A major incident has been declared in London and Leicestershire amid a surge of fires caused by a record breaking heatwave.
The temperature on Tuesday exceeded 40C in the UK for the first time on record, with 40.2C reported at Heathrow at 12.50pm.
It was then surpassed by a record 40.3C recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire a few hours later.
Mayor Sadiq Khan the incident had been declared with London Fire Brigade under “immense pressure” including multiple houses under threat in Wennington.
“I’m in touch with the Commissioner and will share updates when I have them.”
It comes as the UK recorded its warmest night on record from Monday into Tuesday, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.
Temperatures did not fall below 25C in places, including 25.8C in Kenley in Croydon, exceeding the previous highest daily minimum record of 23.9C, recorded in Brighton on August 3, 1990.
Heatwave sees record temperatures across the UK
A huge grass fire has broken out in an Essex village as temperatures hit 40C
‘An unprecedented day'
07:11 , Sarah Harvey
The Met Office has warned that the heatwave could peak with record temperatures on Tuesday.
Rachel Ayers, a Met Office forecaster, said: “The temperature will be very hot throughout the day, before rising as high as 40C, maybe even 41C in isolated spots across England during the afternoon.
"This will make it the hottest day on record and the first time we have seen temperatures as high as 40C."
Scotland and Wales could also see their hottest days on record.
Ms Ayers added: "There are likely to be delays on roads, with road closures, as well as possible delays and cancellations to trains and maybe issues with air travel.
"This could pose a significant health risk to those stuck on services or roads during the heat."
Cabinet minister: Rails and roads could take ‘decades’ to be more resilient during extreme heat
07:30 , Elly Blake
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said issues on the rails and roads will continue for decades during extreme heatwaves.
Asked how long it will take to upgrade existing rail infrastructure to be more resilient, he told Sky News: “Decades, actually, to replace it all.
“Ditto with Tarmac on the roads.
“There’s a long process of replacing it and upgrading it to withstand temperatures, either very hot or sometimes much colder than we’ve been used to, and these are the impacts of global warming.”
He said there was no Cobra meeting planned for Tuesday, with the Prime Minister instead chairing Cabinet.
A look at today’s forecast
07:33 , Elly Blake
The Met Office has released a weather forecast for Tuesday on their Twitter.
Here are the details below:
Shapps defends PM over leadership during heatwave
07:37 , Elly Blake
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted Boris Johnson has not checked out early from No 10 as the Prime Minister is criticised for not playing a direct enough role in combating the heatwave.
He told Sky News: “It’s literally not true, in fact exactly the opposite is the truth.”
Shown the Prime Minister’s ride in a Typhoon fighter jet during the Farnborough Air Show on Monday, Mr Shapps defended the flight.
“In the end he has responsibility for Britain’s security,” Mr Shapps said.
“There is a war going on in Europe. Why on earth would he not go and meet with the RAF?”
Only travel if essential, warns TfL
07:44 , Elly Blake
Transport for London (TfL) is advising customers to only travel if essential on Tuesday 19 July, due to the high temperatures forecast.
The Met Office has issued its first ever red warning for high heat for parts of the UK, including London, with temperatures forecast to hit 40C later in the day.
Temporary speed restrictions have been introduced on parts of the Tube and Rail network as a precaution, which means a reduced service and could mean journeys take longer than usual.
Slight increase in rates of fainting and heat exposure, says LAS director
07:53 , Elly Blake
Brian Jordan, director of 999 operations for London Ambulance Service, said the service saw a slight increase in calls for fainting and heat exposure on Monday.
The service received 6,600 emergency calls yesterday, which was slightly lower than predicted.
“We really hope that’s because the public really have been listened to the messages about how they can look after themselves and only call 999 if it’s a genuine emergency,” Mr Jordan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“People have been through a very long day yesterday and there’s been high temperatures overnight and with the even hotter temperatures today, I cannot really emphasise enough that people need to continue to do what we were asking them yesterday – to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, keep hydrated, look after more vulnerable friends, families, neighbours and use sun cream etc.”
He added: “As yesterday afternoon progressed we saw a slight increase in the rates of fainting and heat exposure”.
Mr Jordan said that the service expected to see a “build-up of illness due to the continued heat overnight and even higher temperatures coming today… it’s just about making sure that even after the peak temperatures, everyone continues to follow that advice”.
Ambulances were not waiting outside of hospitals any longer than usual on Monday, he added.
London council warns against littering following grass fire in Hayes
08:00 , Elly Blake
Hillingdon Council is warning residents not to drop any litter during the extreme heatwave following a grass fire in Hayes.
The council tweeted: “ Please take extra care in this hot weather to not leave anything behind, such as glass and bottles, that could cause a grass fire.
“Don’t drop cigarettes on dry ground, or out of car windows, please dispose of them carefully.”
On Monday evening, eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were called to deal with a grass fire at Cranford Park.
