The UK Just Recorded Its Hottest Day Ever — What to Know

·2 min read

The United Kingdom experienced its hottest day ever on record this week. In fact, it broke the record twice in one day.

On Tuesday, the UK's Meteorological Office (Met) shared on Twitter that it recorded a temperature of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in Charlwood in Surrey, breaking the previous record of 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which was set in 2019. However, just a few hours later, at 12:50 p.m. local time, officials reported that the temperature at Heathrow hit an astonishing 40.2 degrees Celsius (104.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

The soaring temperatures put most of the UK under its first "Amber Extreme" warning, which means spending time outdoors without sufficient cooling could lead to death, even for those without underlying health conditions.

A screen displaying train cancellation information during a heat wave at London King's Cross railway station in London, U.K.,
A screen displaying train cancellation information during a heat wave at London King's Cross railway station in London, U.K.,

Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images A screen displaying train cancellation information during a heat wave at London King's Cross railway station in London, U.K., on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Temperatures in the UK hit a record Tuesday as the heat wave disrupts travel, business and schools, and poses a risk to lives across the country.

The warning, which is in place for most of England, Wales, and southern Scotland, will extend until the end of the day Tuesday, the Met explained.

"Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas," Neil Armstrong, the Met Office's chief meteorologist, shared in a statement. "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 heat has also caused travel cancellations and delays. According to The Associated Press, the excessive heat caused London's Luton Airport to close for several hours. A main road used to access eastern England also buckled under the temperatures, leaving it to look like a "skatepark," local police said.

Furthermore, Network Rail shared on Twitter that it recorded the hottest rail temperatures in its history on Monday, hitting 62 degrees Celsius (143.6 degrees Fahrenheit), causing some of the rails to bend and break under pressure. The temperatures led the service to put out a "Do Not Travel" warning for many of its services and forced the closure of its east coast mainline between London and Leeds and York, as well as the Midland mainline between Derby, Nottingham, and London, The Guardian reported.

"We may need to consider changing our standards and engineering for more severe summers and less severe winters for the decades to come, but for now, it's still too early to make such an enormous decision," Network Rail tweeted.

The heat wave originally started across to Europe, fueling wildfires in Spain and France, The AP also reported. The record-breaking temperatures in France has complicated wildfire relief efforts.