Currently — July 19th, 2022

The weather, currently.

The European heat wave is expected to peak on Tuesday, with the national temperature record in jeopardy for the UK.

Monday’s heat broke the all-time temperature record at the UK’s longest-running continuous weather observation site in Oxford with 36.7°C (98°F), where temperature records exist all the way back to 1815. Elsewhere, new all-time records were recorded in Dublin, Ireland and in the country of Wales.

On Tuesday, the temperature is expected to top 40°C (104°F) in London and potentially across much of eastern England. In response, the UK Met Office has issued a ‘Red Alert’ heat warning for the first time, equivalent to a national emergency. Widespread impacts are expected to transport, energy, housing, and other public utility systems. On Monday, planes were grounded at a military airport in England because the tarmac itself melted.

According to a 2019 study, temperatures above 40°C are considered impossible in the British Isles without the added heating of climate change. Temperatures this hot were once considered science fiction — a dire warning of a distant future in 2050 without climate action. Now that future has arrived 28 years too soon.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

Heat-related deaths could triple by 2050 if there continues to be inadequate government action on overheating in UK homes, according to reporting by BBC.

Over 4.6 million homes in England experience overheating, according to a recent survey conducted in the summertime. Overheating was even more common in public housing areas, and households with people of low incomes or aged over the state pension age.

But, there were no regulations addressing overheating in new buildings until June this year.

“We’ve seen buildings designed that don’t cope well with the increased temperatures we now experience in summer,” James Prestwich of the Chartered Institute of Housing told BBC. “What we’ve seen is buildings that have been built with a lot of glass and not necessarily the best flow of air through corridors.”

As climate change continues to create more severe and frequent heat waves, the UK hit record temperatures as the first ever red heat warning comes into effect. Temperatures are expected to continue to climb up to 41°C (105.8°F) over the next two days.

—Aarohi Sheth