As the heat in London ticked into the mid-80s on Monday afternoon (in Fahrenheit, that is) and Northern Ireland recorded its highest temperature on record, the Met Office — as the national weather service for the United Kingdom is called — issued its first-ever extreme heat warning, covering “a large part of Wales, all of southwest England and parts of southern and central England.”
The warning will be in place until Thursday, as unusually warm weather, possibly into the low 90s, is forecast in the Western regions of England. Temperatures will not dip much at night, the Met Office said, giving rise to concerns about health problems and other heat effects.
England had been experiencing a rainy and cool start to summer, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, though that hasn’t stopped extreme weather events. Last week, parts of London experienced flash flooding.
Hot weather moved into parts of the British Isles on Sunday, with Ballywatticock in Northern Ireland reaching 31.2 Celsius, or 88 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking a national record set in 1976 and again in 1983.
The Met Office’s heat warning system is new, announced in June — another indicator of the growing impact of global warming, even in parts of the world famed for gloomy weather.
“Although hot weather can often be seen as ‘good news’ and is enjoyed by many, it can have serious consequences,” the Met Office said at the time. “Research shows that, as a result of climate change, we are now much more likely to see prolonged spells of hot weather here in the U.K.”