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What was the 1976 heat wave and how long did it last?

UK summers are projected to be hotter and drier, with heat waves much more common by 2050, according to the Met Office.

We take a look at a particular heat wave that caused roads to melt and the government to panic over water shortages.

What was the 1976 heat wave in the British Isles?

The summer of 1976 is believed to be the hottest average temperature in the UK for more than 350 years.

It was one of the driest, sunniest and warmest summers of the 20th century, although the summer of 1995 is now considered the driest.

The government had previously begun to panic over low water levels in April and May and water restrictions were put in place.

And in the summer months, the heat was so intense that the government enacted a drought law.

They also appointed a Minister for Drought – Denis Howell – who was responsible for encouraging the public to use less water.

1976 Summer Heatwave, scenes around London as temperatures rise. To stay cool in Trafalgar Square, a town lord kicks off his shoes and dips his feet in the fountain with a bowler hat and umbrella by his side. 06/24/1976

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1976 Summer Heatwave, scenes around London as temperatures rise. To stay cool in Trafalgar Square, a town lord kicks off his shoes and dips his feet in the fountain with a bowler hat and umbrella by his side. 06/24/1976Photo credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

Hospital admissions skyrocketed, and many people suffered from heart attacks and sunstroke.

Water companies issued a total of 139 drought orders.

Major motorways such as the M1 had problems with asphalt melting and large areas of woodland and heathland turned brown and were destroyed by fires which in some cases had to burn out due to the lack of water.

People were also encouraged to water their gardens with used bathwater.

How long did the 1976 heat wave last?

The 1976 summer heat wave lasted 15 days, from June 23 to July 7, 1976.

High temperatures continued throughout August with many parts of the south of the UK exceeding 330 hours of sunshine and highs of 25-30C on many days.

What are the hottest temperatures in the UK on record?

The highest temperatures recorded in the UK by region (Met Office) are as follows:

  1. Cambridge Botanic Garden, East Anglia: 38,725 (July 2019)
  2. Faversham, South East England: 38,510 (August 2003)
  3. Cheltenham, Midlands: 37.13 (August 1990)
  4. Cranwell, East and North East England: 36,325 (July 2019)
  5. Saunton Sands, South West England: 35.43 (August 1990)
  6. Hawarden Bridge, North Wales: 35.22 (August 1990)
  7. Crossway, South Wales: 34.63 (August 1990)
  8. Nantwich, North West England: 34.63 (August 1990)
  9. Greycrook, East Scotland: 32.99 (August 2003)
  10. Dumfries, western Scotland: 32.82 (July 1908)
  11. Forres, Hillhead, Northern Scotland: 32.59 (August 2003)

In late July 2019, the UK experienced a brief but exceptional heatwave.

Temperatures in the east of England widely reached 35-36C and a 38.7C temperature

This is the hottest temperature recorded in Britain.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5582301/what-1976-heatwave-long-last/ What was the 1976 heat wave and how long did it last?

DevanCole

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