The unusually hot weather across England has claimed the lives of hundreds people in just nine days, scientists have said.

Researchers estimated that the heatwave has lead to 650 deaths in England between July 6 and 14 as the soaring temperatures show no sign of abating.

Ben Armstrong, professor in epidemiological statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that the hot weather could have led to the premature deaths of between 540 and 760 people.

The news came as health officials advised people to stay cool, drink lots of cold fluids and keep an eye on those they know to be at risk, and after MPs called for workers to be sent home if temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

Professor Virginia Murray, head of extreme events and health protection at Public Health England (PHE), told The Times: "The risk of death and risk of illness really concerns us.

britain heatwave

Temperatures have soared across the country


"Those with pre-existing illnesses are at much greater risk of not being able to cope with heat. It's much harder for them to cope with cooling."

She told the newspaper that people with breathing difficulties could find themselves struggling to get enough air to regulate their temperature. And those with heart difficulties are also more likely to suffer heart attacks, she said.

Dr Angie Bone, heatwave plan leader for PHE, said: "In this continued hot weather, it's important to remember that high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

"During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson's disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport."

Prof Armstrong created the mortality statistics for the newspaper by using temperatures supplied by the Met Office and comparing it with studies he has conducted during previous heatwaves in Britain.

The news comes as the Met Office has raised heatwave alerts in more parts of Britain.

South West England and the West Midlands have been elevated from level two to level three, putting the regions on a par with the South East and London.

heatwave

Temperatures reached just over 32 on the hottest day of the year so far


The Met Office said that there is a 90% probability of heatwave conditions between 9am today and 9pm tomorrow in parts of England.

The country experienced the hottest day of the year so far yesterday, with the mercury hitting 32.2C (90F).

Temperatures are expected to hit 30C (86F) again today, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

The East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the East of England remain at level two. The North East and North West remain at level one, the Met Office said.

Forecasters have said Britain is in the midst of its first prolonged heatwave since 2006, with six consecutive days of temperatures above 30C (86F).

It is set to continue into next week with temperatures in the high 20s Celsius at the weekend before rising to 30C and above next week - bringing with it an increased risk of thunderstorms.

Gemma Plumb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said there was no sign of temperatures dropping significantly in the coming days.

"On Saturday and Sunday it looks like we will have temperatures of around 28C (82.4F) but by Monday we have temperatures of 29C and 30C, with an increased risk of getting some showers," she said.

"Today there is a risk of thunderstorms across parts of south-east Scotland, South Wales and south-west England, but the rest of the country should remain dry."

Temperatures reached 32.2C (90F) at Hampton in Surrey yesterday, making it the warmest weather since Saturday.
MeteoGroup said average rainfall for England and Wales so far this month was only 15% of the average at 4.9mm, while Thames Water said it had seen a 15% rise in the demand for tap water in London and the Thames Valley.

The Met Office said the UK had seen 132 hours of sunshine between July 1 and July 15, which is 77% of the average for the whole month.

Average daytime temperatures have been 2C above average, it said.

Police and fire chiefs yesterday reiterated warnings about escaping the heat by swimming in open water after four people died in separate incidents on Tuesday.

A 16-year-old boy and a 41-year-old man, from King's Lynn, were found dead in unrelated incidents in lakes at Bawsey Pits, Norfolk.

A man, believed to be a 21-year-old from Shropshire, died after getting into difficulties near the confluence of the Dee and Ceiriog rivers on the Shropshire-North Wales border.

A 40-year-old woman from Saltash died following what police called a "medical episode" while swimming in the sea at Seaton, near Torpoint in eastern Cornwall.

Reports of dogs being left in cars with windows closed in the sweltering conditions have prompted warnings from the police.

Kent Police received five reports of dogs left in cars in the hot temperatures on Tuesday. Police said leaving a window open is not enough to prevent a dog from dying in the heat.

In one incident, firefighters and the RSPCA rescued a dog in a distressed state after it was left in a car with a window partially open at a shopping centre in Ashford.

Pc Michael Laidlow said: "Dogs can die in hot cars and should not be left for even a short time. Leaving a window open won't keep the car cool enough.

"Dog owners are reminded that they have a legal duty of care for their animal and can be prosecuted for putting their pets at risk."

Prof Armstrong said: "Our previous studies have shown that as temperatures rise above a certain threshold, the risk of death increases.

"Using the same model, we estimate that the current heatwave has caused the premature deaths of 650 people. The excess is likely to have been overwhelmingly among the elderly, especially those over 75, some of which may have been among people who would have died just a few weeks later if there had been no heatwave."

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  • Summer weather July 19th

    People relaxing by the fountains at Marble Arch in London.

  • Summer weather July 19th

    Children playing in fountains as they enjoy the continuing hot weather in the City Square, Bradford.

  • Summer weather July 19th

    Children playing in fountains as they enjoy the continuing hot weather in the City Square, Bradford.

  • Wanstead fire

    Firefighters tackle a grass fire on the edge of Epping Forest near Wanstead in north east London.

  • Summer weather July 19th

    Children playing in fountains as they enjoy the continuing hot weather in the City Square, Bradford.

  • Summer weather July 19th

    Swimmers and sunbathers enjoying the hot weather in the mixed bathing ponds of Hampstead Heath, in north London.

  • Wanstead fire

    Firefighters tackle a grass fire on the edge of Epping Forest near Wanstead in north east London.

