How did it feel to be the hottest day on record in the UK?

How did it feel to be the hottest day on record in the UK?
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The swimming pools of Hampstead Heath in north London attracted city dwellers during Britain's historic heatwave on Tuesday.  (James Forde for The Washington Post)
The swimming pools of Hampstead Heath in north London attracted city dwellers during Britain’s historic heatwave on Tuesday. (James Forde for The Washington Post)


LONDON – Hottest day ever in EnglandAs temperatures soared above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, we found Earthlings gathered next to the refrigerated section of the Marks & Spencer grocery store at the Marylebone train station.

“I’ve been standing here for about 10 minutes,” said 28-year-old video technician Andy Martin. “Do not tell anyone.”

This place is not normal. This kind of heat. This is the heat wave.

The Meteorological Office, the country’s weather service, at least 34 locations In England, a large area of ​​south-east and central England has surpassed the previous high temperature by rising above 40 degrees Celsius. That’s a hell of a 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

A fire broke out in East London’s Dagenham on July 19 as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit (Video: Storyful)

England is not designed for this. The country’s homes and shops, train stations and subway cars, schools and offices – very, very few have air conditioning.

Have the British Isles ever been this hot in human history? May be not.

There was a kind of trembling, an anxious feeling in the capital on this sign day. It was windy, but not in Southhampton but in Sicily as the summer leaves crackled and people stumbled from one canopy to another, ambulance crews kept busy, heatstroke victims robbed from the sidewalks with that dry sirocco-feeling wind common in the Mediterranean.

Entering some of the warmest homes in England on the hottest day was like entering a steam room.

When Washington Post reporters entered some apartments on the Chalcots Estate, a public housing project in central London, they were greeted by a thick fog of heat.

“Can you feel it? It’s so hot,” said Mandy Ryan, who works as a residents’ representative.

He entered the living room and pointed to a ceiling fan whose blades were slowly spinning, blaming the device for uselessness.

“This does nothing,” he said.

Like many residents sitting on the tall tower block just north of Regents Park, it has stunning views of the London skyline.

Visualizing Europe’s heat wave with melting popsicle

It also has a nice collection of cuckoo clocks and ceramic dog ornaments. But the most striking thing inside his house on Tuesday was the mood of the soup.

His Labradoodle, Bonnie, was panting at his feet.

“We won’t be having legs of lamb for dinner tonight,” he joked, nodding at his disused oven.

Originally a Polish mechanic, John Szymanska was plastering and painting an apartment in Hampstead, north London.

“This is misery,” he said in a sweat. “But what can you do?” He asked. “Everywhere is getting hotter.”

Why is this European heatwave so scary?

Unlike some immigrants who might say they found the British weak in this heat, Szymanska showed sympathy. “I feel for them. They’re not used to it.”

Paul Rafis, 38, a butcher and hip-hop artist at Chalcots Mansion, was struggling.

The sofa bed was covered with fur. He explained that his dog, Wise, sheds a lot. Rafis doesn’t sleep much.

“When it’s hot, you suffer in these blocks,” he said.

In his 15th-floor studio apartment, Rafis was worried that the refrigerator would catch fire—so he turned it off for four hours and threw the food in the freezer.

Some experts have said that the fire that engulfed nearby Grenfell Tower in 2017, which killed 72 people, may have been caused by overheating wires in a refrigerator-freezer.

“Nothing in the house is used to this weather,” Rafis said, tapping the reheated refrigerator shortly after he plugged it in.

Europe sizzles in a record heatwave as thousands flee wildfires

London’s Underground Tube can be notoriously hot – and no line has a worse reputation than Bakerloo.

“Anyone who enjoys paddle boarding on rivers of molten lava should head to the Bakerloo line, where they’ll feel very comfortable at home,” said Labor Party MP Karen Buck. tweeted out.

With some trepidation we entered Charing Cross station. There were industrial-sized fans forcing air into the narrow passages, but just like a cave, there were pockets of cold air on the deep, platforms.

The interiors of the cars were quite mature.

For Angel Rodriquez, a Hispanic kitchen worker on the afternoon prep shift, the journey wasn’t as bad as he’d imagined.

Yet it was not philosophical. “That’s all of us,” he said, adding that climate change will only intensify and make things worse. He shook his head when he remembered the headlines at home. big forest fires They consumed parts of Spain.

Spain devastated by wildfires amid record-breaking heatwave

The streets in London were not empty, but the city was absolutely quiet, as the windows were closed with curtains to block out the sun. The royal parks and tall grasses were mostly empty, with only a few brave souls laying blankets in the shade of the trees.

The Lido, a public swimming pool on Parliament Hill, had a long queue of people waiting to enter. Children gleefully splashed each other with water as lifeguards whistled in the water.

Playgrounds at Chalcots Mansion were childless. Authorities had warned even healthy young people and their families to stay indoors.

Some residents told The Post that they install air conditioners – only 3 percent of British homes have them – or buy simple fans. But most drank only cold liquids and avoided the sun.

A few, albeit a minority, said they embraced the heat.

“I’m sweating but I love it,” said Chantal Peters, 43, and mother of six.

He said things got worse when temperatures rose during the pandemic quarantine two years ago. “It was 34 degrees, we were locked in. Now He it was hot. That was disgusting.”

Sean Walsh, who works in sales, was visiting his mother, 71, who lived on the top floor. His daughter dropped out of school because of the heat.

He described the weather as “brutal”.

“It’s uncomfortable and hot, and this country wasn’t designed for that temperature,” he said. “The environment is changing and people forget about it. All this concrete is a chiller in any major city. You’d be blinded by Freddy not reading the research and not seeing that this will continue and we need to adapt.”

Especially in high-rise buildings that radiate heat. “It’s multiplying,” Walsh said.

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