Fire engulfs homes near London as temperatures hit record 40C

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Britain recorded its highest ever temperature of 40C (104F) on Tuesday as a heatwave gripping Europe intensified, forcing train tracks to buckle and fuelling a spate of fires across London.

The Met Office said the provisional record, which still needs to be confirmed, was recorded at 12.50 pm (1150 GMT) at London’s Heathrow Airport, surpassing the previous high of 38.7C recorded in 2019.

Stephen Belcher at the Met Office said he had not expected to see such temperatures in Britain in his career.

“Research conducted here at the Met Office has demonstrated that it’s virtually impossible for the UK to experience 40C in an undisrupted climate but climate change driven by greenhouse gases has made these extreme temperatures possible,” he said.

With the mercury still rising, train routes from London up the east and west coast of the country were cancelled, electricity companies reported mass outages and normally busy city centres appeared quiet. Network Rail tweeted a number of pictures showing large bends and kinks in rail tracks.

To the east of the capital a large fire engulfed homes in the village of Wennington, with flames tearing across neighbouring tinder-dry fields and approaching a historic church. —Reuters

 

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