Firefighters managed to bring the fire under control but said grass the size of four football pitches was damaged in the blaze.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Many grass fires are avoidable with the most common causes being carelessly discarded cigarettes and matches, unattended barbecues and glass bottles that have been left on dry grass.
“We’re also concerned that some grass fires are being started deliberately and are asking parents to talk to their children about the dangers of starting fires.”
They also said there was a fire on Woolwich Common, which was also thought to be as a result of people dropping litter, as temperatures soared on Monday.
Cabinet minister: UK transport system cannot cope with extreme heat
08:07 , Elly Blake
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps conceded the UK’s transport network cannot cope with the extreme heat.
He told people to “apply common sense” and “depending on the nature of your journey and reason for it you might want to consider rearranging your day around it”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve seen a considerable amount of travel disruption, we’re probably going to see the hottest day ever in the UK recorded today and infrastructure, much of it built in Victorian times, just wasn’t built to withstand this type of temperature.
“It will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could, because the temperatures are so extreme.”
Asked if the transport system can cope with the weather, he said: “The simple answer at the moment is no.”
Ice cream sales jump 14 per cent, according to Kantar
08:09 , Elly Blake
Retail research firm Kantar said that supermarkets have seen a 14 per cent jump in ice cream sales and 66 per cent rise for suncare products over the month to July 10 as Brits witnessed soaring temperatures.
Warmest UK night on record, according to provisional figures
08:11 , Elly Blake
The UK has experienced its warmest night on record, according to provisional Met Office figures.
Temperatures didn’t fall below 25C in places, including 25.8C recorded in Kenley in Croydon, exceeding the previous highest daily minimum record of 23.9C, recorded in Brighton on August 3, 1990.
Thameslink says no trains running north of London on Tuesday
08:44 , Elly Blake
Rail operator Thameslink is warning people to not travel on routes to the north of London on Tuesday.
There will be no trains on the following routes:
Bedford and London via St Albans
Peterborough and London Kings Cross / London St Pancras International
Kings Lynn, Cambridge and London Kings Cross / London St Pancras International
Welwyn Garden City and Moorgate (Great Northern Metro)
Stevenage and Moorgate (Great Northern Metro)
Meanwhile, Thameslink has said on routes south of London you should only travel if your journey is absolutely essential.
“Please do not use our trains to go to the beach,” they said.
Pictured: Sun rises ahead of another sweltering day
08:53 , Elly Blake
Railway track reached 62C on Monday
09:25 , Elly Blake
The hottest railway track reached 62C on Monday, Network Rail said.
It tweeted: “Our hottest rail recorded yesterday was 62C, in Suffolk! Rail temperature can be about 20C higher than air temperature, causing it to expand, bend and break.”
Rail users have been warned of delays, cancellations and changes to train services amid the extreme heat.
Road congestion drops to 44 per cent in heatwave, according to TomTom
09:42 , Elly Blake
Figures published by location technology firm TomTom show the level of road congestion at 9am on Tuesday was lower in several cities than at the same time last week.
In London, levels dropped from 60 per cent to 44 per cent.
In Birmingham, congestion levels fell from 48 per cent on July 12 to 32 per cent.
In Bristol, congestion levels were down from 46 per cent to 42 per cent.
In Manchester, congestion declined from 59 per cent to 44 per cent.
The figures reflect the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.
Supreme Court closes to visitors due to fault with air-conditioning
09:57 , Elly Blake
The Supreme Court has been closed to visitors because of the temperatures and an air-conditioning fault.
A sign has been posted at the entrance to the building in central London explaining the problem.
A spokeswoman said hearings were being staged online and visitors could watch proceedings on the Supreme Court website.
Kew Gardens records 35.1C by 10am , according to the Met Office
10:52 , Elly Blake
Temperatures have been hitting the mid-30s by 10am on Tuesday, according to the Met Office.
Kew Gardens recorded 35.1C, Heathrow 34.5C and St James’s Park was 34.3C.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden recorded 38C on Monday
11:20 , Elly Blake
Cambridge University Botanic Garden has recorded its peak temperature for Monday as 38C, lower than the current UK heat record of 38.7C that was set there in 2019.
The attraction said in a tweet that the 38C high was reached at 3.38pm yesterday.
Speaking before readings for the previous 24-hour period were taken, at 10am on Tuesday, the attraction’s director, Prof Beverley Glover, said she had hoped the record would not be broken.
“Recording these high UK temperatures services is a serious reminder that we all need to be taking climate change and its impacts seriously,” she said.
Peak temperatures for Tuesday will be confirmed at 10am on Wednesday.
‘Demand is very high’, says East of England Ambulance Service
11:20 , Elly Blake
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said the service has detailed plans in place for dealing with the extreme hot weather.
He added: “We have seen above-average call numbers since Monday afternoon.
“Demand on our service is very high and, even when the temperatures drop, we expect to still being seeing an impact from heat-related illnesses into the weekend.
