The Aftermath of Britain’s Heatwaves

Satellite image showing effect of the heatwave over Britain and north-east Europe

Britain reached the hottest day of the year so far on the 26th of July, with sources claiming temperatures reaching a scorching 35.1C in the South of England. But is the heatwave finally over?

With thunderstorms rolling in over the North East of England and Scotland’s East, it is safe to say that the hot weather is slowly beginning to fizzle out. Thunderstorms are relatively common during or after a period of particularly warm weather, due to there being an abundance of warm air and moisture, two elements that are necessary for storms to develop. In addition, a yellow warning has also been issued for the East of England, warning of potential flooding, lightning, and strong winds. These have already caused countless disruption for passengers on flights, Eurotunnel trains and ferries, with rail passengers on the East coast mainline facing disruption after signalling received damage from lightning strikes.

Rain will be a welcome relief for farmers, who are struggling to raise crops due to the lack of weather, resulting in smaller yields of fruit and vegetables, and causing prices to rise. The warm weather has also seen several reservoirs up and down the country become almost devoid of water, resulting in Irish water imposing a hosepipe ban on their customers, and United Utilities planning to introduce a ban on the 5th of August to prevent water shortages. Customers are also being urged to use water conservatively by both customers, which includes avoiding taking long showers, using a washing up bowl instead of a dishwasher, and not washing their cars.

As previously reported, high temperatures last month around a similar date also resulted in Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill suffering from wildfires that spread quickly across the landscape. Although both fires are, thankfully, no longer burning, it has had a devastating effect on the moorland, resulting in seedbeds being unable to grow, thus making them unsuitable for sheep to graze on. Countless animals are also thought to have perished in the blaze, and it is unknown what sort of knock-on effect this will have on the local ecosystem.

It is difficult to tell what factors contributed towards the recent heatwaves, with many believing that climate change is a contributing factor, with researchers comparing temperatures with records set as far back as the early 1900s. However, there is no definitive proof that the heatwave was caused by climate change, although Scientists from the World Weather Attribution Group plan to publish their findings in a scientific journal later this year.

Regardless of its cause, the detrimental effects of such weather have been clearly observed over the past months, and one can only hope that none of these tragedies repeat themselves again during the Summer of next year.

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