The hottest day of the year so far has seen temperatures soar to 28C (82F) in some parts of the UK, but Wednesday is set to be even hotter, The Guardian reports. The Met Office recorded temperatures of 28.1C at 1pm in Kew Gardens, west London, making it England’s hottest day. Tuesday was officially also the year’s warmest day in Northern Ireland and Wales, and meteorologists also predict the same for Scotland, once all recorded temperatures are analysed.
Last Friday was previously recorded as the hottest day of the year, with temperatures of 27.8C in Gravesend, Kent. The heat took its toll on travellers as Network Rail took precautions to prevent railway lines from buckling in the heat. Several fast trains from London Paddington were cancelled and train companies were instructed to run services at slower speeds in vulnerable locations.
A spokesman for First Great Western said there would be no trains between London Paddington and Bourne End or Henley-on-Thames until 8pm, but stressed that only six services out of 1,520 had been affected so far. The heatwave, which has been caused by a tropical continental front from Europe, could possibly be bringing Saharan sand. Paul Knightley, forecast manager at Meteogroup, said Britons might notice dust on their cars as the warm wind carries the sand overseas.
Wednesday’s temperatures – predicted to hit a high of about 33C – are likely to mean the UK has its hottest day of the year again, and there is an outside chance of a record high for July. The highest July temperature recorded was measured at Wisley in 2006, at 36.5C. Asthma and hay fever sufferers are being warned to take care with the Met Office forecasting high to very-high pollen over the coming week, exacerbated by possible thunderstorms in the East Midlands, southern Scotland, and northern England and Wales. Southern England and Wales are likely to see storms arrive by the weekend, as temperatures cool.
Storms can cause pollen spores to be broken into smaller particles and swept into the air, settling in unexpected places where allergy sufferers may not expect to experience hay fever.
Vicky Barber from the British Lung Foundation Helpline said Britons should be on the lookout for people they know who may have lung difficulties. “During hot weather, the air we breathe has lower moisture levels than usual, which can have a drying effect on our airways,” she said. “As a result, people with respiratory conditions such as COPD or severe asthma may find it harder to breathe, feel more tired, or find their lungs feeling heavy or tight.” Kay Boycott, the chief executive of Asthma UK, said: “We are already seeing a rise in Helpline calls and social media posts from people having asthma attacks or showing the early warning signs of one. It’s impossible to avoid all asthma triggers but if you are taking your preventer medicines as prescribed you should be able to reduce the impact triggers like pollen have on your airways.”