Health warnings have been issued following forecasts of hot weather for the coming days and nights in the United Kingdom.
Temperatures in the upper 20°Cs have been forecast in England until Friday, with London potentially reaching 39°C on Monday and Tuesday, and other areas possibly climbing to 40°C, officials at the Met Office have reported.
This exceeds the previous hottest day on record, which was in July 2019 when the mercury hit 38.7°C at Cambridge Botanic Garden.
"This is the first time we have issued a Red National Severe Weather Warning for extreme heat and the first time 40°C has been forecast in the UK. In this country, we're used to treating a hot spell as a chance to go and play in the sun. This is not that sort of weather," said Professor Penny Endersby, chief executive at the Met Office. "We have seen when climate change has driven such unprecedented severe weather events around the world that it can be difficult for us to make the best decisions because nothing in our life experiences has led us to know what to expect."
Accordingly, Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), has urged people across the U.K. to consider ways of keeping cool, particularly at night.
"Temperatures in England next week are likely to reach record levels, and it's important we all know how to stay well in hot weather. Check up on vulnerable friends, family and neighbours to make sure they stay hydrated, keep cool and know how to keep their homes cool," he advised.
For some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks.
Top tips for staying safe in hot weather include staying cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding excess alcohol, never leaving anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals, and trying to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest.