Posted BY: Daily Mail

Britain was today put on a ‘national emergency’ footing by health officials after forecasters confirmed the country is set to endure its hottest day on record next week with unprecedented 41C (106F) highs on Monday and Tuesday.

The UK Health Security Agency issued a Level Four heat-health alert today covering the whole of England for both days, which warns: ‘Illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.’

Health officials urged Britons to ‘look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions’ – while the Met Office issued its first-ever ‘red’ extreme heat warning today.

Meteorologists said there is now an 80 per cent chance of breaking the all-time UK record of 38.7C (101.6F) set in Cambridge on July 15, 2019 – a probability that is up from 60 per cent earlier today, and 30 per cent on Monday.

Parts of London are now set to hit 41C (106F) both next Monday and Tuesday, according to BBC Weather – and either would break the record, which itself overtook a previous high of 38.5C (101.3F) in Kent on August 10, 2003. 

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Forecasters had already this week issued an ‘amber’ heat warning – for only the third time ever – from Sunday to Tuesday for most of England and Wales. But today this was extended to all of England and Wales and southern Scotland – and upgraded to an unprecedented ‘red’ for parts of central and southern England, including London.

It comes as schools are preparing to send pupils home early, scrapping PE lessons and banning children from playing outside in a series of measures being considered as the country braces for the record-breaking heat. 

Confirming the new alert this morning, Met Office meteorologist Grahame Madge said: ‘We’ve just issued a red warning for extreme heat for Monday and Tuesday which is the first such warning ever issued. The warning covers an area from London up to Manchester and then up to the Vale of York. This is potentially a very serious situation.’

And England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty said: ‘The Met Office has issued an extreme heat warning for next week. Please remember the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke especially for older and medically vulnerable people. Early intervention to cool people down and rehydrate them can be lifesaving.’ 

The Met Office said the hot weather is being caused by high pressure over the UK, with a southerly air flow from the continent developing over the weekend to allow very high temperatures to start spreading northwards. The warmth is coming up from Spain and Portugal which have also had a record heatwave with 47C (117F) highs.

The red alert issued this morning warns of ‘an exceptional hot spell on Monday and Tuesday leading to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure’, adding that ‘population-wide adverse health effects’ will be ‘not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to serious illness or danger to life’. The warning also says ‘government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice’ and ‘substantial changes in working practices and daily routines will be required’.

There will also be a ‘high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, potentially leading to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services’. The alert adds: ‘Significantly more people visiting coastal areas, lakes and rivers, leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents.’

Bookmaker Ladbrokes is now making it odds on at 1/2 that the UK’s hottest day on record will come next week. The Met Office has also warned of travel chaos, saying: ‘Delays on roads and road closures, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays.’

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