“We continue to ask the public to help us, as their actions can help manage rapid increases in the number of people calling for an ambulance.
“Please continue to follow guidance during this period of hot weather and only call 999 in life-threatening emergencies.”
Met Office says it is ‘extraordinary unusual’ for UK to record temperatures of 30C in the morning
11:22 , Elly Blake
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said it is “extraordinarily unusual” to see temperatures in the 30s by the morning rush-hour in the UK.
“That’s extraordinarily unusual to see these temperatures in the UK at this time of day,” she said.
She said the high overnight temperatures had led to a very warm start to the day, and added: “We are expecting the temperatures to climb higher than they did yesterday” when temperatures reached 38.1C.
“It’s looking pretty likely a new record is broken today. We’re looking at the maximum temperatures somewhere between 40C-41C, and that’s looking to be across the Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region.”
Charlwood records 37.3C at 11am, according to the Met Office
11:27 , Elly Blake
Temperatures are now reaching the mid-to-high 30s by 11am, according to figures from the Met Office.
Charlwood, in Surrey, recorded 37.3C, Kew Gardens 36.9C and Heathrow and St James’s Park saw 36.6C.
UK records hottest day ever, according to provisional figures
11:57 , Elly Blake
A temperature of 39.1C have been provisionally recorded at Charlwood in Surrey, according to the Met Office.
If confirmed, this will be the hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK, although meterologists have warned the mercury is likely to soar further on Tuesday.
Around 1.3 million Tube journeys made by 10am, down 30 per cent compared to last week
11:59 , Elly Blake
Transport for London (TfL), which has advised people to “only travel if essential”, said around 1.03 million entries and exits were made by London Underground passengers up to 10am on Tuesday.
This is down 30 per cent compared with the same period last Tuesday, and also lower than Monday’s figure of 1.06 million.
Some 1.04 million bus journeys were made up to 10am, a decrease of 16 per cent week on week, and down from Monday’s figure of 1.07 million.
Electric fans to cool down members of the Household Cavalry
12:01 , Elly Blake
Members of the Household Cavalry have been using electric fans to help them cope with the rising temperatures in London.
Troops were looking red in the face and sweating while standing watch in their heavy ceremonial uniforms and helmets at Horse Guards Parade in Westminster, as the heatwave continued to hit the UK on Tuesday.
One could be seen stood in position with a large metal desk fan pointed towards him in a bid to keep him cool.
Water was brought out to the horses of the mounted troops.
No 10: Cabinet updated on heatwave, services generally coping well
12:12 , Elly Blake
Kit Malthouse updated the Cabinet on the impact of the heatwave during their meeting this morning.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster updated Cabinet on the impact of the heatwave.
“He said services had experienced some disruption but were generally coping well thanks to the hard work of frontline staff.”
Thunderstorms forecast for Wednesday
12:17 , Elly Blake
Hundreds of grass fires across London
12:23 , Miriam Burrell
The London Fire Brigade said it has attended more than 800 grass and open land fires over the last six weeks.
It’s urging people not to have barbecues in parks and public spaces because grass will be “tinder dry” after the last few days.
Reports of missing person near Clacton Pier
12:46 , Miriam Burrell
A person is believed to be missing off Clacton Pier and three others have been pulled from the water, BBC Essex reports.
A search is underway.
Meanwhile a 14-year-old boy is missing and believed to have drowned after getting into difficulty in the Thames in Richmond.
It comes as four other people have died while swimming in open water during the recent spell of hot weather.
Record temps in Kew Gardens, Heathrow
12:55 , Miriam Burrell
Along with Charlwood, in Surrey, two other places had surpassed the previous UK temperature record by noon on Tuesday, the Met Office said.
Kew Gardens, in west London, and Heathrow, west of London, both recorded temperatures of 38.8C, taking them over the 2019 high of 38.7C.
Hospitals scale back surgeries
12:58 , Miriam Burrell
Hospitals are having to scale back the number of planned surgeries because operating theatres are too hot, a NHS spokesperson said.
Interim deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said: “Trusts are having to install industrial cooling units, mounting fans, and trying to cool down IT server rooms.”
She said staff have swapped formal uniforms for cooler scrubs, and some workers have been given the option to work from home.
Temperature tops 40C for first time ever
13:00 , Miriam Burrell
The temperature has exceeded 40C in the UK for the first time on record.
40.2C has been reported at Heathrow at 12.50pm on Tuesday, according to provisional Met Office figures.
90k hits on NHS’ online heatstroke advice
13:04 , Miriam Burrell
There were 90,592 visits to the heat exhaustion and heatstroke section of the NHS website on Monday, as temperatures soared, equivalent to around 63 visits every minute.
In total there have been 284,772 visits to the web page over the past seven days from July 12-18, NHS Digital said.