  • Summer weather July 19th

    Swimmers and sunbathers enjoying the hot weather in the mixed bathing ponds of Hampstead Heath, in north London.

  • Summer weather July 20

    The cappuccino cycle club climb a hill in Harrogate, North Yorkshire as the longest heatwave for seven years is set to continue across Britain - but the blazing temperatures will bring widespread rain and thunderstorms next week.

  • Summer weather July 9

    Sisters Lauren, 23 and Ashley, 25 Johnstone (right) from Gateshead enjoy the heatwave at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, during the hot weather that the UK has been enjoying which is expected to last into the weekend.

  • Summer weather July 9

    Sisters Lauren, 23 and Ashley, 25 Johnstone (right) from Gateshead enjoy the heatwave at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, during the hot weather that the UK has been enjoying which is expected to last into the weekend.

  • Summer weather June 20

    A child playing in the water fountain at the South Bank Centre in London

  • Heatwave in the UK

    Mud flats at Wallasea Island, Essex, after baking in scorching temperatures over the past few days.

  • Weather June 26th

    People soak up the sun on the deckchairs in central London's St James's Park.

  • Heatwave Hits Bedfordshire

    Chimpanzees Bonnie and Elvis enjoy a block of fruit filled ice as temperatures soared at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park in Bedfordshire.

  • Summer Weather July 12

    People walk along the dried up bed of the river Hodge Beck in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire as the heatwave continues up and down the country.

  • Summer Weather July 12

    People walk along the dried up bed of the river Hodge Beck in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire as the heatwave continues up and down the country.

  • Summer Weather July 12

    People walk along the dried up bed of the river Hodge Beck in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire as the heatwave continues up and down the country.

  • Summer Weather July 12

    People walk along the dried up bed of the river Hodge Beck in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire as the heatwave continues up and down the country.

  • Summer Weather July 12

    People walk along the dried up bed of the river Hodge Beck in Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire as the heatwave continues up and down the country.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    Summer Passmore, two, from Clerkenwell, London, cools off in the pavement fountains at the Royal Academy court yard in central London, as the hot weather continues to cover the UK.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    Summer Passmore, two, from Clerkenwell, London, cools off in the pavement fountains at the Royal Academy court yard in central London, as the hot weather continues to cover the UK.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    Luella Facer (left) and her friend Summer Passmore, both two and from Clerkenwell, London, cool off in the pavement fountains at the Royal Academy court yard in central London, as the hot weather continues to cover the UK.

  • Summer weather July 16

    American tourists Lyndsey, 20, (left) from Oklahoma and Brooke, 23 from Texas, relax by a fountain in Trafalgar Square, London as the hot weather is set to continue for the rest of the week.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    Summer Passmore, two, from Clerkenwell, London, cools off in the pavement fountains at the Royal Academy court yard in central London, as the hot weather continues to cover the UK.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A visitor to Green Park, London, enjoys the Summer weather.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Punt Chauffeurs Hannah Taylor, 20, and Flo Esplin (right), 18, enjoy the summer sunshine as they take a break between trips on the river Cam in Cambridge.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Visitors to Green Park, London, enjoy the Summer weather.

  • Summer weather July 16

    People relax in deck chairs in St.James Park, central London as the hot weather is set to continue for the rest of the week.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    A man relaxes in the hot weather in Victoria Tower Gardens in London.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    A man relaxes in the hot weather in Victoria Tower Gardens in London.

  • Summer weather July 16

    Black cab driver Tom Rudland, from Surrey, cools down with an ice cream in central London as the hot weather is set to continue for the rest of the week.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A man and woman stand on a narrow boat in the River Thames near Penton Hook, Surrey, as the hot weather continues across the UK.

  • Summer weather July 16

    People cool down in the fountain at Trafalgar Square, London as the hot weather is set to continue for the rest of the week.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    People relaxing in the hot weather in Victoria Tower Gardens in London.

  • Summer weather July 16th

    People relaxing in the hot weather in Victoria Tower Gardens in London.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A young woman walks through a field of linseed in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A young woman walks through a field of linseed in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A young woman walks through a field of linseed in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A young woman sits in a field of linseed in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Punt Chauffeurs Flo Esplin (left), 18, and Hannah Taylor, 20, enjoy the summer sunshine as they take a break between trips on the river Cam in Cambridge.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Punt Chauffeurs Flo Esplin (left), 18, and Hannah Taylor, 20, enjoy the summer sunshine as they take a break between trips on the river Cam in Cambridge.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A visitor to Green Park, London, enjoys the Summer weather.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A woman relaxing on a park bench in the hot weather in Regent's Park, central London.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    A man sunbathing in the hot weather in Little Venice, west London.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Punt Chauffeurs Hannah Taylor, 20, and Flo Esplin (right), 18, enjoy the summer sunshine as they take a break between trips on the river Cam in Cambridge.

  • Summer weather July 15th

    Punt Chauffeur Flo Esplin, 18, enjoys the summer sunshine as she takes a break between trips on the river Cam in Cambridge.

  • Summer Weather July 6

    Alex (left) and Andrea Pal with their son, Leonardo, aged six-months, from Dagenham, Essex, enjoy the sunshine on the beach at Southend-on-Sea as much of Britain is bathed in sunshine.

  • Summer Weather July 14

    People enjoy the warm weather along the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon.