Fire engulfs homes near London as temperatures hit a record 40 ° C

Fire engulfs homes  near London as temperatures hit a record 40 ° C

LONDON, July 19 - Britain recorded its highest ever temperature of 40 ° C (104 ° F) on Tuesday when a heat wave gripping Europe intensified, causing the train tracks to warp. and fueling a wave of fires across London.

The Met Office said the preliminary record, which has yet to be confirmed, was recorded at 00:50 (1150 GMT) at Heathrow Airport, surpassing the previous high of 38.7 ° C recorded in 2019.

Stephen Belcher of the Met Office said he hadn't expected such temperatures in Britain in his career.

"Research conducted here at the Met Office has shown that it is virtually impossible for the UK to experience 40 ° C in an undisturbed climate, but climate change, driven by greenhouse gases, has made these extreme temperatures possible," he said.

With mercury still on the rise, rail lines from London along the country's east and west coasts were canceled, power companies reported massive power outages, and normally crowded city centers seemed quiet. Network Rail tweeted a series of photos of the track's main curves and nodes.

To the east of the capital, a major fire destroyed homes in the village of Wennington, with flames tearing open adjacent arid fields and approaching a historic church. Elsewhere, large lawns around the capital were ablaze, sending smoke blowing on main roads and into nearby areas.

London firefighters declared a serious accident and urged people to stop the barbecue.

Britain, struggling to maintain key transport services in extreme heat or snow, has been placed in a national emergency due to unprecedented temperatures.

NO TRAVEL

Transportation Minister Grant Shapps said there have been a significant amount of travel disruptions.

"The infrastructure, largely built since the Victorian era, was not built to withstand these kinds of temperatures," he said.

Climate scientists have said the once unimaginable temperature in London is set to become more frequent in the coming years.Sony Kapoor, a professor of climate and macroeconomics at the European University Institute, said he has long believed that people underestimate the physical impact of climate change today. "But I never even thought that in 2022 we would see 40 degrees Celsius in London," she said. The arrival of a scorching heat wave that first sparked wildfires across Europe before reaching the UK has shone a spotlight on the 'net zero' pledges of candidates vying for succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

After Johnson championed moving to net zero status at the UN's COP26 summit in 2021, some of the candidates to replace him have appeared more lukewarm, downgrading other challenges facing the country as their priority.

One candidate, Kemi Badenoch, said she believes in cutting carbon emissions, but not bankrupting the economy to do so.

Lawmakers, who then gathered in a heated House of Commons building to announce Badenoch's exclusion from the competition, were kept cool by several big fans.

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