Queen carries out royal duties despite record heat
13:16 , Elly Blake
The Queen carried on with her royal duties during the heatwave despite the UK facing its hottest day on record.
The monarch, 96, welcomed the new US ambassador Jane Hartley from the safety of inside Windsor Castle during the virtual audience on Tuesday.
Chatting with the American diplomat, the head of state was pictured on screen in her sitting room.
Motorists urged to check tyres amid soaring temperatures
13:18 , Elly Blake
Drivers are being urged to check their tyres as temperatures continue to rise across the UK.
Independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has said that drivers should be carrying out tread and pressure checks on their tyres as issues such as bubbling or punctures could be seriously exacerbated by intense heat.
Rebecca Ashton, head of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “In the midst of a UK and European heatwave, it’s vital that we do all we can to protect our health and wellbeing.
“While things like limiting your sun exposure and staying hydrated are perhaps more obvious aspects to staying safe, an often-overlooked exercise is checking your car.”
Firefighters tackling two simultaneous grass fires in Croydon
13:24 , Elly Blake
Firefighters are tackling two simultaneous grass fires in Croydon as the heatwave continues.
Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters are currently dealing with a fire in the woodlands on Oaks Road in Croydon. The Brigade was called at 1207.
Another four fire engines are also dealing with a grass fire on Chapel View in South Croydon, where around one hectare of woodland is currently alight. The Brigade was called at 1220.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The recent hot, dry weather has made the ground extremely dry, which unfortunately means grassland and parks will burn quickly when exposed to even the smallest of sparks.
“Common causes of grass fires include carelessly discarded cigarettes or matches as well as rubbish left lying around such as glass bottles, which can start flames by magnifying the sun’s rays.
“Every one of us can help reduce the risk of fire and keep our communities clean, make sure rubbish is safely thrown away and cigarettes are always properly disposed of.
“If you see a grass fire, don’t attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can travel very quickly and change direction without warning. If you see signs of smouldering grass then call the Brigade and let us know where the fire is.”
Pictured: People flock to beaches during hottest day on record
13:34 , Elly Blake
As of 1pm, temperatures exceed 40C for first time ever
13:35 , Elly Blake
The temperature has risen above 40C for the first time in the UK’s history, according to provisional Met Office figures.
The mercury hit a record 40.2C at London Heathrow by 1pm.
Two boys in hospital after being rescued from sea in Blackpool
13:36 , Elly Blake
Two boys are in hospital after being pulled from the sea at Blackpool on Monday, Lancashire Police said.
The boys, aged 12 and 14, were pulled from the sea near Central Pier by two teenage girls at about 6pm and give CPR by security staff before being taken by ambulance to hospital, a force spokesman said.
Police said the 14-year-old boy is in a critical but stable condition at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and the 12-year-old is at Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he is described as poorly, but not critical.
Superintendent Chris Hardy said: “This incident once again shows all too clearly the dangers that open water can present and I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for the brave and swift actions of the two girls who helped pull these boys from the water, and the security staff who gave CPR, that we would have been dealing with at least one fatality.
“Over the last couple of weeks we have very sadly seen a number of youngsters across the country who have died after getting into difficulty in open water and a number of families left bereaved.
“As this very warm weather continues, at least in the short term, I would again plead with people to enjoy the beach but to respect the water and take care around swimming in the sea, especially if you aren’t prepared or are not a strong swimmer.”
Still one person missing after group gets in trouble swimming in Clacton
13:37 , Elly Blake
Mr Brown said Tendring District Council beach patrol staff attended the incident along with two Clacton RNLI boats.
“Pier staff helped keep four afloat with the rings which they had on a rope, and they were obviously holding onto the rope at the other end with people on the ring at the bottom,” he said.
“My understanding is one person was missing.
“The group that were in the water were very worried about one person they couldn’t see and were saying ‘there’s one missing’.
“As far as I know that person’s still missing, they’ve had the helicopter up.”
He said it was “difficult to tell their ages” and he believed it was a “mixed group of ages”.
He said the people he saw pulled from the water “looked late teens early 20s, some of them were fully clothed”.
Pictured: People cool off at Serpentine in Hyde Park
13:46 , Elly Blake
‘Urgent action to cut emissions must be taken’: Climate groups respond to record heat
14:04 , Elly Blake
Environmental groups responded to the UK recording a temperature of more than 40C for the first time by warning that the candidates for the Tory leadership must prioritise tackling the climate crisis.
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said: “As communities across the UK face unprecedented temperatures, the government’s climate strategy was yesterday found to be unlawful and inadequate in the courts.
“Candidates vying for Conservative Party leadership cannot ignore the vital importance of curbing the climate and nature crises.
“We need climate action that goes further, and faster, so that the next generation has a world left to inherit.”
Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said: “It’s clear to everyone that urgent action to cut emissions must be taken, but the four Tory candidates are staying conspicuously quiet on the matter.
