- The UK Met Office said a temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius has been tentatively recorded, crushing a previous high of 38.7 degrees Celsius in 2019.
- The office also issued the UK’s first-ever red warning for exceptional heat this week.
- Meanwhile, the heatwave across much of Europe has caused raging wildfires and at least 748 heat-related deaths in Spain and Portugal.
The UK broke its highest ever temperature record on Tuesday as a scorching heat wave scorched much of mainland Europe, leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths and massive wildfires .
The Meteorological Office, the meteorological office of the United Kingdom, announced a temperature of 40.2 Celsius (104.4 Fahrenheit) was tentatively recorded in London on Tuesday. A temperature of 39.1 C (102.4F) was tentatively recorded earlier today in the English village of Charlwood in Surrey.
“Well, I didn’t expect to see this in my career, but the UK just went above 40 degrees Celsius,” Met Office chief scientist Stephen Belcher said in a video on Twitter.
The previous record temperature recorded in the UK was 38.7 C (101.7 F) in 2019, according to the Met Office.
Tuesday’s highs will be “unprecedented”, Met Office forecaster Rachel Ayers said, adding temperatures would hit 104 or 105.8 F in parts of England in the afternoon.
PREVIOUS REPORTS:Hundreds dead as extreme heat wave ravages Europe; UK could break a record
UK issues first red warning
The Met Office issued the UK’s first-ever red warning for exceptional heat this week. At this level of warning, disease can occur even among the “fit and healthy,” not just among high-risk groups.
The warning covers parts of central, northern, eastern and south-eastern England on Monday and Tuesday, the office said.
A lesser Amber extreme heat warning is also in place for much of England, Wales and southern Scotland until Tuesday. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could also see temperature records broken, the Met Office said.
Temperatures are expected to drop to more typical levels for this time of year by the middle of next week, according to the Met Office.
HEAT GUIDE:Heat index from a heat dome to an excessive heat warning
Britain’s Supreme Court closes
As the UK sweltered during the heat wave, the UK Supreme Court closed and hearings went online due to an air conditioning problem. The British Museum was also planning to close earlier.
In a country known for its rains and mild temperatures, many public buildings are not air-conditioned. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain’s transport infrastructure “simply wasn’t designed to withstand this kind of weather – and it will be many years before we can replace the infrastructure with the type of infrastructure that could”.
Heatwave kills elsewhere in Europe
Meanwhile, hot, dry weather has also scorched large swaths of Europe since last week. Forest fires have been reported from Portugal to the Balkans. At least 748 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal, where temperatures hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this month.
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Is climate change to blame?
UK scientists say extreme weather events, including heat waves, are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity due to climate change.
Nikos Christidis, climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, said recent studies have shown the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has increased and will continue to increase with the most extreme temperatures hitting the south-east of the UK. ‘England. The chances of seeing 104 degree days in the UK could be up to 10 times more likely in the current climate compared to a natural climate unaffected by human influence, it said in a statement from the Met Office.
Met Office chief scientist Belcher said climate change had made temperatures like this possible.
“To me, this is a real reminder that the climate has changed and will continue to change,” he said in a video on Twitter.
Contributor: Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; The Associated Press