Two drown during heatwave as UK temperature to hit 33C – The Guardian

Temperatures in much of Britain are forecast to soar to more than 30C (86F) on Tuesday – and possibly even higher on Wednesday – as the country enjoys its longest continuous spell of high June temperatures since 1995.

However, two people have drowned in the last 48 hours of the heatwave, as crowds headed for beaches, pools and rivers.

A teenager drowned on Monday evening while swimming at Greenbooth reservoir in Rochdale, despite the efforts of his friends who dived repeatedly to try to bring him back to the surface.

At West Wittering beach in West Sussex, the emergency services were called on Monday afternoon when a woman got into distress while swimming, but she was dead when pulled from the water.

Maximum temperatures on Tuesday are expected to match Monday’s 32.5C at Hampton Waterworks, west of London, and on Wednesday they could hit 33C, before the hot spell breaks in thundery downpours in many parts of the south, and fresher weather spreads across the country on Friday.

After a sticky night for much of the south, where the overnight temperature never fell below 19C – “which would more usually be a June daytime temperature”, a Met Office spokeswoman said – many will have envied the touch of frost reported in parts of the Scottish Highlands.

The heat is even forcing Royal Ascot to think the unthinkable, and consider allowing men to remove their suit jackets and top hats at the race meeting, which opens on Tuesday. “It’s being considered. We’re waiting for confirmation. It’s never happened before,” a spokeswoman said.

In the royal enclosure men are required to wear black or grey morning dress with a waistcoat and tie – but not a cravat – and a black or grey top hat. For women a range of arcane rules ban very short skirts, spaghetti straps and bared midriffs.

“If it is becoming uncomfortable, we would let people take their jacket off and relax a little bit,” a spokesman told the Times. “A course-wide announcement would be made and it will be up to individuals to make their own decisions.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, called on employers to follow suit and relax workplace dress codes. “Obviously shorts and flip-flops won’t be the right attire for all workers, but no one should be made to suffer unnecessarily in the heat for the sake of appearances,” she said. In winter there are legal minimum workplace temperatures, but the TUC is proposing new regulations regarding maximum workplace temperatures – of 30C, with cooling measures to be introduced the when the mercury exceeds 24C – to cover indoor workplaces in summer.

The long run of very hot days and sweltering nights is unusual so early in the summer, but this week’s temperatures are unlikely to topple the hottest June ever – in 1976, when it was 35.6C.

Glastonbury organisers and punters were keeping a particularly anxious eye on the forecasts, particularly the prediction that the scorching weather could break on Wednesday night and early Thursday – hours after the gates open for this year’s festival, and in time to create the traditional quagmire before the main stage acts start on Friday – with bouts of “torrential rain, frequent lightning and a chance of hail”.

Two drown during heatwave as UK temperature to hit 33C – The Guardian

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