The month of September continues to bring an unprecedented heatwave across the United Kingdom, with Sunday marking the seventh consecutive day of temperatures exceeding 30C (86F). While southern England is experiencing scorching heat, other parts of the country are now facing the threat of severe thunderstorms and downpours.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms in place from 14:00 BST to 23:59 on Sunday. This warning covers Northern Ireland, parts of northern England and Wales, as well as parts of southern Scotland. There is a potential for heavy rain, with up to 50mm (2in) falling in less than two hours, accompanied by large hail and lightning. Flash flooding and strong winds could also cause disruptions to road access and public transport.
Although southern England can expect another very hot day, with temperatures reaching 32C, some relief is in sight. Northern parts of the UK may experience widespread showers and thunderstorms later in the day. However, southern and eastern regions should remain dry.
In addition to the extreme weather conditions, an amber heat-health warning has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency for nearly every area of England. This warning is in effect until 21:00 on Sunday, highlighting the potential impact of high temperatures on the health service. Older individuals and those with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions are particularly at risk during prolonged heatwaves.
While the heat persists, the record-breaking September heatwave is expected to subside in the coming week as cooler air moves across the country. It is worth noting that heatwaves have become more frequent, intense, and extensive due to climate change caused by human activities. Last year, the UK experienced temperatures above 40C for the first time, a phenomenon that would have been unlikely without climate change.
As the UK faces these extreme weather conditions, it is crucial for governments around the world to take significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat the rising global temperatures. The need for adaptation and mitigation measures is more urgent than ever.
1. How long has the September heatwave been going on?
The September heatwave has now lasted for seven consecutive days, with temperatures exceeding 30C (86F).
2. Which regions of the UK are facing thunderstorm warnings?
The thunderstorm warnings apply to most of Northern Ireland, parts of northern England and Wales, and parts of southern Scotland.
3. What are the potential hazards associated with the thunderstorms?
The thunderstorms may bring heavy rain, with up to 50mm (2in) falling in under two hours, as well as large hail and lightning. There could be flash flooding, strong winds, and disruptions to road access and public transport.
4. Who is particularly at risk during prolonged heatwaves?
Older people and individuals with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases are deemed to be at a higher risk during prolonged heatwaves.
5. How are heatwaves linked to climate change?
Heatwaves have become more frequent, intense, and longer-lasting due to climate change caused by human activities. The warming climate is a global issue that requires substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate its impact.