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UK’s first ever red alert warning as country prepares for soaring temperatures

For the first time temperatures of 40°C have been forecast in the UK for next week and the Met Office has issued the first ever Red warning for extreme heat.

Exceptional heat is expected to affect a large part of England on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures likely to be in the high 30s C in some places – perhaps even exceeding 40°C.  

The Red Extreme heat national severe weather warning covers Monday and Tuesday (18 and 19 July) for parts of central, northern, eastern and southeastern England.

An Amber Extreme heat warning, is also in place for much of England and Wales, including the Bristol area, and southern Scotland until the end of Tuesday. 

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said “The extreme temperatures that we have been forecasting are now beginning to build and it is likely that today we will see values reach into the high 30s, possibly challenging the UK record of 38.7°C set in July 2019. 

“Even higher maximum temperatures will develop tomorrow with a 70% chance of somewhere in England exceeding 40°C. A value of this level would exceed the current UK record by 1.3°C or more. This is akin to a marathon runner shaving 20 minutes off of the current record. 

“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”

The step up in warning level to red last week complemented the increase in the current Heat Health Warning to Level 4 for England by the UK Health Security Agency.

In addition to the potential for UK temperature records to be broken, records in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could also easily be broken.

This is the first time the Met Office has forecast 40°C  in the UK. The current record high temperature is 38.7°C, which was reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July in 2019.

Top tips for staying safe during the heatwave
  • Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk.
  • If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.
  • Stay cool indoors: Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
  • If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. 
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat.
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
  • Make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling.
  • Check the latest weather forecast and temperature warnings – you can find these on TV, radio, mobile app or website.
  • During warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice.

Source The Met Office

Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice.

For advice about driving in hot weather visit:

With water companies seeing extra demand during the hot weather find out how to save water