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Thousands of people in the UK could perish this weekend if heatwave temperatures soar to a record 40C, according to a worried climate expert.
Meteorologists were left stunned last week when the tropical figure — equivalent to 104 degrees in Fahrenheit — showed up on two different forecasting models for the first time ever.
No weather station in the UK has ever recorded a temperature in the 40s, with an all-time high of record high temperature in the UK of 38.7C reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July 2019.
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The scorching prediction was given for an area covering London and south east of England on Friday (15 July), with northern and western areas expected to experience a warm but somewhat cooler weekend.
Many commentators have been quick to reassure the public that reaching this number was still unlikely, although the Met Office said it 'could not be ruled out'.
As of today, both the Met Office and the BBC expect a not-far-off 38C in the capital on Tuesday 19 July — and one academic has suggested that we could be in for thousands of casualties if the mercury crawls any higher.
Issuing the sun-kissed British public a dire warning, climate change senior lecturer John Grant told the Mirror: “I think hundreds are going to die in the UK if not thousands, that’s my fear if we hit temperatures of 40C.
“It’s terrifying what will happen if we don’t have a management plan and get cooling centres ready.”
Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse has meanwhile urged the public to check on their vulnerable neighbours as the heat descends across the nation.
He said: “People need to do all the stuff they would do when it is very hot, wear a hat, drink water.
“But it’s critical, with the elderly, those with cardiovascular problems and the very young, that people look out for them and take care.”
“There is a possibility we could hit 40 which would be an all time record.”
A Met Office amber weather warning for extreme heat is in place for much of England and some parts of Wales from Sunday (17 July) to Tuesday (19 July).
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