Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

British heatwave responsible for up to 760 deaths, say researchers

photo: Mooganic via Flickr

As many as 760 people are believed to have died over the last nine days because of the British heatwave, according to research conducted for the Times.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have said that between 540 and 760 people may have been victims of the recent high temperatures, which have exceeded 30C in some places.

The researchers used studies from previous prolonged episodes of heat in Britain and data from the Met Office to quantify the number of possible victims.

The Met Office issued a Level 2 Heat Health Alert when temperatures went above 20C last week. Parts of southern England, the West Midlands and London were later elevated from to level 3.

Gemma Plumb, forecaster at MeteoGroup, told the Daily Mail on Tuesday that although there is no proper definition of heatwave, “we are undoubtedly in the midst of one now”.

She added that this is the hottest period since 2006.

Normally we can expect it to reach 20-22C in England and Wales – today parts of the Midlands, East Anglia, the south coast and London could see 30C-plus”, she said.

However, the warm climate is also bringing some benefits to the UK. The demand for summer food, such as salads and ice creams, and barbecue accessories is rising, requiring farmers and manufacturers to hire more staff to supply the market.

The hot climate is also making vegetables grow faster and stronger. Meanwhile sales of clothes like shorts and summer items and refrigerators have also gone up.

Further reading:

Met Office bumps up heatwave warning to amber for southern regions

Study: Australia will see more extreme weather because of climate change

Environment Agency: climate change means we need to adapt to extreme weather

Is our weather getting worse? In short, yes

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