‘Save water’ warning as the heat goes on
SOME roads have begun to melt, railway tracks have reached temperatures of 49°C (120.2F) and a hosepipe ban is set to come into force as the UK swelters in the ongoing heatwave.
The first hosepipe ban is likely to come into place in Northern Ireland this weekend, with plenty more hot sunshine forecast for the coming days.
Northern Ireland Water said demand is outstripping supply, leaving it with no option but to bring in the ban in order to save water.
Elsewhere across the UK, consumers are being urged to take simple steps to reduce the amount of water they use.
Top tips include taking a shorter shower, not leaving the taps running and re-using paddling-pool water for plants in the garden.
Porthmadog was the hottest place in the UK for the fourth day in a row yesterday as the mercury soared to 33°C (91.4°F).
While temperatures appear to have peaked for now, they will remain high into the weekend and early next week.
Today could see 27°C (80.6°F) in Wales, and predicted highs of about 31°C (87.8°F) in some parts of the UK by Monday.
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “We are going to see a continuation of the current warm spell but the temperatures over the next few days are not likely to be the warmest of the year so far.
“I think for now temperatures have peaked and we are not expecting to see any records today. We will begin to have a slightly fresher feel, bringing the temperatures down, not by much, by one or two degrees.”
Gritters have been deployed in some areas, spreading crushed rock dust onto melting roads to create a non-stick layer between the surface
Motorists have been advised to use warm soapy water to wash sticky tar from their vehicles.
Some railway tracks have soared to nearly 50°C (122°F), leading them to expand and bend.
Trains had to be stopped over a section of track near Carlisle station on Thursday.
Speed restrictions have been in place all week on the route from London Waterloo to New Malden due to the scorching temperatures, causing delays to services.
Translink Rail services also felt the heat as they were forced to delay and cancel services across Northern Ireland on Thursday as rail lines reached over 50C and began to buckle.
The Met Office’s heat-health watch alert has remained at level two all week, meaning social and healthcare services are at the ready to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.
This week is the first time since 2013 that all four nations in the UK have seen temperatures of 30°C or above, the Met Office said.
Public Health England issued a warning saying the extreme heat may pose a risk to the most vulnerable.
The rising temperatures have also come with warnings to be careful near water and in the countryside, where fire crews have been tackling wildfires.
Pictures taken in Trebanog yesterday showed smoke across the Rhondda valleys as a grass fire took hold west of Penrhys forest towards Treorchy.
The heat has already claimed casualties. The family of 13-year-old Ryan Evans, whose body was recovered on Wednesday, two days after he got into difficulty at Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent, warned of the dangers of playing and swimming in open water.
They said: “We just cannot emphasis enough the dangers of swimming in open water, especially where young children are concerned. Our message is simple, please don’t do it.”
A 17-year-old boy was found dead in the river Aire in Leeds in the early hours of Wednesday following a search-and-rescue operation. It is believed he got into difficulties while swimming on Tuesday evening.
The body of a man was also recovered from a lake in Nutfield, Surrey, on Monday.
Two girls were rescued from the river Wharfe in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, after getting into difficulty on Tuesday, according to the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
A spokesman said a fire crew from Ilkley fire station was carrying out training in the area of the river called Crom Wheel – a popular spot for people to sit on the riverbank – when they heard screams around 100 yards away and people shouting that the girls were missing. He said the crews gathered rescue equipment and hurried downstream but a member of the public who was already there managed to rescue the girls.
The RNLI has urged those heading to the seaside to seek out beaches with a lifeguard.
There is bad news for farmers growing crops and the firefighters still fighting a 500-metre-long gorse fire on the Glenshane Pass in County Londonderry, more than 48 hours after it first broke out.
A Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service crew attended a grass fire at Mumbles Nature Reserve yesterday.
Parts of the reserve were closed off after crews arrived to tackle the blaze at 8.43am.
A spokesman said: “Pathways at Mumbles Nature Reserve have been closed as a precaution and we urge members of the public to keep away from the area whilst our firefighters conduct their duties and extinguish the fire.”
The RSPCA called on pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals in the heat after receiving 625 calls about animals in hot environments between June 11 and 24 – the majority about dogs in hot cars.
The Royal Horticultural Society has suggested people use waste water from the kitchen to keep plants nourished and to reduce waste.
> Yasmina, a female red panda, eyes up an ice block with frozen fruits inside, at Dublin Zoo, as temperatures continue to soar
> Smoke rises across the Rhondda Valleys late yesterday afternoon as a grass fire takes hold west of Penrhys forest towards Treorchy. Picture taken from Trebanog
> Constanta Domenti, two, plays in the lavender at Mayfield Lavender Farm in Sutton, south London