I have lost count of the posts joking about how pathetic British people are for complaining about the heatwave we are going through. Its true, the temperatures are nowhere near as high as they reach in some countries - but this is a freaking serious issue.
People are expected to die as a result of this heatwave.
One thing a lot of you don’t seem to understand, is air conditioning is not a thing for most British people. Our houses don’t have it. Most buildings don’t have it. Not even all cars have it, because for most of the year, it is not necessary. What we do have is central heating, in all buildings, because that is what our climate requires.
Adding to that problem is the fact that our houses are made of stone, brick, concrete and other solid, thick materials. Not wood, like houses in many counties are made of. This means we are much more insulated, and heat is retained more easily. Not good in a heatwave.
On top of that, our climate is naturally humid. As anyone who has ever studied the difference between rainforests and deserts knows, humid heat is much more uncomfortable and feels much warmer than dry heat.
And one of the most important issues? Whilst the temperature might not be that high by your standards, it is significantly higher than what we are used to.
Oh, and these temperatures only refer to the air temperature. They can be higher in certain environments depending on the sun, and the type of building, and the number of people and so forth. When Andy Murray was playing at Wimbledon yesterday, the temperature on the court was 41C (105F)
Can you see the problem?! Can you see why we’re complaining? Can you see how this could be seriously dangerous for young, old, or sick people?!
Its already impacting the country. Hot weather was reported as the cause of a fire that destroyed 30 acres of forest. Our trains are being delayed out of concern that the heat is causing the rails to buckle. Heat was also considered a factor in the lorry - carrying batteries of all things - that caught fire and closed the M1 today. And the heatwave has only just started. It is expected to continue for at least two weeks.
In our last big heatwave 760 people died. And the peak temperature, towards the end of those 19 days, was 34C (93F). So already, at the start of the heatwave, temperatures are higher than the temperatures that claimed 760 lives.
Things might well improve in the next few days. British weather is notoriously unpredictable. But conditions could easily just continue to get hotter. Its nice to know that people in California or Florida or Australia or Brazil can cope with warmer temperatures than this. But this isn’t something you should be making fun of.
EDIT: As has been pointed out to me, it is also worth keeping in mind that it isn’t just the UK going through this right now. In fact, most of Western Europe is experiencing unusually high temperatures. On 1st July, the temperature in Paris was 37C (100F). In Amsterdam it was 32C (91F). In Brussels it was 34C (93F). In Madrid, on Monday, temperatures hit 40C (104F). If you are in Western Europe, try to keep cool, stay hydrated, and stay safe!