One swimmer dies and three are missing as desperate Brits battle to beat the heat

The UK has been battered by a series of thunderstorms and lightening which swept the country overnight as many continued to struggle with the heat. 

The Met Office has now also put a yellow warning in place for the whole of the UK, as thunderstorms move north, with the potential to cause power cuts and travel delays.

Storms overnight could be dry, this is when the rain evaporates on the way down, increasing the risk of thunder and lightning.

Much of the south of the country has already seen lightning in places such as Bournemouth, Salisbury and Plymouth and the north has seen it on a smaller scale in Cumbria and Lancaster.

Temperatures are set to continue to climb for the rest of the week and daytime temperatures are likely to hit 99F (37C) by Thursday – and could beat the record for July of 98.1F (36.7C) set in 2015 as boiling air originating from Africa will sweep over Spain and France and across Britain. 

Tragedy also struck the country as one swimmer was found dead and another three are missing after thousands of Brits took to the water today to cool down after temperatures reached 93F in parts of the UK.

Various beams of lightening were seen striking down on Plymouth overnight as the Met Office puts in place a yellow weather warning

Various beams of lightening were seen striking down on Plymouth overnight as the Met Office puts in place a yellow weather warning

Various beams of lightening were seen striking down on Plymouth overnight as the Met Office puts in place a yellow weather warning 

Today is set to be another scorcher for most of the UK, with Thursday looking to be the hottest day of the week so far, with relief being felt on Friday

Today is set to be another scorcher for most of the UK, with Thursday looking to be the hottest day of the week so far, with relief being felt on Friday

Today is set to be another scorcher for most of the UK, with Thursday looking to be the hottest day of the week so far, with relief being felt on Friday

Shadwell Basin

Shadwell Basin

The Met Office has put out a yellow weather warning for much of the UK, which could be hit by thunderstorms

The Met Office has put out a yellow weather warning for much of the UK, which could be hit by thunderstorms

The Met Office has put out a yellow weather warning (right) for much of the UK, which could be hit by thunderstorms. Rescue officials were called the Shadwell Basin in London yesterday (left) after reports of a man jumping into the water 

The sky was illuminated in a light purple colour this evening as social media users took to Twitter to share their storm videos and pictures

The sky was illuminated in a light purple colour this evening as social media users took to Twitter to share their storm videos and pictures

The sky was illuminated in a light purple colour this evening as social media users took to Twitter to share their storm videos and pictures 

A body was pulled from a water park in Gloucester and the man was pronounced dead on the scene, while in east London, a man is still missing after jumping into Shadwell Basin. 

Police in London are also searching a stretch of water near Waterloo Bridge, while another is also missing from the Kingston upon Thames area.  

On Tuesday afternoon emergency services were called to Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, at around 1.40pm following reports a swimmer had gone missing.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were at the site, with a National Police Air Service helicopter scrambled to help search for the swimmer. 

Gloucestershire Police said the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed, the force added.

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police said: ‘A body has been recovered in connection with the search for a swimmer who had gone missing in the lake at Cotswold Water Park this afternoon.

Lightning battered much of the UK last night and is pictured above in Chichester. Many people across the UK have been struggling to cope with the hot weather

Lightning battered much of the UK last night and is pictured above in Chichester. Many people across the UK have been struggling to cope with the hot weather

Lightning battered much of the UK last night and is pictured above in Chichester. Many people across the UK have been struggling to cope with the hot weather 

In Dorset, lightning lit up most of the sky over night as it reigned down on the area. Flashes of lightning were seen across the country overnight

In Dorset, lightning lit up most of the sky over night as it reigned down on the area. Flashes of lightning were seen across the country overnight

In Dorset, lightning lit up most of the sky over night as it reigned down on the area. Flashes of lightning were seen across the country overnight 

In Poole the sky was turned a lilac colour after lightning strikes were seen coming down on the area, illuminating trees

In Poole the sky was turned a lilac colour after lightning strikes were seen coming down on the area, illuminating trees

In Poole the sky was turned a lilac colour after lightning strikes were seen coming down on the area, illuminating trees

A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance Thursday could see the hottest July temperature ever - heat flare shown in red

A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance Thursday could see the hottest July temperature ever - heat flare shown in red

A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance Thursday could see the hottest July temperature ever – heat flare shown in red

‘Officers conducted searches along with the National Police Air Service (NPAS), Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) and fire service and the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm.