“This life-threatening heat is just a taster of what’s to come unless the next Prime Minister delivers the concrete policies that will transition the UK away from fossil fuels, cut bills, boost cheap renewables and green our homes.
“Failure to do so won’t just lose the Conservatives votes at the next election – it will threaten the future of our society as we know it.”
The Melt line: 1.5m Londoners brave the Tube and bus as heatwave hits new record
14:15 , Elly Blake
More than a million Londoners braved the Tube or bus on Tuesday morning.
There were 1.03m entries and exits on the Underground by 10am – suggesting just over 500,000 people made a Tube journey, despite advice to only travel if “essential”.
In addition, there were 1.04m bus trips by the same time, showing how many Londoners were unable to work from home, despite the heat. A record 40.2C was recorded at Heathrow at 12.50pm on Tuesday, the Met Office said.
By lunchtime on Tuesday, there were “severe delays” on five Tube lines – the Bakerloo, Central, District, Metropolitan and Piccadilly – while the Hammersmith and City line was shut for the second successive day.
Read the full article here.
Richmond Council issues warning about river dangers following Thames tragedy
14:26 , Elly Blake
Richmond Council has issues warning about the river dangers of swimming in the Thames after a young boy drowned on Monday.
A 14-year-old boy is believed to have drowned after getting into difficulty in the Thames on Monday afternoon.
Councillor Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council, said the incident was “heartbreaking”.
He said: “We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic drowning of a young boy in the Thames in Hampton yesterday. Our thoughts are with his parents, family and friends.
“It is heart-breaking that we have reached the point where a young boy has lost his life and a family have lost their son. If there is one thing to come out of this tragedy, I hope it is that people will finally realise the true dangers of this river and do what they can to make sure this never happens again.”
Giving a warning about the dangers of the water, he continued: “The Thames is a dangerous river. It is has a strong current, with houseboats in many areas, as well as moving river traffic, that pose dangers to anyone swimming in the river.
“It is full of debris including sharp metal, shopping trollies and other items that can cause serious risk to life if hit.
“There is also a risk of cold water shock, as parts of the Thames remain very cool even in this hot weather.”
At around 4.45pm on Monday, police were alerted by the London Ambulance Service to reports that a child had been seen to enter the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton.
Officers responded with paramedics and the London Fire Brigade.
An extensive search was carried out involving all three emergency services and members of the public.
Very sadly, efforts to locate the boy were unsuccessful and at 6.40pm, the rescue operation was brought to an end.
Fire breaks out on Dartford Marshes during extreme heat
14:36 , Elly Blake
A fire has broken out on Dartford Marshes in Kent as temperatures exceeded 40C for the first time ever.
Crews working to extinguish fire in Dartford
14:37 , Elly Blake
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is in attendance at the scene of a field fire near Durrell Dene, in Joyce Green, Dartford.
Twelve fire engines have been sent to the area, where crews are working to extinguish the fire. The technical rescue unit is also in attendance.
People driving on the A2 and nearby roads are advised to take care, due to smoke coming from the incident, which may impact visibility.
Grant Shapps: We’re going to see these events more frequently
14:40 , Elly Blake
Britain must “keep ramping up the specification” of its railways to cope with extreme temperatures, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
He told the PA news agency: “We probably have the most resilient rail network we’ve ever built, ever had.
“But because the spec (specification) has been minus 10 degrees to plus 35 degrees – and we’re now suffering 40 degrees plus – clearly we need to keep ramping up the specification.
“But as new lines go in, as new overhead cables go in, all of that is now spec’d at a higher level than it would have been when those electric cables originally went in.
“We need to drive up the standards. We’re going to see these events more frequently, and as a result we need to be ready.”
Fans, paddling pools and burgers fly off the shelves in heatwave shopping spree
14:52 , Elly Blake
Sales of fans, ice cream, paddling pools and burgers rocketed as the heatwave sparked a spending spree on summer essentials.
Waitrose has had its biggest week for ice creams, with sales up 36% year on year, while John Lewis’s sales of fans and air conditioning units are up 709 per cent year-on-year.
Asda sold at least 4.5 million sausages and 1.4 million burgers last week, while charcoal sales increased by 400 per cent.
Sales of ready-to-drink spirits in Asda were up 72 per cent compared to an average week, while fan sales increased by 1,300 per cent.
Asda said its paddling pool range saw sales increase by 1,000 per cent compared to the same time the previous week.
Waitrose said sales of premium ice cream are up 45 per cent year-on-year.
Joe Sharkey, ice cream buyer for Waitrose, said: “Our ice creams and lollies are continuing to fly off the shelves, as our customers are looking for ways to keep cool.
“We’ve had our biggest week of ice cream sales ever last week, with sales up by 36% compared to last year – and we’ve still got good availability to help customers beat the heat.”
Morrisons said last week was its biggest week for ice cream sales in more than five years, while bags of ice are up 50 per cent year-on-year.
