Heatwave: Wales' hottest day as temperature hits 37.1C

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Hawarden in Flintshire
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Hawarden in Flintshire was also the previous record holder for highest daily temperature in Wales

Wales has provisionally recorded its hottest day ever with the mercury hitting 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire.

The Met Office said it had broken the previous record of 35.2C, set in the same place in 1990.

Forecasters say temperatures may now have peaked across Wales but it will remain "very warm" on Monday night and could be the warmest on record.

Extreme heat warnings are in force into Tuesday.

Earlier, commuters were warned only to travel if essential and some schools advised pupils to wear cooler clothing.

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A national emergency has been declared across the UK due to the hot weather.

Some trains have been cancelled as temperatures soared, with Network Rail saying in serious cases railway tracks could buckle in extreme heat.

The Met Office records data from 45 weather stations spread out across Wales - with 26 of them automatically taking the temperature every hour.

Earlier on Monday, a provisional new record in Wales was set at Gogerddan near Aberystwyth (35.3C) but this was still a few degrees cooler than the UK record of 38.7C set in Cambridge in 2019.

By 16:00 BST, Hawarden had its Welsh daily record back.

Forecasters had already warned that the heatwave could push the mercury to record levels either on Monday or Tuesday in both Wales and across the UK.

For the first time, a red extreme heat warning has been issued for the UK - covering large parts of England including London, Manchester, Birmingham and York on Monday and Tuesday - with predictions that temperatures could hit 41C (106F).

The Met Office's amber extreme heat alerts, which cover the whole of Wales, will also run until Tuesday night.

Aiden McGivern, Met Office meteorologist said an "extraordinary area of very hot air" moved in from Spain and Portugal.

"It has peaked across Wales, I think overnight it starts to cool from the west while other parts of UK turn even hotter from Tuesday," he said.

"People struggle to cool down but overnight it's also a problem, it will be very warm tonight and it could be Wales' warmest night on record."

Ice cream, air con and paddling pools are key to keeping cool in Hawarden

In Hawarden mum Emma Hughes, from Ewloe, Flintshire, was out with 15-month-old daughter Poppy, five-year-old son Leo, and her mother Liz Fenlon.

Ms Hughes said they were keeping cool with ice creams, paddling pools and air conditioning in the house.

She said she had stayed out of the heat at home on Sunday.

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Emma Hughes, son Leo, daughter Poppy and her mother Liz Fenlon were keeping cool with ice creams, paddling pools and air conditioning in the house

"We just made sure there was plenty of shade for the children and spent a lot more time inside than we probably would have normally," she added.

"We've just come out because it is lovely and cool here for some lunch and just popped out for an ice cream."

Ms Fenlon said it was too hot but ice cream was helping.

Image caption,
John Selby, from Liverpool, and partner Jean Curran, from Chester, both love hot weather

John Selby, from Liverpool, and partner Jean Curran, from Chester, both love hot weather.

Ms Curran said: "I love the heat, 28C and above for me is my life.

"Anything under 26 and I am cold."

Image source, Alexandra Humphreys
Image caption,
Arid conditions in the fields around Hawarden

Forecasters had already warned that the heatwave could push the mercury to record levels either on Monday or Tuesday in both Wales and across the UK.

Wales was the hottest part of the UK on Sunday as the temperature rose to 33C (91.4F) in Hawarden.

But that temperature was exceeded on Monday.

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But with the heatwave set to get even hotter, people have been warned about the risk of extreme heat.

Police made a video showing how quickly temperatures rise inside cars in hot weather, saying pets and children should never be left them.

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Welsh government health officials said the Met Office's amber extreme heat warning "needed to be taken seriously" as it could be mean a danger to life or potential serious illness from the scorching temperatures.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
An aerial view during low tide in the Carew River which runs alongside Carew Castle

Wales' deputy chief medical officer Chris Jones told BBC Radio Wales people may need to "change some of their plans" in the coming days.

Health officials have told schools that children should avoid vigorous physical activity in extreme heat and "maximise shade and ventilation" while pupils should wear loose, light-coloured clothing if possible, wear hats outdoors and drink plenty of water.

'Use sunscreen that was bought this year'

People who may be temped to cool off in rivers and lakes are being warned to be careful of the dangers of open water while burn specialists have stressed the importance of using sunscreen that has been bought this year.

The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in Swansea are already seeing an increase in children being treated or refereed to the specialist unit at Morriston Hospital with severe sunburn.

"Burning your skin causes increases your risk of skin cancer later on in life," said paediatric specialist nurse Louise Scannell.