‘He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed.’

South Western Ambulance Service said resources including a hazardous area response team had been sent to the scene.

At 20:30 in London police were called to Waterloo, where a person was reported missing in the river. 

Just five minutes later, at 20:35, officers also attended at Kingston, after reports another man was seen in the river.

Yesterday a body was pulled out of the Cotswold Water Park (pictured) after a swimmer went missing during the day yesterday - as many Brits took to the water to cool down

Yesterday a body was pulled out of the Cotswold Water Park (pictured) after a swimmer went missing during the day yesterday - as many Brits took to the water to cool down

Yesterday a body was pulled out of the Cotswold Water Park (pictured) after a swimmer went missing during the day yesterday – as many Brits took to the water to cool down 

Lido life! Many people were seen enjoying the sunshine with a stunning view of the Yorkshire countryside yesterday as temperatures continued to soar

Lido life! Many people were seen enjoying the sunshine with a stunning view of the Yorkshire countryside yesterday as temperatures continued to soar

Lido life! Many people were seen enjoying the sunshine with a stunning view of the Yorkshire countryside yesterday as temperatures continued to soar

Commuters on the Central Line last night in London struggled as temperatures hotted up on the crammed tube lines

Commuters on the Central Line last night in London struggled as temperatures hotted up on the crammed tube lines

Commuters on the Central Line last night in London struggled as temperatures hotted up on the crammed tube lines

The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) - and it will be even hotter on the continent

The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) - and it will be even hotter on the continent

The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) – and it will be even hotter on the continent

Today's weather

Today's weather

Thursday's weather

Thursday's weather

This week will bring plenty of sunshine to most parts of Britain, although there will be some cloud in the far north of Scotland

Tomorrow's temperatures

Tomorrow's temperatures

Thursday's temperatures

Thursday's temperatures

Temperatures will soar across Britain this week, with a possibility of 99F (37C) in the South East by Thursday (right)

This is while an urgent search is underway in east London, after a swimmer jumped into Shadwell Basin.

Police were called at around 6.06PM on Tuesday after reports came in of a man entering the water.

Officers and the marine policing unit attended, along with other emergency service personnel, and are searching the area. They remain on scene.

A spokesperson from the Met Police said: ‘The man, believed to be aged 22, was swimming with friends and has not resurfaced.’    

Forecasters issued a thunderstorm warning for most of Britain apart from the South East, which ran from 6pm Tuesday and will continue until 9am, amid fears of scattered storms which could bring flooding and power cuts. 

In Manchester, bubbles appeared in the Tarmac – and, as the heat intensifies, Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to cover windows to keep rooms cool.

People were keen to enjoy the great outdoors yesterday and this group of women spent the day at a wild swimming Lido in South East London

People were keen to enjoy the great outdoors yesterday and this group of women spent the day at a wild swimming Lido in South East London

People were keen to enjoy the great outdoors yesterday and this group of women spent the day at a wild swimming Lido in South East London 

Others preferred to catch the sea air and were seen putting up their parasols on Brighton beach as well as taking a dip in the water yesterday

Others preferred to catch the sea air and were seen putting up their parasols on Brighton beach as well as taking a dip in the water yesterday

Others preferred to catch the sea air and were seen putting up their parasols on Brighton beach as well as taking a dip in the water yesterday

Continued temperatures of up to 93F (34C) are forecast today, followed by heavy overnight thunderstorms in many areas before the heatwave reaches its peak and starts to break on Thursday night into Friday. 

A cold front will then push eastwards bringing rainfall and thunderstorms. As fresher air moves in, Friday’s highest temperatures will be much cooler than Thursday with 81F (27C) expected in London and 73F (23C) in Manchester.

Three swimmers missing in London as Brits head to the water to cool off 

An urgent search is under way for a swimmer who jumped into an east London dock.

A spokesperson from the Met Police said: ‘The man, believed to be aged 22, was swimming with friends and has not resurfaced.’

Police were called on Tuesday at 6.06pm to Garnet Street, Shadwell Basin, to a report of a man seen entering the water.

Officers and the marine policing unit attended, along with other emergency service personnel, and are searching the area. They remain on scene. 

This is while police were also searching an area near Waterloo Bridge.

At 20.30, officers were called to the area after a person was reported missing in the river.

Just five minutes later officers were also called to an area in Kingston upon Thames after another man was seen in the river. 

 

Those commuting on Tuesday night struggled to cope with the heat, with one saying it was ‘worse than Mexico’. Temperatures on the tube to more than 34 degrees leaving commuters and tourists frantically fanning themselves.

The temperature on the Central Line yesterday was 34.2 degrees, 4.2 degrees more than the legal limit for transporting cattle.

EU law states that cattle cannot be transported in temperatures past 30 degree, but there are currently no laws in place to prevent human beings being transported at such temperatures.

Guidance from Transport for London recommends that the maximum level for overcrowding is ‘three people per square metre of standing space’, but also states that this can vary. 

In these circumstances it would mean that cows are actually transported in better conditions, and have to be given at least 0.95m2 each, and as much as 1.60m2 for larger cows. 

One tube user, Kelly Cloughton, from Essex, yesterday said: ‘It’s awful to be honest, because there’s people having to stand, it’s overcrowded on the train, so everyone is in close proximity.

‘People smell, their hygiene isn’t great. We don’t get any refreshments or anything and they definitely need to put aircon on it, especially on the Central Line. It’s just really warm and not great to be on’.   

This is while the rest of Europe has also been sweltering. France yesterday had to shut down a nuclear power station in case it overheated. With forecasters predicting new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 104F (40C) for the first time on Thursday. 

Europeans however, are used to hotter temperatures, and one commuter, Miguel Almeidu, 20, who is from Italy but is now living in Stockwell said people know it’s summer and that it’s going to be hot.

‘There’s no air conditioning but that’s okay, you know it’s London isn’t it, it’s a crappy tube. It was built hundreds of years ago. 

Commuters in London

Commuters in London

Commuters in London

Commuters in London

Commuters in London held their head in their hands (right) as they braved the tubes last night  (people standing, left)

The temperature on the Central Line platform at Oxford Circus station was recorded to be 34C on Tuesday evening - a temperature too high for the transportation of cattle

The temperature on the Central Line platform at Oxford Circus station was recorded to be 34C on Tuesday evening - a temperature too high for the transportation of cattle

The temperature on the Central Line platform at Oxford Circus station was recorded to be 34C on Tuesday evening – a temperature too high for the transportation of cattle

Magali Dias (pictured above(, 28, from Mexico City, Mexico said: 'It's not just the heat, it's the people too. It's completely overwhelming. It's worse than Mexico'

Magali Dias (pictured above(, 28, from Mexico City, Mexico said: 'It's not just the heat, it's the people too. It's completely overwhelming. It's worse than Mexico'

Magali Dias (pictured above(, 28, from Mexico City, Mexico said: ‘It’s not just the heat, it’s the people too. It’s completely overwhelming. It’s worse than Mexico’

Perfect for a picnic! People in Bath took the opportunity to explore the great outdoors and were pictured with their deck chairs yesterday

Perfect for a picnic! People in Bath took the opportunity to explore the great outdoors and were pictured with their deck chairs yesterday

Perfect for a picnic! People in Bath took the opportunity to explore the great outdoors and were pictured with their deck chairs yesterday

Finley Unsworth, 21, from Liverpool, soaks up the rays and enjoys the warm weather at Formby beach in Merseyside today

Finley Unsworth, 21, from Liverpool, soaks up the rays and enjoys the warm weather at Formby beach in Merseyside today

Yasmin Amindari has an ice cream cone at Ilkley outdoor pool and lido in West Yorkshire this afternoon

Yasmin Amindari has an ice cream cone at Ilkley outdoor pool and lido in West Yorkshire this afternoon

Yasmin Amindari has an ice cream cone at Ilkley outdoor pool and lido in West Yorkshire yesterday (right) while Finley Unsworth (left) enjoyed the sun at Formby beach in Merseyside

Families also made the most of the scorching day - making sure the children were out and about at the newest wild swimming lido at Beckenham Place in South East London yesterday

Families also made the most of the scorching day - making sure the children were out and about at the newest wild swimming lido at Beckenham Place in South East London yesterday

Families also made the most of the scorching day – making sure the children were out and about at the newest wild swimming lido at Beckenham Place in South East London yesterday

Sun worshippers enjoyed the UK heatwave on the beach at Cullercoats, North Tyneside, where temperatures soared yesterday

Sun worshippers enjoyed the UK heatwave on the beach at Cullercoats, North Tyneside, where temperatures soared yesterday

Sun worshippers enjoyed the UK heatwave on the beach at Cullercoats, North Tyneside, where temperatures soared yesterday

‘I’m not expecting air conditioning on anything so old.’ This is while another European, Amris, 57, orignally from France but living in London said it was just about bearable catching the tube.

Body found in Gloucestershire after reports of a swimmer going missing 

A body has been found at a water park after reports that a swimmer had disappeared in a lake.

Emergency services were called to Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, at around 1.40pm on Tuesday following reports a swimmer had gone missing.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were at the site, with a National Police Air Service helicopter scrambled to help search for the swimmer.

Gloucestershire Police said the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed, the force added.

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police said: ‘A body has been recovered in connection with the search for a swimmer who had gone missing in the lake at Cotswold Water Park this afternoon.

‘Officers conducted searches along with the National Police Air Service (NPAS), Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) and fire service and the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm.

‘He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed.’

South Western Ambulance Service said resources including a hazardous area response team had been sent to the scene.

‘But getting off feels really nice. The tube is okay and I think they’re doing a good job. Very adequate I cannot complain. I think it’s okay as long as it’s not too crowded.’ 

Despite the heat, those from outside of the UK and Europe joked that they wanted it to be hotter. 

Security worker Paulet Burry, aged around 60 said: ‘I come from Jamaica where it’s much hotter than this.’

Mitzi Zeigner, 46, a human development professor at Texas Tech University, said: ‘We are really not used to these temperatures back home.

‘I spent £1 on a fan today, I think it was the best pound I have ever spent.’

Mitzi’s student Madeline Wyatt, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, added: ‘Back home we drive everywhere and have air conditioning on all the time.

‘I’m not used to this heat at all. It’s been so cloudy and cool until now. I don’t know what happened.

‘The only time I ever walk back home is between lectures on my campus, the rest of the time I am in somewhere with air conditioning.’

At Baker Street on the Bakerloo line temperatures hit 33.9 degrees yesterday.

MBA student Magali Dias, 28, from Mexico City, Mexico said: ‘It’s not just the heat, it’s the people too. It’s completely overwhelming. It’s worse than Mexico.’

But Alonso Lopez, 30, an MBA student also from Mexico’s capital, added: ‘I much prefer this to the cold. It reminds me of home.’

Maria Petreski, 26, a marketing specialist from Serbia, said: ‘They should do something to make the trains more comfortable in the heat on the Bakerloo line.

‘I’m seriously considering changing my commute onto the Hammersmith line where it’s much more spacious.

‘That makes it much cooler.’

Meanwhile, a dog welfare charity advised owners to not leave pets alone in a hot car seat even for a few minutes, and others said heatwaves should be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers. 

A group of children go for a splash as they enjoy the warm weather on the beach at Cullercoats in North Tyneside yesterday

A group of children go for a splash as they enjoy the warm weather on the beach at Cullercoats in North Tyneside yesterday

A group of children go for a splash as they enjoy the warm weather on the beach at Cullercoats in North Tyneside yesterday

Advice from health officials includes ‘drinking plenty of fluids’, avoiding excess alcohol and wearing ‘loose, cool clothing’. PHE also called on the public to ‘check up on’ vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours.

