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Heat health warning

Hot weather forecasts for parts of England have prompted warnings to take care from Public Health England (PHE).

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Latest update

High overnight temperatures and hotter weather has prompted Public Health England (PHE) to step up heat warnings for people in the East Midlands and the East of England.

The Met Office put both regions on Level 2 alert on Monday and today (14 September 2016) that level has been increased to Level 3 so people should take action to reduce risks to their health from the heat. The South East and London remain on Level 2 status.

Dr Thomas Waite, of the Extreme Events team at PHE said:

The hot weather is now here and likely to continue until Thursday, including overnight.

Because of this think how to keep your house cool at night, by making sure you’ve kept curtains closed if the windows directly face the sun, you’ve opened windows at night to get air moving, when it’s safe to do so, and thought of any other small things you can do to make sure heat doesn’t build to uncomfortable levels at home.

It might be the end of the summer but those who are still at risk from the ill-effects of high temperatures, are still at risk. That’s why it’s really important that we all think what we can do to make sure that older people, those with heart and lung conditions and those with very young children, don’t suffer from too much heat.

Previous updates

12 September

Warnings have been issued today by PHE following forecasts of hot weather for the coming days and nights.

The Met Office says hot and humid weather will arrive today in the East of England, the South East, London and the East Midlands, which will all be put on heatwave Level 2 status from this evening.

Dr Thomas Waite, of the Extreme Events team at PHE, said:

Because the heat is going to arrive very soon, think today about what you can do, and for those around you, to stay cool during the daytime and particularly at night.

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for most people there’s nothing to really worry about.

But for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, summer heat can bring real health risks.

To keep homes and sleeping areas cool at night remember to close curtains on windows that face the sun during the day, once the sun is off windows open them up to get a breeze and think about turning off electrical devices all over the home as they can generate unwanted heat too.

The Met Office declared a Level 2 heat-health alert this morning. That means that there is a high chance that temperatures will hit certain temperature thresholds for at least 2 days and the intervening night.

Paul Gunderson, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

It is going to be a very warm few days across parts of the UK. Temperatures are expected to reach around 28oC in the south east tomorrow, and London could see temperatures over 30oC. Night time temperatures are also looking warm with the south east dropping to just the high teens overnight.

The heat is expected to be more widespread both during the day and overnight on Wednesday, although peak temperatures probably not quite as high as on Tuesday.

24 August

Heatwave temperatures have today arrived across London and the South East, prompting PHE to again urge people to take care in the hot weather.

The Met Office has issued:

  • level 3 heatwave alert for the South East and London
  • level 2 heatwave alert for the East Midlands
  • level 3 heatwave alert for the East of England

Dr Thomas Waite, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and part of the Extreme Events team at PHE, said:

Many people will likely be out and about again today enjoying more the summer sun. That’s why it’s really important to remember that there are some people whose health suffers in hot weather. Older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children may all feel the ill-effects of heat over the coming days.

We’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at-risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any help. There are lots of useful tips and guidance on NHS Choices website and more detail available in the Heatwave Plan for England.

Neil Armstrong, Chief Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

Hot weather continues across East Anglia and southeast England today with temperatures likely to peak in the low 30’s Celsius after a very warm and humid night here. Elsewhere across England it will feel fresher today. Showery outbreaks of rain are possible across England later today and into Thursday which should then lead to a slightly less hot day on Thursday across the southeast of England, with temperatures in the mid 20’s Celsius.

23 August

Heatwave temperatures have today arrived across the East of England and are now forecast for the South East and London, prompting PHE to again urge people to take extra care.

The Met Office today declared a Level 3 heatwave alert, which means the hot weather has arrived in the East of England - it is forecast to last until Friday morning. Hot temperatures during the day are likely be accompanied by very warm nights for the rest of the week.

A level 2 heatwave alert, a warning that heatwave conditions are likely, has also been issued across the South East and London although many places may see warm temperatures. It is possible that the hot weather will return for the bank holiday weekend.

PHE is urging people to take care and have fun in the sun, while making sure that support is given to those who may be at risk from the ill effects of heat.