"And once you've reached the age of 18, if you've had a significant sunburn then the damage is done and could increase your risk of skin cancer in later life. So it's really important to apply sun cream."

She also warned sunscreen is less effective if it was opened last year and was beyond its best before date.

"People are bringing out sun creams from last year which, once they are opened, should be disposed of and not used the following year," added Ms Scannell.

Image source, @craig_thomas111
Image caption,
Pembrokeshire fire fighters were dealing with a grass fire above Newgale, in very hot conditions

How will the heat affect animals?

More than 50,000 people are expected every day at the four-day Royal Welsh Show - one of Europe's biggest agricultural events - and organisers have been told by public health bodies to prepare for the extreme heat.

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The Royal Welsh Show is a significant date in Wales' cultural calendar

The Royal Welsh's chief vet Dafydd Jones admitted the forecast for the show near Builth Wells in Powys was "worrying".

"Animals suffer like people - if not worse - in extreme heat and with so many animals there, it is very worrying that animals will find it difficult to cope with the heat," he told BBC Radio Cymru.

Organisers have spent more than £50,000 on extra fans and ventilation in livestock sheds to keep the approximate 8,000 animals as cool as possible while extra water will be available.

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The Royal Welsh Show finds ways to keep animals safe during the heatwave

Head of operations Mared Jones said organisers had "risen to the occasion" in tackling the expected heat, adding: "Please come prepared, and wear appropriate clothing, that would be my message to visitors.

"We've got extra water stations, and extra ventilation in the livestock sheds for the animals.

"We also have a team of vets here to make sure animal welfare is at the forefront."

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Swimmers cooled down in Llyn Padarn in Llanberis, Gwynedd, as temperatures soared
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A family day out at Aberporth in Ceredigion
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Port Eynon, Gower
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Some pigs at the four-day Royal Welsh Show that starts on Monday will be lathered in sunscreen

Sunscreen on a pig

Some pig owners will lather their animals in sunscreen to protect their animals from getting sunburnt while award-winning pig farmer Ela Mair will be covering her six entrants - including five pedigree Welsh pigs - in cold wet towels to keep them cool.

"Pigs don't let out the heat as well as other animals so it is difficult to keep them cool," said the 45-year-old who has a farm near Pwllheli in Gwynedd.

"We put cold wet towels over them but we need to be careful that the heat doesn't dry the towels too quickly so it can reheat them.

"So we'll be keeping them in the shade as much as possible and keeping the fans on them as much as we can."

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Geraint and Sue Richards are expecting their ice creams to be in high demand

Sue and Geraint Richards, who run Basil and Rusty's ice cream parlour in Machen, Caerphilly, are hoping to keep people cool at the show.

"After three years away (because of Covid), it feels like you're coming home again, it's massively important, the show is one big family," Mr Richards told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

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Why is it so hot (in under 60 seconds)?

Chief executive Steve Hughson has asked people to "be careful, wear sun cream and hats and use the shade" when visiting the 150-acre Llanelwedd site.

Animal charity RSPCA warned pet-owners to take extra precautions to keep their animals safe in the hot weather, having access to fresh water, ventilation and shade from direct sunlight.

British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton said owners need to stop their pets overheating, including "making sure pets aren't walked or exercised in the middle of a hot day or left inside a hot car or conservatory for even a little while, as not long can prove fatal".

The Met Office said the hot weather is being caused by high pressure over the UK and hot air flowing from southern Europe and a heatwave spreading across Europe has fuelled wildfires in Portugal, France and Spain.

Commuters have been been advised to only use public transport unless absolutely necessary during the extreme heat warnings.

The speed limit on lines across Wales and England has been reduced, with trains mostly limited to 90mph (145km/h), where it would usually be up to 125mph (200km/h), meaning journeys will take longer.

Transport for Wales (TfW) has even cancelled trains on routes within the areas covered by the Met Office red weather warning.

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BBC colleagues from hot countries give their tips for staying cool

Services between Shrewsbury and Birmingham, Chester and Liverpool, Chester and Manchester, Chester and Crewe, Crewe and Manchester and the Conwy Valley Line will be cancelled.

TfW has warned services to Wales' coastal resorts, along the Heart of Wales Line to the Royal Welsh Show and in south Wales due to university graduations in Cardiff and Swansea "will be very busy".

The train operator has said "conditions onboard are likely to be very uncomfortable in the extreme weather" but are "working to provide additional capacity to avoid overcrowding".

Network Rail said the need for speed restrictions and longer journey times was because steel rails absorb heat easily and "tend to be around 20 degrees above air temperature".

"When steel becomes very hot it expands and rails can bend, flex and, in serious cases, buckle," it said.