Today (Wednesday 27 June) is the hottest day so far this year according to a recent announcement from the MET Office. The part of the UK logged as having the greatest temperature, of 31.9 Celsius is the town of Porthmadog in North West Wales. An initial announcement made mid-morning on Twitter saw the MET Office announce a temperature of 30.8 Celsius in the Welsh town but since then it has risen more. This high temperature could yet be surpassed as the MET Office is anticipating that the current heatwave will peak tomorrow. The highest recorded temperature in the UK was 38.5 Celsius in Kent, England on 10 August 2003 which happened during a 10-day heatwave.

Where is affected?

Beginning last weekend, all four countries of the UK are currently experiencing a heatwave. This is set to continue with temperatures into the early 30s forecast for some areas of England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland tomorrow. In parts of England, a level 2 warning has been issued by the MET Office’s alert for high temperatures. The warning, publicised earlier this week on Monday, is issued when there is a “60% [or above] risk of heatwave in the next 2 to 3 days” according to the Government’s Heatwave Plan for England.

The present warning is in place until 6 pm tomorrow.

In response to the warning, Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging people to look out for those in their communities who are particularly vulnerable to these higher than average temperatures.

The vulnerable groups include “the over 65s, young children and those with heart and lung conditions.” During heatwave conditions, members of these groups can experience problems with carrying out ordinary activities and therefore PHE is asking that people look out for those living near them who could be adversely affected by this weather.

Advice for staying safe during the heatwave

PHE advises that in order to keep safe during the heatwave, care should be taken to stay cool by making sure to maintain hydration through drinking plenty of water, staying in the shade when outdoors, and avoiding being outside in the hottest part of the day which is between 11 am and 3 pm. Other advice includes not having curtains open in windows of rooms which get a lot of sun and, using sunscreen to protect against the harmful UV radiation if out in the sun.

In addition to the advice given by PHE, various NHS trusts around the country have been taking to social media to post advice about staying safe during the heatwave.

Advice has also been issued from a number of organisations including the National Parks cautioning about the risk of wildfires and British Tennis advising those attending the Eastbourne International tennis tournament to make sure they are suitably prepared for the hot conditions they will face.

Moreover, the heatwave has affected travel with some railway companies running trains at reduced speeds due to the hot tracks and risk of track buckling, which happens when the steel tracks expand as a result of the high heat.

Train services operated by South Western Railway will be running slower until Friday 29 June to reduce this risk, according to Network Rail’s website.

The welfare of animals is also a concern during heatwaves. Animal charities have been issuing reminders not to leave animals locked in cars. The RSPCA in England and Wales state on their website that they have responded to over 600 calls in the past 14 days from people concerned for the wellbeing of animals left in places unsuitable for the heat. Police forces around the UK have similarly echoed warnings about the dangers of leaving animals in cars by posting on social media such as this one by Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

The current heatwave is expected to last until the weekend when temperatures will gradually decline.