South Warwickshire sizzles as the temperatures hit record levels - The Leamington Observer
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16th Aug, 2022

South Warwickshire sizzles as the temperatures hit record levels

Philippa Mingins 20th Jul, 2022 Updated: 21st Jul, 2022

IT was a week like no other as South Warwickshire sizzled.

The British stiff – though slightly sweaty – upper lip was in evidence across the area as extra precautions were put in place to keep hospitals, schools and businesses going as thermometers hit record levels.

The UK’s first ever red warning for extreme heat – signalling a potential threat to life – came into force at midnight on Monday (July 18) and ran through to Tuesday night.

Temperatures peaked at 38.4C at 12.30pm on Tuesday, according to the weather station at Wellesbourne Airfield – slightly below the new UK record of 40.3C recorded the same day in Lincolnshire.

The threat to residents – both fit and healthy and those with underlying conditions – was very real.

Public Health Warwickshire issued guidance to residents “to stay inside during the hottest parts of the day, between 11am and 4pm, wear suncream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated with water”.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which runs hospitals in Warwick, Leamington and Stratford – was kept busy treating a number of people for the effects of heat.

And it also made sure its own staff were cared for, encouraging them to stay hydrated and take regular breaks.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted it was being kept “extremely busy” dealing with “several large incidents”, mainly in the north of the county.

Schools were issued with guidance from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to enable them to remain open. Many relaxed their uniform policies, with some closing early to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

On the roads, WCC’s fleet of gritters was called into summer rather than winter action to spread sand on the county’s roads to prevent them from melting.

And on the rails, passengers were urged not to travel by train unless absolutely necessary as rails threatened to buckle.

Both Stratford and Warwick district councils were busy, from arranging bin collections earlier in the day to issuing warnings not to light fires or have barbecues.

Tourist attractions, which usually welcome hot sunny days, were also impacted.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) limited the number of visitors and opening hours to its properties in and around Stratford.

And at Warwick Castle visitors were offered the opportunity to postpone their visit to a later date. Costumed knights were heavily rotated to allow them plenty of cooling off periods inside the castle and free water top ups were available to all visitors.

The RSC’s performances of Richard III in Stratford went ahead as scheduled, although audiences were advised to leave extra time to get to the theatre and to keep hydrated.

Plenty of measures were put in place at Hatton Country World to keep the animals cool.

The pigs were regularly hosed down with a sprinkler and frozen carrots were given to the ponies, shire horses, guinea pigs and rabbits.

 

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