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UK declares national emergency across the country

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Temperatures are on the rise across UK since Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Due to such extreme weather conditions, the Met Office has declared “national emergency”.

It is the same heatwave which is sweeping across Europe at the moment. Also, wildfires are engulfing forests in Portugal, Spain and France as reports say.

What is National Emergency?

A UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) spokesperson said if the weather condition worsens, and even the fit and healthy individuals may fall ill and even die, a “level 4” national emergency will be declared.

He also said if the temperature records above 40C, it will be an unprecedented phenomenon. This is because the integrity of the health and social care system will receive a threat

The prime minister’s spokesman said, earlier this week, that there were “tried and tested” plans in place to increase NHS staffing in various areas. Also, there has already been some government co-ordination to put mitigations and actions in place.

He emphasised that this is mainly about making the public aware of the advice that is available.

How will National Emergency affect the UK services?

This means services across the UK will deviate from normal routine. If conditions are too severe, schools will be shut down.

Water companies may implement water-saving measures, introduce hosepipe restrictions or limit water supply round the clock.

Transport may be impacted, road surfaces may melt due to the sun and rail tracks could warp. Network Rail has already put speed restrictions in place to reduce the warping of tracks, and is monitoring temperatures.

The London Underground Network would deploy hot weather noticed and bottle water supply if temperatures remain above 24C for three days in a row.

Vulnerable groups have already been urged to take care, although the health care system may have to adapt to dealing with an influx with patients.

Health providers have already released alerts on how to keep cool, with some health commissioners assessing public events and trying to reduce necessary travel.

Visits or phone calls would be put in place to check up on high-risk people, and care homes and hospitals would start monitoring indoor temperatures.

It’s not entirely clear how the government would deal with other potential issues, such as power outages, caused by more people turning to power air conditioning and fans.

High temperatures may even affect the cooling systems in power stations and decrease their efficiency.

It may also affect the environment with accelerated growth of blue-green algae, affect fish and swimmers and higher concentrations of ozone levels.

Wildfires are more of a risk as seen across Europe and even crops may be damaged by the heat. It’s also unclear what would happen to local services, like bin collections.

Met Office’s red extreme heat warning

In another first for the UK, the Met Office has just released a red warning for extreme heat across parts of England, in line with the UKHSA. This is its highest alert level and means there is a risk to life.

It is across East Midlands, East of England, London and South East England, North West England, South West England, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber for both Monday and Tuesday.

The weather forecasters predict that temperatures will reach 35C although other computer models claim it will be higher at 40C by Tuesday.

This is a temperature which has never been reached before in Britain.

According to the Met Office, hot weather stems from high pressure over the UK and the hot air entering from southern Europe.

The highest level of warning means there could be serious impacts on people and infrastructure – and it’s not limited to those vulnerable to extreme heat. It could lead to serious illness or be a danger to life.

Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines will be expected, to help people get through the heat.

The Met Office also predicts there will be an increase in the number of people visiting coastal areas, lakes and rivers means there are likely to be more water safety incidents.

Could records be broken?

The highest recorded temperature in the UK was 38.7C in Cambridge in 2019.

According to a weather presenter of a reputed news channel, Matt Taylor, there is an “increasing likelihood” the UK record high would be broken in the coming days.

Referring to the staggering weather coming up, he said that the climate across the UK is exceptionally hot.

At night, the temperature may still not drop below 25C although it will start to cool down from Wednesday. Anything over 20C at night is classed as a “tropical night”.

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