London Fire Brigade declares major incident after surge in fire across capital
15:17 , Elly Blake
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has just declared a major incident in response to a huge surge in fires across the capital on Tuesday.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “This is critical: @LondonFire is under immense pressure.
“Please be safe. I’m in touch with the Commissioner and will share updates when I have them.”
He also gave the following advice to Londoners to not have BBQs on grass or balconies, not leave broken bottles or glass on the grass and to dispose of cigarettes safely.
Mr Khan continued: “Report a fire as soon as you see one Don’t take risks. Stay safe in the heat.”
It comes as around 100 firefighters are tackling a huge blaze in east London.
Thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air, with buildings and fields on fire on Tuesday afternoon in the village of Wennington.
The LFB said 15 fire engines and around 100 firefighters were called to the scene at just after 1pm.
Firefighters are also tackling a grass fire in Croydon.
100 firefighters tackle huge blaze in Wennington amid 40C heat
15:19 , Elly Blake
Around 100 firefighters are tackling a huge blaze in east London.
Television footage showed thick black smoke billowing into the air, with buildings and fields on fire on Tuesday afternoon in the village of Wennington.
London Fire Brigade said 15 fire engines and around 100 firefighters were called to the scene at just after 1pm.
It came as temperatures in the area hit around 40C amid the heatwave blasting the nation.
At least one home appeared to be completely destroyed in the blaze, while smoke covered a wide area.
Nearby fields were seen to be scorched.
The fire brigade said on Twitter: “We’ve got 15 fire engines and around 100 firefighters dealing with this blaze on The Green in #Wennington.”
Avanti West Coast suspends all services due to heatwave
15:28 , Elly Blake
Avanti West Coast has suspended all services due to the extreme heat.
They are telling people to avoid railway stations.
In a tweet, they said: “Extreme Heat: All services stopped. Do not come to the station.
“Due to the extreme heat causing multiple incidents across the network, all Avanti West Coast services have now been withdrawn for the rest of today - Tuesday 19 July.”
Customers are being advised that any tickets will be valid for travel on Wednesday, or Thursday, or they will be able to claim a refund.
Temperatures have now risen above 40C at a number of UK sites
15:54 , Elly Blake
The Met Office said: “Temperatures have now risen above 40C at a number of UK sites, however fresher conditions are now arriving across the far west of the country.”
At 3pm, Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, had equalled the 40.2C seen at Heathrow.
The temperature at Kew Gardens, in south-west London, had risen to 40.1C.
Passenger numbers 40 per cent lower compared with last week, according to Network Rail
16:08 , Elly Blake
Network Rail said passenger numbers today were around 40 per cent lower than during the same day last week.
There is a lineside fire in Harrow, north-west London.
Overhead electric wires are down in Rugby, Birmingham and Carlisle, leading to a number of trains being trapped.
Emergency evacuations of passengers are ongoing.
London Fire Brigade battling ‘several significant’ incidents in capital
16:21 , Elly Blake
London Fire Brigade (LFB) has declared a major incident due to “a huge surge” in blazes across the capital amid the 40C heat.
The fire brigade said in a statement it is battling “several significant” incidents in the capital, as people have been urged not to have barbecues or bonfires due to the “unprecedented” challenges crews face.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said LFB is under “immense pressure”.
LFB’s assistant commissioner for operational resilience and control, Patrick Goulbourne, said: “The brigade remains ready to respond to incidents.
“However, we want to ensure our resources are available for people who really need our help.
“If you see a fire smouldering, please don’t hesitate to call us.
“The sooner we know about a fire, the sooner we can bring it under control and prevent it from spreading further, reducing the need for us to mobilise additional resources.
“We are also strongly urging people not to have barbecues or bonfires today as the ground is incredibly dry, which means even the smallest sparks could cause a fire.
“Please take care during the heatwave as all emergency services are facing unprecedented challenges.”
Fans feel the heat at Chester-le-Street as England stars struggle under the sun
16:24 , Elly Blake
Fans, players and staff were feeling the effects of sweltering 37-degree heat as safety concerns emerged during England’s first one-day international against South Africa at Chester-le-Street.
On a day of record-breaking temperatures, the soaring heat was taking its toll on the Royal London Series opener, with England ODI debutant Matthew Potts leaving the field after a four-over spell after feeling the effects of the oppressive conditions.
But while regular drinks breaks, complete with ice packs, wet towels and parasols, helped keep the show on the road in the middle, it was a different story around the ground.
While the game was a 16,000 sell-out there were hundreds of empty seats as the Proteas built their first innings score, with scores of fans leaving the venue early and others heading to shaded areas at the back of the stands in search of respite. Many were seen lying down in gaps between the stands and others against walls.
Host county Durham reacted by setting up additional ‘cool rooms’ indoors, though fans were required to queue for access. A number of supporters were also seen fainting, with medical services on site to assist.
