Today, Britain experienced its hottest day ever.
At 12.50 local time, the temperature reached 40.2 degrees at London Heathrow Airport.
The previous temperature record, from 2019, was 38.7 degrees.
The temperature is expected to rise further in many places during the day.
Already on Monday, local temperatures were measured in Wales at 37.1 degrees and in Suffolk County at 38.1 degrees.
A ‘red’ warning of extreme heat – with danger to human life – prevails in an area stretching between London, Manchester and York.
The British are accustomed to relatively mild summer temperatures with a peak of around 20 degrees in July and few homes equipped with air conditioning. Nor has the country’s transportation system adapted to the intense heat that researchers warn will become increasingly common as a result of climate change.
Rebuilding the infrastructure to deal with the rising temperatures will take “many years,” Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps says according to the Associated Press.
Authorities advise against traveling by train in areas marked in red. Many sections are running at lower speeds and some departures have been canceled due to the risk that the heat will cause the sun to bend over the rails.
On Monday, some schools were forced to close due to the high temperatures, and at Luton Airport, north of London, air traffic was halted after the heat caused damage to the runway.
Water suppliers in southern and eastern England are also warning of the dangers of water shortages in the wake of increased use, reports the BBC.
At least five people have reportedly drowned in different parts of the UK while trying to cool off in lakes or rivers.
France also set several temperature records on Monday. In the city of Brest on the Atlantic coast, 39.3 degrees were measured, several degrees higher than the previous record. A new record was also set in Saint-Brieuc with a degree of 39.5 and in Nantes, where the mercury rose to 42 degrees.
Climate experts warn that global warming is leading to an increasing number of extreme weather events of various kinds. According to today’s estimates, the potential for temperatures of 40 degrees in the UK could be ten times higher than in pre-industrial times, according to experts at the Met Office State.
The dangers of extreme heat have recently been clearly demonstrated in southern Europe. Nearly 600 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and Portugal, according to the Associated Press.
In the wake of the heat and drought, several devastating fires broke out in Spain, Portugal, and France, among other places.
Read also: The first red heat alert issued in England