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Friday December 02, 2022

‘Extreme’ weather warning in force in Britain ahead of new heatwave

By AFP
August 12, 2022

LONDON: A four-day "extreme heat" warning came into force in parts of England and Wales on Thursday, with temperatures poised to top 35 Celsius in another heatwave that could cause wildfires and pressure water supplies and transport services.The Met Office alert for southern and central England and parts of Wales runs from midnight on Thursday until Sunday.

It has also issued its highest alert for fire severity over the weekend, warning there is an "exceptional" risk of blazes spreading in many places. Firefighters have urged the public to help them prevent fires.

London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Jonathan Smith said he wanted to avoid scenes in July "where people lost their homes and livelihoods". "In the first week of August last year, we attended 42 grassland and wildland fires, the same week this year we’ve attended 340," he said.

"Please don’t barbecue in open spaces or balconies, throw your rubbish away safely and put your cigarettes out properly." Smith also warned people against using barbecues on balconies, saying they could lead to hot ash moving "very quickly".

In some areas, wildfires have broken out due to the heat. In Ryton, Gateshead, firefighters spent more than 24 hours tackling a fire which started in a field. Temperatures reached 33.6C in the West Sussex village of Wiggonholt this afternoon, and are expected to climb further tomorrow.

"Temperatures won’t be as high. But the big difference with this current heatwave is that it’s much more prolonged," said Weather forecaster Matt Taylor. "We’ve already seen temperatures above 30C every day this week - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - and that will continue until Sunday." Temperatures could reach 35C and peak at 37C in some areas between the Midlands and London, he added.

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