Anorak News | Heatwave Hits UK

Heatwave Hits UK

by | 19th, July 2006

HOT isn’t it? We don’t know how if happened but there it is.

The weather is hot. Perhaps it’s evidence of global warming. We can’t be sure. All we do know is that it is hot. It might have something to do with the thing ancient voices call “summer”, that mythical week in late July when the “sun” shines. But, as we say, we cannot be sure.

As the Telegraph reports, today may see temperatures move over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and break the all-time British temperature record of 101.3F (38.5 C).

We are surprised. British Gas is as shocked as the rest of us. The Telegraph hears it telling its customers to put their central heating on. “It may sound we’ve gone barmy with the heat," says a spokesman. "But putting on the whole system for short periods during the summer could prevent problems when it gets colder."

But will it ever get colder? Perhaps this is it. Global warming has kicked in and this is how the temperature will be every day from now on. If so, the advice is for British gas to move heavily into the Barbecue game and get out of central heating.

The Telegraph looks on as roads melt. It counts out of the depot the council gritters being sent out to spread rock dust on to “bubbling bitumen” to stop the road melting. And it counts them all back. The Times is right to say such vehicles “usually only appear on wintry nights, spreading salt on the roads”. But this is not winter in July. This is something else.

A spokesman for the Met Office says: "It is possible that the all-time record could be broken as one or two locations in the Home Counties reach highs of 102F (39C)."

And these two spots might just be the regions equivalent of polar icecaps. In one part of the Home Counties, students at Cranbourne School in Basingstoke say temperatures in their classrooms are up to 107F (41.6C).

And in London, temperatures on the Tube said to have reached a more-than-cosy 117F (47.2C).

And it might not be doing passengers much good. Professor Bill Keatinge, Emeritus Professor at Queen Mary College Medical School, University of London, tells the Telegraph: “Once the body reaches a temperature of 43-44C, organs start to cook or denature. The brain is worst-affected. It happens very quickly and is irreversible, causing severe damage if not death. I would advise the elderly, the overweight and those with heart trouble to avoid the Underground." 

Luckily, the Guardian’s man in a heatwave is on hand to tell us what to do instead. “Commuting is hell if you’re roasting like a pig on a spit,” says he. “If you must get to the office, walk – and keep to the shady side of the street. In any case, keep a bottle of water with you at all times.”

He advises: “So at lunch, that will be a bottle of San Pellegrino, not the Pinot Grigio.”

Overlook the apparent truth that this Guardian writer’s view of the world is based on sticking his head out of a window at the newspaper’s London offices and seeing what the urbanites below are having with their mid-afternoon ciabatta rolls and try to keep cool.

The Guardian’s man should just keep the windows shut. Indeed, if you in an office of a big newspaper stay indoors and crank up the air-conditioning. And then shake your head and bemoan the presence of 4x4s and global warming…

Posted: 19th, July 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink