Britain Is Melting

The United Kingdom is experiencing a historic heat wave. Yesterday, the country logged a temperature of nearly 104.4º at London’s Heathrow Airport, breaking the record of 101.8º set just three years ago. The scorching temperatures are a shock to the Brits, who are used to summer temperatures not reaching higher than 75º. People from California and Texas, however, call triple digit temperatures “summer.” Britain is clearly not used to the sweltering temperatures, as evidenced by the fact that only 5% of the homes there have air-conditioning. Stores, daycare centers, and pubs have been shuttered, and train operators have cancelled some services and advised passengers of possible disruptions because of warped tracks. The power even went out in parts of London early Tuesday afternoon, but was eventually restored. The British weather agency Met Office issued its first-ever “red alert” this week, warning not just vulnerable Brits, but the entire population, of the perils of extreme heat. It’s so hot, in fact, that the ground at a base for Britain’s Royal Air Force was cooked to the point that tar was sticking to the feet of workers. Although the heat was expected to begin easing Tuesday night, experts are warning Britons to brace for more hot days and sustained high temperatures in the future, possibly this summer and certainly in the coming years.