UK heatwave latest updates: Drought ‘to be declared tomorrow’ amid ‘exceptional’ fire risk

UK heatwave latest updates: Drought ‘to be declared tomorrow’ amid ‘exceptional’ fire risk

By Steve Heldon

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Woman in 80s dies after being pulled from sea at Essex beach

An elderly woman has died after she was pulled from the water at a beach in Walton-on-the-Naze on Wednesday evening.

The woman, aged in her 80s, was pulled from the water and was pronounced dead despite efforts of the public and paramedics, Essex Police said.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has the full report here:

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Drought ‘set to be declared’ in southwest England, report claims

An official drought is set to be declared tomorrow in southwest England, according to Sky News.

The i newspaper reported earlier this week that the National Drought Group – which includes government officials, water company and farming representatives – would meet on Friday and that it was likely the Environment Agency would move England to official drought status.

The BBC has also reported water company sources as saying that a drought is expected to be declared tomorrow, although it was unclear where exactly would be impacted.

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Flash flooding risk during heatwave illustrated in simple video experiment

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn reports:

With nothing more than three cups of water, a UK scientist has clearly illustrated how drought conditions can heighten the risk of flash flooding once rain does start to fall.

Experiment illustrates how droughts impact surface water run-off

In the experiment, Dr Robert Thompson from the University of Reading’s Meteorology Department, filmed himself at different times of year turning a clear plastic cup full of water upside down onto the same bit of ground.

The footage clearly reveals how weather conditions affect the absorption rate of water.

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Firefighters battling ‘unprecedented’ increase in grass fires in ‘tinderbox’ UK

London Fire Brigade has warned of an “unprecedented” rise in grass, rubbish and open land fires even before the four-day heatwave hits the capital as a result of “tinderbox” conditions.

Our climate correspondent Saphora Smith has the full report here:

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August heatwave ‘another warning sign our world is in danger’, campaigners warn

The current heatwave is “yet another warning sign that our world is in danger and needs our help”, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned.

“Climate change is making extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, wildfires and droughts, both more frequent and more intense, harming people and nature,” said Kate Norgrove, the WWF’s executive director of advocacy and campaigns.

“From puffins to bluebells, bumblebees and mountain hares, our wildlife in the UK is already feeling the heat from climate change and struggling to adapt, and we’re witnessing the needless destruction of nature around the globe, with record deforestation in the Amazon.

While recent hosepipe ban announcementswill help reduce the pressure of water extraction on drought-affected river, these are “a last-minute emergency measure, not a long-term solution”, Ms Norgrove said, adding: “More is needed to tackle water waste.

“The only way to limit global warming to the crucial goal of 1.5C is to restore nature, slash emissions and invest in clean, renewable energy.

“Whoever becomes the next prime minister needs to keep the UK government’s promises on climate and nature, and leadership candidates should outline how they plan to deliver.”

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All-time heat record in Northern Ireland could be broken this weekend

Northern Ireland could see its all-time heat record broken this weekend, the Met Office has said.

Senior Met Office operational meteorologist Marco Petagna said the current heatwave could see heat records for August broken this weekend – with temperatures exceeding the 30.6C recorded in Ballylisk on 2 August 1995.

But Mr Petagna said he also could not ruling out that Northern Ireland’s all-time top temperature of 31.3C, recorded last year in Castlederg, could also be broken, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

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Firefighters battle to contain ‘monster’ wildfire in France

Across the Channel, more than 1,000 firefighters are battling to tame a “monster” wildfire tearing through southwest France.

Burning for a third consecutive day, the latest blaze in the Gironde region, close to the wine-growing region around Bordeaux, has so far destroyed more than 6,800 hectares of forest and has forced some 10,000 people to flee their homes.

“It’s an ogre, it’s a monster,” said Gregory Allione, who works for the firefighting organisation FNSPF, while the mayor of Hostens, Jean-Louis Dartiailh, said: “It’s a disaster, economically, ecologically, it’s awful.”

Wildfires: Sky above southern France fills with flames in apocalyptic scenes

My colleague Rory Sullivan has the full report here:

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Pictured: Low water levels at Derbyshire reservoir

Here is a view of the low water levels at the Woodhead Reservoir, in Derbyshire.

According to United Utilities, water levels in the Pennine Sources region, including the reservoir pictured, are at 49.3 per cent – well below the average of 73.8 per cent.

(PA)

(Dave Higgens/PA Wire)

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RNLI water safety manager issues advice for this weekend’s heatwave

With the extreme heat forecast this weekend expected to drive people to seek refuge by coastal areas, here is some advice from the RNLI’s water safety manager, Gabbi Simmonds, via ITV News:

Source: Healthy Duck.

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