First-ever Extreme Heat Warning for the UK

With the expectation of temperature reaching 33°C, the Met Office has issued amber and yellow thunderstorm warnings in addition to the first-ever extreme heat warning for the UK, in its 167-year history. The Extreme Heat Warning issued by the Met office will cover a huge part of Wales, all of southwest England, and several parts of southern and central England. The unusually high temperature will be more common in the western areas, and Sunday was recorded as the hottest day of the year in England and Wales.

Heatwave mortality monitoring report of the year 2020, showed that almost 2,500 mortalities have been seen during the 3 summer heatwaves of 2020. Since the heat has been known as an invisible killer, affecting the lives of millions of people, particularly in the UK. This warning by the Met Office, if taken seriously and followed through properly, could help limit the risks associated with heatwaves. The heat warning has only been communicated to the health sector under the Public Health, heat-health plan, to protect vulnerable people. But, as the vulnerability changes, so do the vulnerable people, who sometimes can be missed. Extreme heat levels aren’t the only temperature, but they can be influenced by relative humidity, wind speed, and sun exposure. So different factors have to be taken into account.

Chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office, Steven Ramsdale, said: “The high temperatures are going to continue through a large part of this week. Many areas will continue to reach heatwave thresholds but the amber extreme heat warning focuses on western areas where the most unusually high temperatures are likely to persist. There’s a continuing risk of isolated thundery downpours late in the afternoons but most areas will stay dry until later in the week. Temperatures should begin to fall for most areas heading into the weekend, with some more unsettled conditions looking to develop.”

To avoid heat stress, there are few methods. The first part is the identification of heat stress, which is marked by lethargy, diarrhea, and headache, that should be reported immediately.

It is important to try to keep the body cool, by lowering temperature using methods like showering, pool paddling or swimming, etc. Hydration is a key to prevent heatstroke, as it replenishes the body of lost water. Instead of waiting for thirst, try to keep sipping water throughout the day. Try to keep the house cool by preventing sunlight from heating your house, and drawing the curtains. And allow the fresh air to keep flowing throughout the house. Vulnerable people like children, pregnant women, the elderly, and patients with medical ailments, should avoid direct sunlight from midday till the Sun is at its strongest.

Climate change and global warming, have been causing extreme weather events worldwide. An early Extreme heat warning system is a step forward to adapting to climate change. The best way to boost its effectiveness is to couple it with adaptive measure and communication efficacy by the Met and government, through official channels.

International Journal of Virology

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