Sizzling Saturday: UK’s Record-Setting September Heatwave
Britons Embrace the Heatwave
As the UK experiences its longest September heatwave on record, Britons are gearing up for a weekend filled with outdoor activities and summer indulgences. The mercury is set to soar to 33°C (91.4°F), enticing people to fire up their barbecues, head to the beaches, and enjoy outdoor swimming. This remarkable weather phenomenon has led to a surge in demand for summer food and drink products, with Tesco estimating an increase of up to 80% compared to mid-July.
Historic Heatwave Streak
The UK is currently witnessing an unprecedented stretch of hot weather in September, with temperatures consistently exceeding 30°C (86°F) for several consecutive days. This extraordinary heatwave began on Monday and is expected to persist for a total of seven days, culminating on Sunday. Families across the country are seizing this opportunity to book outdoor activities like lidos, waterparks, and swimming pools to make the most of what might be the final burst of summer.
Barbecue Frenzy and Summertime Delights
Many are opting to celebrate the warmth with a classic British barbecue. Tesco predicts the sale of two million packs of sausages, half a million packs of burgers, two million punnets of strawberries, 5.5 million ice creams or lollies, 8,500 bottles of Pimms, seven million beer bottles or cans, 700,000 packs of ice cubes, and 5.5 million bottles of wine this week alone. This surge in demand reflects the collective desire to savor the last vestiges of summer.
Weather Records in Sight
This remarkable heatwave has the potential to break several weather records. Notably, it has already become the longest streak of consecutive days with temperatures above 30°C (86°F) in September. The highest daily temperature recorded in September, dating back to 1906, stands at 35.6°C (96.1°F) and is unlikely to be surpassed. However, the possibility of setting new records for the warmest day of the year and the highest number of September days above 30°C looms large.
Sales Soar for Cooling Essentials
With the scorching temperatures, sales of essential cooling items have seen a significant uptick. Toolstation reported a 1,704% increase in sales of cooling fans and a 465% rise in water sprinklers compared to the previous week. Additionally, hoses have seen an 88% surge. On a somewhat unusual note, sales of heated blankets have also risen by 192% week on week.
Safety Warnings and Precautions
While many are relishing the heat, there are important safety concerns. The British Veterinary Association is urging pet owners to ensure their animals have access to water, ventilation, and shade. The RNLI has issued warnings about riptides after conducting rescues, emphasizing the need for precautions when swimming in the sea. Some councils have even prepared sand to spread on roads to prevent tarmac from melting due to the extreme heat.
A Weekend of Heat and Thunder
While the heatwave persists, there is anticipation of heavy thundery showers on Sunday across England and Wales. These storms are expected to bring a significant drop in temperatures, potentially around 10°C (50°F), marking the end of the extraordinary heatwave. By early next week, a return to a more typical weather pattern with sunshine and showers is forecasted, with temperatures settling back to the low 20s°C (70s°F) in southern areas and the high teens°C (60s°F) in the west and north.
Sadiq Khan’s Emergency Response
In response to the heatwave, Sadiq Khan has activated London’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, typically reserved for freezing conditions in winter. This measure aims to provide support and accommodation for homeless individuals during extreme weather.
Meteorologists attribute this heatwave to tropical storms pushing a high-pressure system over the UK, while the jet stream has shifted northward, creating an omega blocking pattern. This pattern, named after the Greek letter omega due to its shape, traps high pressure between two low-pressure areas to the west and east, resulting in hot and dry conditions for the UK.