Heatwave to hit UK and Ireland this week triggers health alert

Temperatures in the east of the country are expected to he highest
Temperatures in the east of the country are expected to he highest

A heatwave is set to hit the UK parts of Ireland, sending temperatures soaring into the 30s in places and triggering a health alert.

The Met Office said there was an "80% probability" of heatwave conditions between noon tomorrow and 6am on Thursday in parts of England.

The forecast triggered a 'Level 2' alert with the Met Office warning: "Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease."

A spokesman said: "Temperatures are expected to build on Tuesday and into Wednesday, with the hottest day of the year so far expected on successive days this working week."

Here in Ireland, temperatures are expected to reach into the low 20s today with some patchy light rain and drizzle in places. These will become heavier in areas later on in the evening. 

Tuesday will be dry at first in the east and midland areas with some warm sunshine along with high temperatures of 22 to 25C. There'll be a chance of a few showers in the afternoon, Met Eireann said. 

It will be cloudier and cooler in the west and southwest with outbreaks of light rain or drizzle and temperatures around 18 to 20C.

Wednesday is expected to an absolute scorcher with temperatures expected to reach into the mid-20s in places.

Temperatures are expected to be highest in the east where they are expected to surpass 25C for the first time so far this year. 

Thursday and Friday will be cooler but temperatures are expected to remain in the low 20s. 

In the UK, Wednesday is likely to be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures soaring to 33C (91F).

A Met Office spokesman said temperatures will drop again on Thursday when severe thunderstorms are likely to hit central and western parts of the country, before climbing again ahead of the weekend.

The heatwave is caused by a warm front and tropical continental air mass from Europe pushing across the country - bringing with it high temperatures and humidity.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, said the high temperatures could be "dangerous" for vulnerable groups.

He said: "Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it's important to look out for them - help them stay hydrated with plenty of cool drinks, and keep indoor areas as cool as possible."

The medical director of West Midlands Ambulance Service, Dr Andrew Carson, warned that those with respiratory illnesses should stay indoors.

He said: "A prolonged heatwave poses a real danger to those patients with emphysema, asthma and long-term breathing problems.

"The hot weather makes breathing difficult, even for healthy individuals. That's why we suggest people with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors as much as possible."

The Met Office issued a Level 2 Heat-Health alert, warning that there is a 60% or greater chance of temperatures being high enough to affect health. The Met Office said the mercury could rise to 33C (91F) in London on Wednesday, and reach the high 20s in Scotland and northern England.

Paul Knightley, the forecast manager at MeteoGroup, said temperatures could reach 35C (95F) on Wednesday as the tropical continental air mass moves from north Africa, Spain and Portugal to Britain - possibly making it the hottest day for several years.

He also warned that the sun was "about as strong as it can be" and UV levels will be quite high.