Health alert as Britain swelters

There were sweltering temperatures in parts of Britain today as the first heat-health alert of the summer came into force.



There were warnings that high humidity and a lack of breeze - even at night - could make life difficult for the elderly, young and those with underlying health problems.



Motoring organisations also warned drivers to give their vehicles a health check as breakdowns are likely to soar.



Temperatures recorded this afternoon placed Norwich as the hottest place in Britain with 30C (86F) recorded at its weather station.



Just behind was Writtle, in Essex, at 29.7C (85.5F).



St James' Park, in central London, and Gravesend, Kent, basked at 28.9C (84F).



Temperatures may go even higher across East Anglia and south-east England today and tomorrow but it is not the hot sunshine during the day that people need to be wary of, but roasting night-time temperatures of at least 20C (68F).



Wayne Elliott, head of health forecasting at the Met Office, said: "While there is the possibility of daytime temperatures reaching trigger thresholds, it is the night time values which are of real concern.



"High humidity and the lack of any breeze could make matters worse for people with underlying health problems."



The Met Office's heat warning is level 2 on its four level warning scale.



It relates to how likely temperatures will exceed "threshold" levels that trigger health concerns - typically 30C during the day and 15C at night.



The NHS advises to keep cool by wearing loose cotton clothes, spraying or splashing faces and the backs of necks with cold water several times a day and staying in the coolest rooms of the home as much as possible.



Windows should be kept closed when the room is cooler than it is outside.



Michelle Mitchell, Age UK charity director, asked people with an older relative or neighbour to check that they are coping with the heatwave.



"Our bodies are less able to cope with hot weather as we get older so it is extremely important that older people take sensible precautions during a heatwave, particularly if they are on medication," she said.



"During successive hot days it is important that older people are able to cool down in the evening and at night."



She suggested older people may wish to stay indoors or in the shade, keep homes shaded and well-ventilated, drink more non-alcoholic drinks, take cool baths or showers and continue to eat to replace the salt lost through sweat.



The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) today urged people to take care if cooling off in rivers and lakes and, where possible, to swim at properly-supervised sites.



Accidental drownings tend to increase during hot spells and Peter Cornall, head of leisure safety at Rospa, said: "River and lake swimming as part of a properly-organised activity is very different to the more ad hoc occasions when people take to the water to cool off, perhaps on the spur of the moment.



"If you choose not to go to a properly-supervised site, then think through the various hazards first and make sure you know what to do if anything goes wrong."



Breakdowns also increase in hot weather and the AA today reminded motorists to check their car's cooling system.



Steve Dewey, AA road operations director, said: "We tend to notice that for every degree above 23C, there is a noticeable increase in our breakdown workload, so very warm weather like this can sometimes double it.



"Overheating is a big risk, especially if you encounter any slow-moving traffic.



"If the worst happens and your car starts to overheat, turn on the air-conditioning and the heater up to full, then pull over," he said.



Drivers are also advised to carry drinking water, hats and sun cream in case of a breakdown.



The AA is putting on extra patrols especially on routes to the coast and to major events like the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on Sunday.



The RAC said call-outs for reasons like running out of fuel and keys being locked in the car also increase when people are distracted as they plan a day out.



RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year, Alan Wilcock, said: "I'd urge motorists travelling this weekend to ensure the journey is bearable for all passengers, especially children or pets.



"They may want to consider making their journey first thing in the morning or later at night when it is cooler, and less busy."



The RAC said no animal should be left in a car - even for a short period - on the warm day.



Chief forecaster at the Met Office Frank Saunders said there is a good chance of some places in East Anglia and south east England reaching 32C but it won't be hot everywhere with cloud and some rain expected over northern regions of the UK.



The north west of England, west Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be the coolest spots over the weekend, temperatures only reaching the high teens and low 20s.



The highest temperature reached so far this year was 30.9C (87.6F) in Gravesend, Kent, on June 27.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ICT Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

DT Design and Technology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on