Shortage of Britain’s favourite plum after a year of unusual weather

Britain’s favourite plum is set to be in rare supply this summer after a year of unusual weather damaged crops.

The small and sweet Victoria plum is the most common plum variety grown and eaten in Britain, but farmers are suffering a shortage due to strange weather patterns.

Experts say late frosts at the beginning of the year followed by a prolonged dry spell, then heavy rain and torrential hail, have stunted crops of Victoria plums.

Angela Tidmarsh, organiser of the UK Plum Festival held annually in Pershore, Worcestershire, said: ‘We noticed how few plum trees were flowering when we ran our popular blossom trail coach tours earlier this year.’

Despite a shortage of Victorias, organisers of the festival are expecting a good crop of Czar plums, but fewer Yellow Egg plums and Pershore Purples. 

Plums are one of the most weather-dependent fruits grown in Britain. Victoria plums had a bumper harvest last year thanks to good weather.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: ‘It’s really important to take simple precautions like drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and remembering to take allergy medication if you need it – as is making sure to check in on neighbours and loved ones who can suffer the most from heat and pollen.’

People with minor illnesses are urged to check the NHS website or call 111 for help. High levels of pollen and ultraviolet light – increasing the risk of sunburn – are expected particularly in the south and east until Thursday. Pollution levels in southern areas are also expected to rise to moderate.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said skies across Britain could be about to turn an eerie shade of red as Saharan dust is swept in with the hot air along with smoke from fires currently ravaging swathes of Portugal. 

He said: ‘We are expecting to get some Saharan dust coming up and there are also some wildfires across Portugal from which we could see some smoke also coming into the UK.

‘There will be a continued risk of Saharan dust through to the end of the week, so there will be some pretty sunsets.’

Defra’s pollution alert for Thursday says: ‘Air sourced from the near continent may give moderate levels of air pollution across some areas of England and Wales, and on Friday across some eastern areas of Scotland and England.’ 

The situation is set to cause problems for Britain’s 5.4 million asthma sufferers. 

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness.

‘Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.’

Breakdown companies urged motorists to check their cars to avoid unnecessary callouts, while Pets At Home warned people to check their animals and homes for fleas, as ‘hot and humid conditions create the perfect breeding ground for the parasites to thrive’.  

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: ‘The UK will experience another pulse of high temperatures this week, with the possibility of records being broken for not only July but also all-time records.

‘The weather setup is broadly similar to the pattern that brought high temperatures to much of continental Europe at the end of June.

‘As well as high temperatures during the day, overnight temperatures will also be notably warm and could also break records. Conditions will feel much more comfortable for all by the time we get to Friday.’ 

Yesterday’s top temperature in Britain was recorded in Cavendish, Suffolk, at 86.9F (30.5C). This was significantly up on the weekend high of 78.1F (25.6C) at Kew Gardens in West London.

The highest ever UK temperature is 38.5C (101.3F) recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.

Paddle board instructor Esther and Daisy the dog are watched by a seal on a scorching day yesterday in Charmouth, Dorset

Paddle board instructor Esther and Daisy the dog are watched by a seal on a scorching day yesterday in Charmouth, Dorset

Paddle board instructor Esther and Daisy the dog are watched by a seal on a scorching day yesterday in Charmouth, Dorset

A sun-drenched crowded beach at Weymouth in Dorset yesterday as families make the most of the hot weather in Britain

A sun-drenched crowded beach at Weymouth in Dorset yesterday as families make the most of the hot weather in Britain

A sun-drenched crowded beach at Weymouth in Dorset yesterday as families make the most of the hot weather in Britain

People punt past the Botanic Gardens in Oxford yesertday, as the UK is expected to edge towards its hottest ever July day

People punt past the Botanic Gardens in Oxford yesertday, as the UK is expected to edge towards its hottest ever July day

People punt past the Botanic Gardens in Oxford yesertday, as the UK is expected to edge towards its hottest ever July day

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said there is a ’60 per cent chance’ Thursday’s weather might surpass the current July record and a ’30 per cent chance’ of going over the all time UK temperature record. 

