Heatwave: Sweltering London weather sees highest-ever UK temperature recorded at 40.2C at Heathrow

A temperature of 40.2C was recorded at Heathrow Airport at 12.50pm, the hottest day in the UK’s history.

Tuesday July 19 has become London and the UK’s hottest day on record, after a temperature of 40.2C was registered at Heathrow Airport.

The Met Office provisionally recorded the sweltering temperature at 12.50pm, which is the first time Britain has registered the mercury hitting 40C.

The previous hottest day on record in the capital was on August 11 2003 of 38.1C at Heathrow Airport.

And the UK’s highest observed temperature previously stood at 38.7C, which was set in Cambridge in July 2019.

Meteorologists predicted that either yesterday and today would break temperature records across the country, with the Met Office issuing its first ever red extreme heat warning.

And temperatures are expected to continue to climb throughout the day.

Met Office chief meteorologist Neil Armstrong said this morning: “We are continuing to see exceptional temperatures today with a real chance of somewhere in England exceeding 40C.

“With these historic temperature today it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.

“Along with the extreme heat we are now seeing an increasing risk of thunderstorms particularly in the south tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Prof Stephen Belcher, from the Met Office, says it was impossible for UK temperatures to reach 40C without the impact of climate change.

On a record-breaking day, he commented: “Well I wasn’t expecting to see this in my career, but the UK has just exceeded 40C for the first time.

“In some ways 40C is an arbitrary figure because we know see the impact of heatwaves at lower temperatures.

“But for me, it’s a real reminder that the climate has changed and it will continue to change.

“Research conducted here at the Met Office has demonstrated that it is 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, and we’re actually seeing that possibility now.”

And the boffin warned that if we continue releasing emissions the mercury could hit 40C every three years.

“We’re already committed to a level of warming, and these temperatures will get more extreme in the future,” he said.

“The only way we can stabilise the climate is by achieving net zero, and of course the UK has made some great strides in that direction.

“But we want to stabilise the climate to a safe level and that means achieving net zero soon.”

More to follow.