Currently — July 18th, 2022

The weather, currently.

Monday and Tuesday are expected to be the two hottest days in UK history, with temperatures forecast to reach 40 deg C (104 deg F) there for the first time ever.

In a conversation with Currently on Sunday, UK Met Office climate scientist Richard Betts issued a strong warning.

“It's clear that the UK is not ready for such high temperatures,” said Betts. “Transport networks, railways, energy systems, buildings and so on — which have been set up for the climate that used to be — are not ready for the temperatures we're expecting.

”Buildings in the UK tend to be built to keep warm in winter, and only 0.5% of residential homes in the UK have air conditioning. For both days, the UK Met Office has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a Red Warning, the nation’s highest weather alert level — equivalent to a national emergency.

This is the first time the UK Met Office has ever issued a forecast of 40 deg C. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom was 38.7 deg C (101.7 deg F) on July 25th in 2019 at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens.

“There's a 90% chance that record is gonna be broken,” said Betts.

Listen to our full conversation with Richard Betts on the UK heatwave.

—Eric Holthaus