By Connor Steel
LOCAL residents have been asked to protect themselves and others from the dangerous effects of extreme heat as the Met Office issued a level three health alert across the region this week, meaning that daytime temperatures for Gosport and Fareham are likely to exceed the heatwave threshold of thirty-one degrees Celsius for two successive days and fifteen or more degrees over the inbetweening night.
The alert, one below the national emergency level, starts from 9am this morning (Monday) and is expected to last until Friday morning (July 15). At the time of writing the level three warning covers Hampshire, Kent, Essex, Norfolk, parts of Dorset and other South-eastern counties; whilst the rest of England is on level two signalling alert and readiness. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own alert systems so are not included in this warning issued in conjunction with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
According to latest forecasts from Sunday afternoon temperatures will be ranging between 23 and 28 degree Celsius throughout both boroughs, but is likely to feel much hotter with little breeze and added humidity. In fact the Met Office have said that temperatures will be above average in most places in England, warning a peak of 33 degrees or more could hit the South East region throughout Tuesday afternoon (July 12).
The warning comes as the whole country enjoys a mixture of warm temperatures, sunny conditions and clear overnight skies since Friday as a high pressure system rises north from Europe; bringing hot air from the continent that saw record breaking heat of over 40 degrees Celsius in Spain and Portugal. Although slightly cooler on Sunday (July 10), people have been advised to follow certain guidance to remain safe under the ‘level three’ alert as millions return to their traditional routines after the weekend.
People are reminded to stay out of direct sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm whenever possible, whilst also avoiding physical over exertion. They should wear light or loose fitting clothes and are advised to wear a hat alongside applying sunscreen to uncovered skin. Drinking water or cold soft drinks (non caffeinated) and taking regular warm showers is also recommended alongside the closing of curtains on windows that receive direct sunlight, keeping the rooms cool and breezy wherever possible to do so.
Those with medical or underlining health conditions should also ensure that medication is kept below 25 degrees or placed in the refrigerator if possible. Residents are asked to check on vulnerable adults and those with serious illnesses regularly, as well as those with mobility or breathing issues with high pollen and high ultra violet rays expected to combine alongside the heat and humid conditions.
Alongside this advice is the ‘common sense’ warning about pets and their safety in the heat, warning dog owners in particular of the dangers of walking on overheating pavements and the risk of deadly heatstroke. Furthermore animals should not be left unattended in closed or parked vehicles for any length of time in severe heat, following an increase in pets dying over recent years both nationally and beyond.
Coastguard teams are furthermore reminding beach-goers to remain safe when enjoying the hot weather on Britain’s coastlines, including the Float to Live technique if getting into difficulty in the water. People are also advised that although normal air will be hot, water temperatures will be lower and could cause shock to the body; alongside the warnings about diving into potentially shallow seawater from cliffs or higher rocks.
Announcing the level three health alert, Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, David Oliver, said in a short statement released on Saturday afternoon: “The warm weather over much of England and Wales could last for much of next week. In the short term, many can expect temperatures in the mid to high 20s Celsius over the weekend, and then in the low 30s Celsius during the start of next week. Much of next week will remain warm for the time of year as well as dry and sunny for many areas.”
Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, added her own advice: “We want everyone to enjoy the hot weather when it arrives, but also to check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours to make sure they are prepared for the warm conditions ahead. High temperatures are predicted for a prolonged period, so make sure to follow our simple health advice to beat the heat, such as covering windows exposed to direct sunlight and making sure that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly.”
PICTURED BY SEPTEMBERLEGS (ALARMY ID: ESK51X): Beach huts line up at Lee-on-the-Solent, a popular sunbathing spot as warm temperatures look likely to dominate this week.