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‘Ghastly’: Millions sweat through Britain’s hottest night

Millions of people in the U.K. have tossed, turned and groaned through the country’s hottest night on record.

The Met Office said Tuesday morning that overnight the temperature had provisionally smashed the previous highest daily minimum of 23.9 degrees Celsius. At Emley Moor in West Yorkshire the mercury only dropped to 25.9C. In Kenley on London’s southern outskirts, the minimum was 25.8C.

The hot night came ahead of a day that is forecast to be Britain’s hottest ever. Temperatures reached 38.1 degrees in West Suffolk on Monday — the national record of 38.7C was set in 2019.

For Tuesday, temperatures well in excess of 40C have been predicted — a high point that scientists say has been made around ten times more likely because of climate change. A very extreme fire danger alert has been issued for parts of the country.

Europe’s heat wave has caused fires across large parts of France, Spain and Portugal, and killed more than 1,000 people. The death toll is likely to climb.

Hot nights are a particularly dangerous element of heat waves as stressed bodies get no respite. Health authorities have warned of extreme danger to life as vulnerable people struggle to stay cool.

In a word, “ghastly,” said Neil Roberts, a software engineer from Sussex. “Bedroom was 30 degrees.” Iestyn Lloyd, from Brighton, said he placed a fan in front of ice blocks, which “helped a bit.” Others booked into air conditioned hotels.

Stuart Robertson, an engineer and bodybuilder from Norfolk, said he finished work at 10:30 p.m. and “walked home in shorts and no tee shirt, something I’ve never been able to do before. My house was 29 degrees but still cooler than outside where it was just stifling. I spent the night spread eagled, trying to sweat enough to cool down, it definitely was [not] comfortable.”

“It’s like trying to sleep inside a fucking McDonald’s apple pie,” tweeted comedian Pierre Novellie.

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