With long lines also building around the designated water refill stations, numerous Durham staff were despatched around the ground with gallon containers of water to help. Workers were also being monitored to check that breaks were being scheduled and that those indoors had sufficient ventilation.
A spokesperson for the England and Wales Cricket Board said the governing body was assessing the safety situation of fans alongside Durham counterparts, with no suggestion so far that the game was in any doubt.
Major incident declared in Leicestershire
16:43 , Miriam Burrell
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue have declared a major incident due to high demand across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“We will not be attending Automatic Fire alarms. Please only call us if it’s an emergency,” it said on Twitter.
It comes after a major incident was declared in London due to “a huge surge” in blazes.
Coningsby reaches 40.3C
16:50 , Miriam Burrell
The hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK is now 40.3C, in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
It has surpassed today’s earlier record high of 40.2C, recorded in Heathrow.
Body found in search for teen
16:56 , Miriam Burrell
Abody has been found in the search for a 14-year-old boy who went missing after getting into difficulty in the Thames in Richmond.
The teenager is believed to have entered the water to “cool off” during the heatwave on Monday when temperatures reached more than 37C.
Read more here.
Pictured: Wennington fire
17:03 , Miriam Burrell
Firefighters tackle a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London.
Read more here.
29 record temperatures across UK
17:07 , Miriam Burrell
At least 29 observation sites across England have provisionally broken 2019’s previous UK record temperature of 38.7C, from Bramham, in West Yorkshire, to Charlwood, in Surrey, the Met Office said.
Meawhile a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms across northeast England and a part of southern Scotland for Tuesday evening has been issued by the Met Office.
The warning, which is in place between 4pm and 8pm, warns “thunderstorms could bring disruption this afternoon from lightning strikes and strong, gusty winds”.
400 calls an hour to London Ambulance
17:10 , Miriam Burrell
London Ambulance Service said it received more than 6,600 calls on Monday - around 400 calls an hour at the busiest times.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of patients experiencing heat exposure, breathing difficulties, dizziness and fainting so it is very important for people to continue to take care in this extreme heat.
“Please stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water. If you have to go out, wear sun screen, carry water with you and try to stick to the shade.
“With temperatures hitting record highs today and staying high during the night, please do check in on vulnerable friends and family including the elderly and isolated.”
No trains out of King’s Cross or Euston
17:16 , Miriam Burrell
Network Rail said there are no trains services out of London King’s Cross or London Euston on Tuesday afternoon.
“Absolutely do not travel north out of London,” it warned.
13 people died in open water
17:21 , Miriam Burrell
At least 13 people have died in open water over the heatwave period.
It’s feared that the toll may climb as schools break up for the summer holidays.
At least four people under the age of 17 have died in open water since Saturday, with the youngest confirmed as 13-year-old Robert Hattersley, who got into difficulties in the River Tyne near Ovingham, Northumberland on Sunday.
New record temperature for Scotland
17:45 , Miriam Burrell
A new provisional maximum temperature has been set for Scotland today - 34.8C in Carterhall in the Scottish Borders.
It beats the previous record of 32.9C recorded in Greycrook in August 2003.
The Met Office said the highest provisional temperature recorded in Wales so far on Tuesday was 36.2C at Hawarden Airport.
Boris Johnson thanks firefighters
17:53 , Miriam Burrell
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked firefighters and frontline workers as they battle a multitude of fires and heat-related incidents.
“I urge everyone to continue to follow the advice from emergency services,” he said.
Pictured: Heatwave in London
18:00 , Miriam Burrell
Sadiq Khan: No BBQs, no waterway swimming
18:08 , Miriam Burrell
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News that “we simply can’t cope with number of fires across our city”.
He urged people not to use barbeques tonight, or swim in canals or rivers, and for smokers to be careful with cigarettes.
He said on a normal day the London Fire Brigade would receive around 300 calls for assistance, but today they have received more than 1600 calls for assistance.
Wennington fire: “Absolute hell”
18:18 , Miriam Burrell
Residents have been evacuated from their homes in the village of Wennington, east London, while flames destroyed buildings and ravaged nearby fields.
A firefighter at the scene, asked by the PA news agency what conditions were like, replied: “absolute hell”.
It was among numerous fires being tackled in London on Tuesday afternoon:
– 30 fire engines dealing with a grass fire on Pea Lane in Upminster
– 12 fire engines tackling a fire involving garden fencing and trees on Uxbridge Road in Pinner
– 10 fire engines tackling a restaurant fire on Green Lanes in Southgate
– Eight fire engines tackling a grass fire on Oaks Road in Croydon
– Eight fire engines tackling a grass fire on Ballards Road in Dagenham
– Eight fire engines tackling a fire on The Broadway in Wembley
– Six fire engines tackling a grass fire on Sunningfields Crescent in Hendon
– Four fire engines tackling a grass fire on Chapel View in Croydon
– Four fire engines tackling a fire on Sidcup Road in Eltham
Watch: Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in rainy Cornwall
18:44 , Miriam Burrell
Despite record-hot temperatures across much of the country, Prince Charles and Camilla managed to arrive in rain at Cornwall.
