'Extreme heat' warning begins in UK even as France battles 'devastating wildfire'
The ‘amber’ heatwave warning follows Britain's first-ever red "extreme heat" warning in July, following months of minimal rainfall.
A four-day "extreme heat" warning came into force across England, Wales, and parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland on Thursday as temperatures are expected to breach 35 degree Celsius. The heatwave is likely to affect water supplies and transport services, the weather office said.
The Met office sounded its ‘amber’ warning, the second-highest alert after red, and cautioned people vulnerable to the extreme heat of "sunny and hot or very hot" weather that could lead to adverse health effects. The amber warning follows Britain's first-ever red "extreme heat" warning in July, following months of minimal rainfall.
Here are the developments so far:
- Photos of a parched River Thames were shared online amid the scorching heat over the past few days. Fears are that an official drought will soon be declared. "It's completely dried up," said an IT worker from northern England, who was on holiday in the area and planned to walk the Thames Path with his wife.
- Even England's famously lush countryside went from shades of green to yellow. "It was like walking across the savannah in Africa because it's so arid and so dry," a 60-year-old retiree told news agency AFP.
- England's heatwave warning comes amid a devastating wildfire in southern France. More than 1,000 firefighters and a water-bombing aircraft battled a "monster" wildfire near the wine-growing heartland of Bordeaux for a third day, with no relief from the blistering temperatures, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes.
- The fires have reportedly destroyed more than a dozen properties and scorched more than 6,800 hectares of forest. "It's a disaster, economically, ecologically, it's awful," Jean-Louis Dartiailh, the mayor of Hostens, a small town close to the fire, told Radio Classique, as quoted by Reuters. "The area is totally disfigured. We're heartbroken, we're exhausted."
- Other European nations have also faced a scorching heatwave in recent weeks with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees.
- Britain suffered the driest July since 1935 – forcing authorities to declare the first-ever red warning when temperatures rose above 40 degrees for the first time, bringing the spotlight back on climate change.
- During July's heatwave, Britain faced power outages, damage to airport runways and rail tracks and dozens of blazes in London, where the fire brigade faced its busiest week since World War II.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP)