘receiving regular updates from partners including Transport Scotland, the Met Office, the NHS and emergency services and we’ll continue to closely monitor developments’.

‘When temperatures increase, it’s important to monitor forecasts and follow public health advice, including staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding excess alcohol,’ he said.

‘People should also look out for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, as older people, those with underlying conditions and those living alone may struggle to keep cool and hydrated.’

Scottish Water has asked people to be as efficient with their water as possible, and urged them to use watering cans rather than hoses in gardens, not to fill up paddling pools and to take shorter showers.

The request came after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued a water scarcity warning on Sunday.

It said in the east of Scotland, areas such as the Dee, Firth of Forth, Almond and Tyne catchment areas have been raised to moderate scarcity, which means businesses that extract water from the areas should do so only ‘if absolutely necessary’.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has warned that the wildfire risk in southern and eastern parts of Scotland has risen to ‘very high’.

It said that, in prolonged periods of high temperatures, the risk of wildfires breaking out increases.

SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson said: ‘At this time of year, the ground vegetation is a combination of green growth, with a relatively high moisture content, and dead vegetation lying on top, which can easily ignite and spread quickly over a large area.’

He added: ‘During the next few days, I would urge the public to avoid lighting fires outdoors but, if you must, check for restrictions or permissions required by the landowner and make sure you use a fire safe pit or container that can be properly extinguished before you leave.

‘We need people to be aware of how quickly things can get out of hand – the smallest outdoor ignition can spread rapidly and burn for days. Therefore, we are asking people to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk