The UK experiences its hottest day with temperatures reaching 42C
On 13th August 2021, the UK experienced its hottest day ever with temperatures reaching a scorching 42C. The record-breaking temperature was recorded in Heathrow, London, breaking the previous record of 38.7C set in Cambridge in July 2019. The heatwave also broke several other temperature records, including the highest temperature ever recorded in Northern Ireland, which peaked at 31.3C.
The impact of the heatwave
The extreme heat caused chaos across the country, with people struggling to cope with the soaring temperatures. Hospitals and emergency services were on high alert as the heatwave proved to be a health risk for many. The National Health Service (NHS) issued warnings to the public, urging them to take precautions such as staying indoors, keeping hydrated and avoiding strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.
The heatwave also had a significant impact on the environment. Many regions faced drought-like conditions, with water levels in rivers and reservoirs dropping to dangerously low levels. Farmers were hit hard as crops struggled to survive in the harsh heat, raising concerns about food shortage and ecologic crises.
The impact on travel
The soaring temperatures also caused chaos for travellers, with many experiencing delayed and cancelled flights due to the extreme weather. Some trains also had to be cancelled or rescheduled due to buckling tracks and overheating locomotives. Many drivers also faced long delays and jams as tarmac melted and roads became unsafe for driving.
The UK’s record-breaking heatwave has shown that the impact of climate change is no longer a distant concern, but a concrete reality. The scorching temperatures have highlighted the urgent need for a concerted effort towards climate mitigation and adaptation measures, both at the individual and societal levels. In the meantime, measures should be taken to ensure the public is well informed and well-prepared to combat future heatwaves.