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Heatwave live: Britain swelters on hottest July day on record
Summary: Britain swelters on hottest July day since records began
Here’s what’s been happening so far today:
Heathrow has recorded temperatures of 36.7C, beating the previous record for the month of July from 2006.
It is hotter than Miami, LA, Rome and Barcelona, with Kingston-upon-Thames hotter than Kingston, Jamaica.
The United Nations has urged countries to create better warning systems as a heatwave sweeping western Europe saw temperatures reach 40C.
Speed restrictions have been imposed by Network Rail on some train lines amid fears the metal tracks could buckle.
Health warnings have been issued for elderly and vulnerable people, with relatives and friends urged to check on people they know
Asthma sufferers have been told to take extra precautions because of the potential for Saharan sand to be carried over into Britain’s atmosphere by the warm front.
Brandishing a bottle of factor 30 suncream from her handbag, Reay says she read the official warnings in her local newspaper but decided it was “especially for oldies” and ventured out anyway. “We took a lot of notice, didn’t we?! We’re staying here all afternoon.”
Along the promenade, Harinder Badatch, 45, and his wife Sukhjinder, 39, have been able to get a rare day off work to take their son, Samanpreet, 9, for an operation at the dentist. This is the only time they get to spend time together as a family, outside of family holidays. “You go to work, you come home and you haven’t got time to do anything with the kids,” Harinder says.
“There’s so much pressure on life in general. It’s such a stressful environment. It’s such a mundane ritual. Especially in Gravesend, the only time they have is to come to places like this. It’s nice, it’s close, it’s clean. Otherwise you’ve got to take out a whole weekend to go further.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the parade was half empty with only a couple of young families and retired couples taking in the heat by the Thames estuary. By this weekend, town officials hope it will be full to bursting as the town’s 169th annual regatta swings into life, boasting a summer carnival queen competition and a giant funfair.
“Sometimes it’s a great family atmosphere here but the last couple of times I’ve been here there’s been kids chasing each other with knives,” says Harinder. “They all stand up in the car park area. It’s a real shame really.”
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