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Wednesday, 28 September 2022
UK Met Office issues amber warning as heatwave returns and millions more face hosepipe ban
UK Met Office: The UK experiences occasional heatwaves but of a lesser frequency and intensity of those seen elsewhere globally - Photo. Pixabay

The UK Met Office has issued a four-day amber warning for extreme heat in parts of England and Wales for Thursday (August 11) to Sunday (August 14), with temperatures set to climb to 35C or even 36C in some places.

In the latest heatwave, Britain is preparing for days of extreme temperatures, as millions more people face a hosepipe ban in the coming weeks.

The UK Health Security Agency has extended its level three heat health alert covering southern and central England from noon on Tuesday until 11pm on Sunday.

Experts advised people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The vulnerable are likely to experience adverse health effects and the wider population could also be affected, delays to travel are possible and there is an increased risk of water accidents and fires as more people head to tourist spots.

Heatwaves often have complex effects on human economies, due to less productivity of workers, disruption of agricultural and industrial processes and damage to infrastructure not adapted for extreme heat - Photo. Pixabay

Temperatures are not set to be as extreme as those in July which smashed records when the thermometer climbed to above 40C in some areas in the UK for the first time.

It comes as 10 fire engines and about 70 firefighters have been called to a grass fire between Junction 26 and Junction 25 on the M25 in Enfield, north London.

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Climate change is making heatwaves more intense, frequent and likely, with last month's record temperatures made at least 10 times more likely because of global warming and "virtually impossible" without it, research shows.

Scientists also warn the likelihood of droughts occurring is becoming higher due to climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

The dry conditions, combined with last month's record-breaking heatwave, have depleted rivers, reservoirs and aquifers and dried up soils, hitting agriculture, water supplies and wildlife and raising the risk of wildfires.

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The latest analysis from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) warns river flows are set to remain exceptionally low in central, southern and eastern England until October.

Groundwater levels in southern England and South Wales will be below normal and exceptionally low in some areas for the next three months, the assessment said.

Several inches of extra rain, in addition to what would normally be expected, is needed to overcome the dry conditions in parts of southern England.

There was no immediate sign of rain in the latest forecast from the Met Office.

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Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Dan Rudman said: "With high pressure dominant this week, any showers this week will be contained to the far northwest, and even here they will be short-lived in nature.

"Further south, which has seen little rain for some time now, it will continue dry through the week providing no relief for parched land, especially in the southeast."

Temperatures are likely to rise into the low to mid-30s in the next few days in the area covered by the Met Office amber warning.

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Outside the warning area, heatwave thresholds - which are met at different temperatures in different parts of the country - are still likely to be met for much of the UK, with temperatures widely into the high 20s and a chance of a few spots seeing temperatures into the low 30s.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will also see temperatures into the high 20s and could reach official heatwave criteria by Friday.

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As high temperatures combine with the lack of rain to leave the countryside, parks and gardens tinder-dry, households in some areas are being urged not to fires or have barbecues, and there are calls on retailers to halt the sale of disposable barbecues.

The Met Office's fire severity index, an assessment of how severe a fire could become if one were to start, is very high for most of England and Wales, and will reach "exceptional" for a swathe of England by the weekend.