Steve Willington, Chief Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

Much of England will see very warm and sunny weather during Tuesday (23 August) with temperatures widely reaching the mid to high 20s Celsius and some parts of east and southeast England reaching around 30oC. A warm, humid night will follow. Wednesday will bring cloudier skies over much of England, but eastern and southeastern parts will have another hot day.

The heat may lead to some thunderstorms developing later Wednesday and into Thursday with these spreading northeastwards across England. The southeast of England looks likely to hold on to the hot weather until Friday, while elsewhere, temperatures will return to near normal for August, with maximum in the low 20s Celsius.

Dr Waite added:

The hot weather will put an extra strain on bodies and people may feel the ill-effects. Each year we hear stories of people who have fallen seriously ill because, even though it’s hotter, they may wear clothes which are too warm for hot weather, they may not drink enough or try to do too much.

We know it’s still the school holidays for many and with a number of high profile events planned for this weekend it’s really important people in the affected areas keep in mind that the coming days may feel hot, so stay hydrated look out for others and keep an eye on forecasts. That way we can all help each other stay well this summer.

22 August 2016

The Met Office has forecast that heatwave conditions may arrive in the East of England by tomorrow (Tuesday 23 August) with similar temperatures possible in parts of London and the South East this week.

Dr Angie Bone, Head of Extreme Events at PHE said:

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for most people there’s nothing to really worry about. But for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, summer heat can bring real health risks.

The forecast suggests we may be in for some hot days and uncomfortable nights too – so now’s the time to think about how’s best to keep cool and safe.

This summer we’re urging people to keep an eye on those at-risk and if you’re able, offer help to stay cool and hydrated. This is a good time, before the warmer weather arrives, to think about who you may be able to assist and what you may be able to do. There’s lots of guidance on NHS Choices and more detail in the Heatwave Plan for England.

The Met Office declared a Level 2 heat-health alert for the East of England this morning. That means that there is a high chance that temperatures will hit certain thresholds for 2 days and the intervening night. Although no heatwave warning has been sounded for London and the South East, it is possible the regions may experience similar temperatures this week.

18 July 2016

The Met Office declared a Level 2 heat-health alert this morning. That means that there is a high chance that temperatures will hit certain thresholds for 2 days and the intervening night.

Paul Gundersen, Chief Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office said:

High pressure, warm air and light winds will result in widespread very warm conditions today (Monday 18 July), becoming locally hot, with isolated thunderstorms developing, these most likely across northern England.

Tonight temperatures fall a little, but then through tomorrow temperatures rise again as very warm air pushes north from across the Continent. This will lead to widespread hot conditions, with increasing humidity as well.

The very warm and humid weather will continue through Tuesday evening and much of Wednesday leading to a hot and humid night. Meanwhile, intense thunderstorms may develop, these most likely across northern England.

On Wednesday, fresher conditions gradually arrive from the west across England, clearing away the thunderstorms eastwards.

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of water; sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • open windows when it feels cooler outside and it’s safe to do so
  • 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
  • if you are going into the water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes

Dr Bone said:

The hot weather won’t make life difficult for all of us; indeed, many of us will make the most of it when the sun shines. But some people may not be able to adapt to the extra strain hot weather will put on their bodies and may feel the ill-effects.

Each year we hear stories of people who have fallen seriously ill because, even though it’s hotter, they may wear clothes which are too warm for hot weather, they may not drink enough or just try to do too much.

By looking out for each other this summer we, health professionals, councils and the public, can all help each other stay well this summer.

The Met Office has forecast that heatwave conditions may hit by lunchtime today (Monday 18 July) in the South West, South East, London, East of England, East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Background

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_uk and Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland.

Public Health England Press Office, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards

Chilton, OX11 0RQ

Published 18 July 2016
Last updated 14 September 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated story with latest Level for East Midlands and East of England.
  2. Updated with latest heatwave warnings for East of England, South East, London and East Midlands.
  3. Updated with latest heatwave warnings for East of England, South East and London.
  4. Updated with latest heatwave warnings for East of England, South East and London.
  5. Updated with latest heatwave warnings for August.
  6. First published.