Northern Ireland news

Cooling rain on way as Europe gripped by heatwave

Cooling out in the bay during the heatwave, at Portrush in Co-Antrim. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

TEMPERATURES climbed to almost 40C in parts of Britain and Northern Ireland yesterday as western Europe was gripped by an extreme heatwave, but cooling rain is on its way.

The UK had its hottest July day ever - 38.1C in Cambridge.

In Europe, Germany reached a new record of 41.5C with other countries in the region recording all-time highs.

Forecasters last night warned the heat could lead to downpours and flash flooding in some areas.

In the north, the temperatures reached the mid twenties. Friday is expected to be cooler but also see bright and sunny spells for many areas with a few showers.

Medical experts warned that few lessons had been learned from last year's heatwave, and few hospitals were prepared for the impact of intense heat.

Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said NHS staff were "struggling" and "overheated and exhausted staff" were at greater risk of making errors.

Dr Michael Byrne, from Oxford University, said Thursday becoming the hottest day on record was "hugely significant", but just the latest in a "torrent" of temperature records being broken in the last month.

"Not only has 2019 brought the world its hottest ever June, but in recent days countries from Belgium to the Netherlands to Germany have broken their all-time heat records. It has never been hotter in northern Europe," he said.

"Such extreme heat poses serious health risks this week as well as uncomfortable questions about how well the UK is preparing for increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves over coming decades."

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