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Met Office extreme heat warning: How hot does it have to be for an extreme heat warning?

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Met Office warns ‘unusually hot’ weather to hit UK

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Brits have been baking as the UK is hit with high temperatures, and the Met Office has today issued its first extreme warning. The new “extreme heat” weather warning will remain in place through to Thursday. What does an “extreme heat” warning mean? 

An Extreme Heat Warning is an impact-based warning designed to alert Brits to the potential impacts of extreme heat to protect lives and property, helping people make better decisions to stay safe during the heat. 

Extreme heat warnings were only incorporated as a category of warning into the National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS) on June 1. 

The NSWWS warns of the impacts of severe weather as is a part of the Met Office. 

The current extreme heat warning was issued this afternoon and will remain in place until 23.59 on July 22. 

This current warning is classified as an amber warning and covers the South West, the Isle of Wight, a large part of Wales and stretches as far as the West Midlands and Birmingham. 

High temperatures are expected during the day and will last throughout the night, peaking on Thursday before temperatures are forecast to fall on Friday. 

How hot does it have to be for an extreme heat warning?

The Met Office has not put an exact figure on the threshold that must be reached before an extreme heat warning is made. 

However, temperatures have soared to 32 degrees in many parts of the area covered by the current extreme heat warning and are predicted to remain high until Thursday which is when the warning is forecast to end. 

How is an extreme heat warning different to a heatwave?

In the UK a heatwave is announced when a given location records at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold. 

This threshold varies by county. For example, for Cornwall it’s 25C but for Suffolk, it’s 27C, whilst London must have temperatures of 28C or above for three days in a row for the weather to be classified as a heatwave. 

What does an extreme heat warning mean? 

When an extreme heat warning is issued it means the high temperatures could impact public health. The Met Office said: “Adverse health effects are likely to be experienced by those vulnerable to extreme heat. 

“The wider population are likely to experience some adverse health effects including sunburn or heat exhaustion (dehydration, nausea, fatigue) and other heat-related illnesses. 

“More people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents. 

“Some changes in working practices and daily routines are likely to be required

“An increased chance that some heat-sensitive systems and equipment may fail, leading to power cuts and the loss of other services to some homes and businesses. 

“Some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays.”

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