They were handed umbrellas as they greeted crowds. The couple are on a three-day tour of the West Country.
No services at London St Pancras
18:59 , Miriam Burrell
No trains are running out of London King’s Cross, Euston or St Prancras International stations, National Rail said on Tuesday afternoon.
A very limited service is running out of London Marylebone. Ticketholders are eligible for refunds.
Temperatures to drop
19:04 , Miriam Burrell
Temperatures are set to drop rapidly overnight with rain and even thunderstorms forecast on Wednesday in some places.
London is set to drop from a high of 39C on Tuesday to 27C, with heavy showers and thunderstorms expected to bring disruption during Wednesday afternoon.
The 34 places in England which beat 2019’s hottest UK temperature record
19:16 , Robert Dex
In July 2019, a new record for a maximum temperature recorded in the UK was set at the Botanic Garden in Cambridge.
The 38.7C outstripped the 38.5C seen in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003. The Cambridge University-run Garden was the only place to beat the Kent record.
But on Tuesday, Cambridge’s record was smashed at Coningsby in Lincolnshire and 33 other locations across England.
Five other places levelled the Cambridge record.
Here is the full list and the times they exceeded the record from the Met Office:
1512: Coningsby, Lincolnshire – 40.3
1220: Heathrow, west London – 40.2
1355: St James’s Park, central London – 40.2
1526: Gringley-on-the-Hill, Nottinghamshire – 40.1
1228: Kew Gardens, south west London – 40.1
1239: Northolt, west London 40.0
1329: Niab in Cambridge – 39.9
1106: Charlwood, Surrey – 39.9
1405: Cranwell, Lincolnshire – 39.9
1530: Scampton, Lincolnshire – 39.9
1437: Wittering, Cambridgeshire – 39.9
1502: Bramham, West Yorkshire – 39.8
1455: Monks Wood, Cambridgeshire – 39.8
1407: Watnall, Nottinghamshire – 39.8
1319: Bushey Park, Teddington, south west London – 39.6
1508: Topcliffe North Yorkshire – 39.6
1349: Woburn, Bedfordshire – 39.6
1435: Bedford, Bedfordshire – 39.5
1550: Normanby Hall, North Lincolnshire – 39.4
1359: Sheffield, South Yorkshire – 39.4
1428: Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire – 39.4
1117: Wisely, Surrey – 39.3
1139: Chertsey, Surrey – 39.2
1339: Marham, Norfolk – 39.2
1412: Holbeach, Lincolnshire – 39.1
1401: Ryhill, West Yorkshire – 39.1
1315: Writtle, Essex – 39.1
1247: Santon Downham, Suffolk – 39.0
1308: Wellesbourne, Warwickshire – 39.0
1355: Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire – 38.9
1220: Iver, Buckinhamshire – 38.9
1304: Coleshill, Warwickshire – 38.8
1324: High Beach, Essex – 38.8
1457: Leeming, North Yorkshire – 38.8
And the places which levelled with the Botanic Gardens’ 2019 record were:
1316: Benson, Oxfordshire – 38.7
1356: Church Lawford, Warwickshire – 38.7
1326: Coundon, Coventry, West Midlands – 38.7
1402: Houghton Hall, Norfolk – 38.7
1310: Stowe, Buckinghamshire – 38.7
Ambulance staff caring for people on scene at Dagenham
19:24 , Robert Dex
London Ambulance Service said it was in Dagenham working with firefighters and caring “for a small number of patients at the scene”.
Home Secretary praises emergency services
21:18 , Robert Dex
Priti Patel has paid tribute to fire services after the sweltering heat fuelled blazes across the UK.
The Home Secretary said in a statement: “I have just been updated on the national fire situation. With dangerous fires burning across the country, I continue to urge the public to follow all safety advice from their local fire service, and stay safe.
“I pay tribute to the professionalism and skill of our fire services, who are working in difficult conditions to protect lives and communities.
“Please continue to follow all advice from your local emergency services.”
Fire Brigade do not know full extent of fire damage in east London yet
21:19 , Robert Dex
Firefighters are unaware of the full extent of the damage caused by blazes which affected houses, schools and churches across London, with crews describing scenes as “absolute hell”.
Residents were being evacuated from their homes and people were taken to hospital amid fires in the capital as temperatures soared to more than 40C on Tuesday afternoon.
Two “large-scale” incidents took place in Upminster and the village of Wennington, east London, where black smoke billowed into the air, while flames destroyed buildings and ravaged nearby fields.
Several other significant incidents also occurred, with people urged not to have barbecues or bonfires due to the “unprecedented” challenges crews face.
22:25 , Robert Dex
That’s the end of our coverage today. Thank you for reading.