Mr Petagna has warned ‘anywhere across England could see some thundery showers’.

Asthma sufferers are warned as heatwave hits

Pollution levels in southern areas of Britain are expected to rise this week, causing problems for the country’s 5.4million asthma sufferers.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness.

‘Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.’

He added the coolest areas will be in western England, ‘the temperatures will still be in the 20s so still fairly sunny but this part of England will be the coolest out of the rest’.

Meanwhile, there were calls yesterday for heatwaves to be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers of sweltering heat.

The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change recently warned that the UK was not prepared for a future of more heatwaves, with more action needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and schools, and that even vulnerable people did not consider themselves at risk.

Last summer’s heatwaves led to 863 excess deaths, Public Health England has estimated.

Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said the Met Office should start naming heatwaves, like it has for winter storms since 2015, to help warn people about severe weather.

Mr Ward said: ‘Far more people have died from recent heatwaves than from storms, so it should be uncontroversial to start applying names to both.

‘The Government and its agencies, including the Met Office, must lead the way in communicating the growing dangers of heatwaves and other impacts of climate change, so that the British public are better informed and can protect themselves.’ 

This is while further afield in Europe, a string of countries are continuing to swelter in hot conditions.

Blistering heat in Western Europe has forced a temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race.

Call to name heatwaves like storms to convey danger of hot weather

Heatwaves should be named in the same way as winter storms to better warn people of the dangers of sweltering heat, it has been urged.

The call comes as the UK faces another bout of possible record-breaking hot weather. Western Europe is also facing record-high temperatures in the current heatwave, which scientists warn are becoming more likely and intense as a result of climate change.

But the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change recently warned that the UK was not prepared for a future of more heatwaves, with more action needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and schools, and that even vulnerable people did not consider themselves at risk. Last summer’s heatwaves led to 863 excess deaths, Public Health England has estimated.

Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said the Met Office should start naming heatwaves, like it has for winter storms since 2015, to help warn people about severe weather.

Mr Ward said: ‘Far more people have died from recent heatwaves than from storms, so it should be uncontroversial to start applying names to both.

‘The Government and its agencies, including the Met Office, must lead the way in communicating the growing dangers of heatwaves and other impacts of climate change, so that the British public are better informed and can protect themselves.’

Forecasters predicted new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 104F (40C) for the first time on Thursday. 

Only last month Europe struggled to cope with soaring temperatures across the continent, which caused wildfires in Spain, France and Germany.

French energy company EDF said it would temporarily shut down the two reactors at its Golftech nuclear power plant this week in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne department, in a bid to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool.

Reactor number two will shut down on Tuesday evening and number one on Wednesday, with both due to stay shut until July 30.

France is gearing up for a surge in electricity use this week, but the national electricity board said Monday that there will be enough supplies.

And as the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.

‘In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference,’ said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.

Authorities around Europe also issued health warnings, encouraging older or vulnerable people to be particularly vigilant.

Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic all also recorded their highest-ever June temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organisation said that 2019 is on track to be among the world’s hottest years and 2015-2019 would be the hottest five-year period on record. 

How to keep cool: Public Health England’s heat advice

England’s chief nurse has urged people to check on their neighbours as a heatwave hits parts of the UK for the start of the school summer holidays.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said people should take care as temperatures rise, while Asthma UK urged sufferers to keep up their medication. People with minor illnesses are urged to check the NHS website or call 111 for help.

She said: ‘Like lots of people I’m looking forward to having fun in the sun with family and friends this weekend, but nobody wants to spend a pleasant day stuck in a hospital or urgent treatment centre.

‘It’s really important to take simple precautions like drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and remembering to take allergy medication if you need it – as is making sure to check in on neighbours and loved ones who can suffer the most from heat and pollen.’ 

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: ‘A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma, triggering deadly asthma attacks.

‘Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness. Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.

‘If you are worried about the weather or hay fever affecting your asthma, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.

‘We’d advise you to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and plan any outdoor activities for earlier in the day when the air quality tends to be better.’

Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to stay cool as temperatures soar and has reminded them not to leave children or animals in parked cars.

Owen Landeg, principal environmental public health scientist at PHE, said: ‘Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy.

‘However, for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer.

‘If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.

‘It’s also worth remembering to think about practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat.’ 

Public Health England warns that the main risks posed by a heatwave are:

  • not having enough water (dehydration)
  • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • heat exhaustion and heatstroke

It says those most at risk are: 

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious long-term condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medicines, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports

The Met Office has raised a Level 2 heatwave alert for this week. Public Health England advises people to stay tuned to the weather forecast, check the forecast at their destination if travelling, and keep cool at home. Tips for coping include:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it’s hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it’s cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and do not go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this is not possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Water, lower fat milks and tea and coffee are good options. You can also drink fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks, but they can be high in sugar. Limit fruit juice or smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day, and choose diet or sugar-free soft drinks.

Pub puts up its CHRISTMAS TREE on the hottest week of summer so far

The five-foot artificial Christmas tree has been installed at the Air Balloon pub in Bristol, despite it only being July

A pub has become the first in Britain to put its Christmas tree up – on the hottest day of summer.

The five-foot artificial tree, adorned with gold, blue and silver baubles, has been installed at the Air Balloon pub in Bristol.

The display – as Britain bakes in the heat – is complete with a sign at the foot of which reads: ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’. And its lights are flashing brightly as it stands beside the bar.

Its the third year in a row that the pub in Filton, South Gloucestershire, has put up the tree early – and excited regulars have been anticipating its arrival since the start of July.

Manager Joanne Johnson said the tree puts a smile on the face of pub-goers and is great for business because it boosts early Christmas bookings.

She said: ‘It’s a talking point. This is the third year in a row we’ve had the tree up and we never get any negative comments about it.

‘Regulars have been excited asking us when the tree is going up because last year we had it up a little earlier. We’ve already had a few bookings for Christmas parties and Christmas lunch as a result.

‘It’s where the idea comes from. We like people to know we take bookings for Christmas as we do fill up really quick.’  

Wayne Meaker, a staff member at The Air Balloon, stands next to the Christmas tree which has been put up already

Wayne Meaker, a staff member at The Air Balloon, stands next to the Christmas tree which has been put up already

Wayne Meaker, a staff member at The Air Balloon, stands next to the Christmas tree which has been put up already

Heat could kill dogs in cars in minutes, charity warns

A dog welfare charity has advised owners to not leave pets alone in a hot car seat even for a few minuets as it can prove fatal.

The advice comes after predictions that temperatures will soar in the coming days, reaching a possible 98.6F (37C) in the south east of England.

Dogs Trust says on a 71F (22C) day, the temperature inside a car could rise by 11C in just 10 minutes and because dogs cannot cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.

American Bulldog Finlay's body temperature soared to a life-threatening 108F (42.2C) during recent hot weather in Glasgow

American Bulldog Finlay's body temperature soared to a life-threatening 108F (42.2C) during recent hot weather in Glasgow

American Bulldog Finlay’s body temperature soared to a life-threatening 108F (42.2C) during recent hot weather in Glasgow

Earlier this week an American Bulldog Finlay was left fighting for his life after his body temperature soared to a life-threatening 108F (42.2C) during recent hot weather.

The one-year-old – who was born with three legs – became overheated when his owner took him to a park in Glasgow.

The charity has advised not walking dogs at the hottest times of the day. But it said early morning or later in the evening walks are best accompanied with water.

It has also said tarmac can get ‘very hot in the sun’ and advises owners ‘to check it with their hand before letting dogs walk on it so they don’t burn their paws’.

Other tips that have been given are avoiding long car journeys, using a sun blind for shade, avoiding congested roads as much as possible and taking regular breaks and having plenty of water on board.

Dogs Trust veterinary director, Paula Boyden, said: ‘There are so many things we can do to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy in hot weather, but it is crucial we keep a close eye on them, even if we are playing indoors. If we all do this, then hopefully we and our dogs will be able to enjoy a long hot summer.’

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