The government on Monday issued an amber heat warning, the second highest level possible, with much of England forecast to endure soaring temperatures in the coming days.
A level three “heat-health” alert was announced by the UK Health Security Agency for southern and central England, indicating the need to prepare for a second summer heatwave and potential risks to public health.
Temperatures are “expected to rise throughout the week” and could reach the mid-30Cs in the south of the country, the agency said. The warning will be in place from midday on Tuesday August 9 to 6pm on Saturday August 13.
A level four red alert — which indicates a serious incident requiring an emergency response — was issued in July ahead of the unprecedented heatwave that sent temperatures in the UK above 40C for the first time on record.
The latest warning came as the Met Office forecast another spell of very hot and dry weather for England — conditions that have pushed the country close to a drought. Last month was the driest July in England since 1935, with the dry weather prompting three water companies to announce hosepipe bans.
Last week, the Environment Agency warned that if the heat continued “many parts of England will move into drought”. At the weekend, environment secretary George Eustice called for the hosepipe bans to be more widely adopted.
“I strongly urge other water companies to take responsible action to protect and preserve our water supplies during this very dry period,” he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
Tony Wardle, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said on Monday that large areas of the UK may experience a heatwave this week. Temperatures could peak at 35C or 36C, with the hottest areas expected to be central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday, he added.
The high temperatures and dry conditions have created a risk of wildfires, such as those that broke out across the country in July, the government said.
Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the UKHSA, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health.”
“It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable — elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions — are prepared for coping during the hot weather,” he added.
Level three alerts require social care and healthcare services to “target specific actions at high-risk groups”.