Here’s how the UK’s hottest day on record went

Here's how the UK's hottest day on record went
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North London's Hampstead Heath swimming pools drew residents on Tuesday during Britain's historic heat wave.  (James Forde for The Washington Post)
North London’s Hampstead Heath swimming pools drew residents on Tuesday during Britain’s historic heat wave. (James Forde for The Washington Post)


LONDON – Then Hottest day in BritainWith temperatures soaring above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, we found locals huddled near the refrigerated section of the Marks & Spencer grocer at Marylebone train station.

“I’ve been standing here for 10 minutes,” said Andy Martin, 28, a video technician. “Don’t tell anyone.”

This is not normal here. This kind of heat. This heat wave.

The country’s meteorological service has at least released information about it 34 places In England, the previous high temperature exceeded 40 degrees, with large areas of south-east and central England. This hell is 104 Fahrenheit.

On July 19, a fire broke out in Dagenham, East London, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 Fahrenheit. (Video: Narrative)

Britain is not designed for this. In the country’s homes and shops, train stations and carriages, schools and offices – very, very few have air conditioning.

Has the British Isles ever been this hot in human history? Maybe not.

On this signal day, there was a kind of commotion and panic in the capital. It was windy, but not typical of the Mediterranean, in Sicily, but in Southampton, the wind rustling summer leaves and giving it a dry sirocco feel as people stumbled from one shade to another as emergency crews busied themselves stripping heat-sufferers. off the sidewalks.

Stepping inside some of the hottest houses in England on the hottest day was like stepping into a steam room.

The reporters of The Washington Post entered some apartments in the Chalcots Estate, located in the north-east of London, they were greeted by thick heat.

“Can you feel it? It’s very hot,” said Mandy Ryan, who works as a resident association representative.

He walked into the living room and pointed to a ceiling fan whose blades were spinning slowly, accusing the appliance of being useless.

“It doesn’t do anything,” he said.

Like many residents of the high-rise tower block north of Regent’s Park, it has spectacular views of the London skyline.

Visualizing a European heat wave with melting ice cream

She also has a wonderful collection of cuckoo clocks and ceramic dog ornaments. But the most noticeable thing in her house on Tuesday was the soupy weather.

Bonnie, his Labradoodle, panted heavily at his feet.

“We’re not having leg of lamb for dinner tonight,” he joked, nodding to his unused oven.

John Szymanska, originally from Poland, plastered and painted a flat in Hampstead, North London.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said, sweating. “But what can you do?” – he asked. “It’s getting hotter everywhere.”

Why is this European heat wave so scary?

Unlike some immigrants who said they saw the British as weak in this heat, Szymanska expressed her sympathy. “I feel for them. They are not used to it.”

Chalcots Estate butcher and hip-hop artist Paul Rafis, 38, was struggling.

The sofa bed was covered with fur. He explained that Wise the dog shed a lot. Not that Rafis sleeps much.

“When it’s hot, you suffer in these blocks,” he said.

In his 15th-floor studio apartment, Rafis was worried the fridge might catch fire – so he turned it off for four hours and dumped the food in the fridge.

Some experts have said that the 2017 fire near Grenfell Tower, which killed 72 people, was caused by overheating of wires in a fridge-freezer.

“Nothing in the house is used to this weather,” said Rafis, touching the refrigerator, which felt warm again after plugging in.

Europe is sizzling in a record heatwave as thousands flee wildfires

The London Underground, the Tube, can be very hot and no line has a worse reputation than the Bakerloo.

Labor MP Karen Buck said: “Anyone who enjoys paddling rivers of molten lava should make themselves at home on the Bakerloo line.” he tweeted.

We entered Charing Cross station with some trepidation. There were industrial-sized fans forcing air into the narrow passageways, but the cave-like, deep underground platforms contained pockets of cool air.

Inside the wagons, he was quite ripe.

For Angel Rodriquez, a Hispanic kitchen worker on his afternoon prep shift, the ride wasn’t as bad as he imagined.

It wasn’t philosophical, though. “We are all here,” he said, adding that climate change will only intensify and make things worse. He nodded as he remembered where the headlines came from large forest fires They consumed parts of Spain.

Spain has been ravaged by forest fires amid record-breaking heat

The streets in London were not empty, but they were definitely quiet, even though the windows of the city were covered with curtains to keep out the sun. The royal parks and their long lawns were mostly empty, except for a few hardy souls spread out in the shade of the trees.

The Lido, a public swimming pool on Parliament Hill, had a long queue waiting to get in. In the water, the children splashed with joy as the lifeguards whistled.

The playgrounds at Chalcots Estate were childless. Authorities even urged healthy young people and their parents to stay at home.

Some residents told The Post they had installed air conditioning – only 3 per cent of British homes have it – or bought simple fans. Most of them just drank cold liquids and avoided the sun.

A few, though a minority, said they welcomed the heat.

“I’m sweating, but I love it,” said Chantal Peters, 43, a mother of six.

He said things were worse two years ago when temperatures soared during the pandemic lockdown. “The weather was 34C, we were closed. Now that it was hot. It was disgusting.”

Sean Walsh, who works in sales, was visiting his 71-year-old mother, who lived in the apartment upstairs. Her daughter took a leave of absence from school because of the heat.

He called the weather conditions “brutal”.

“It’s uncomfortable and hot here, and this country is not designed for this heat,” he said. “The environment is changing and people forget that. All this concrete, in any big city, is a heat sink. Freddy would be blind not to read the research and see that this is going to happen and we have to adapt. “

Especially in tall buildings that radiate heat. “It’s multiplying,” Walsh said.

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