UK declares first Level 4 national emergency as 40C heat puts lives at risk

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The UK Health Security Agency has declared a Level Four "national emergency" as temperatures look set to reach over 40C.

It came after the Met Office issued its first ever red warning for extreme heat, with meteorologists saying there is a 80% chance the UK’s record temperature of 38.7C, set in Cambridge in 2019, is topped.

The UK Health Security Agency said Level Four is reached when: "A heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system.

READ MORE: Met Office issues first ever red heat warning as UK to be swallowed by 40C temps

"At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups."

Up until now we had been sat at Level Three.

The Met Office has said there is a 50% chance that temperatures soar above 40C somewhere in the UK.

Its red warning for Monday and Tuesday stretches from London to Manchester and up the Vale of York.

Tuesday is likely to be the peak of the scorching temperatures.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: "If people have vulnerable relatives or neighbours, now is the time to make sure they’re putting suitable measures in place to be able to cope with the heat.

"Because if the forecast is as we think it will be in the red warning area, then people’s lives are at risk.

"This is a very serious situation."

He added that "north of London and up to Lincolnshire" is where the record temperature is likely to be recorded if it comes.

"Somewhere like Peterborough, Grantham, Sandy, Stevenage, those sorts of areas, A1 corridor,” he said.

"If we get to 40C that’s a very iconic threshold and shows that climate change is with us now."

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Downing Street held a COBRA meeting yesterday (July 14) ahead of the sweltering weekend and start to next week, with railway speed restrictions possible as a result.

A No 10 spokesman said: "Some parts of the network next week to manage the hot weather and to avoid any potential damage."

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