Met Office: New colour-coded warm weather alert system launched in England - what each colour means
The Met Office has launched a new colour-coded warm weather alert system in England to identify hot spells.
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A new system of colour-coded heat warnings has been launched in England to warn the public and the NHS about high summer temperatures that could pose danger. The Heat Health Alerting (HHA) system will focus more specifically on the health impacts warm weather could have on the health of the population.
A dedicated platform for these alerts, which went live on Thursday (June 1), will monitor weather forecasts and identify where hot spells are likely. Alerts will be coded green, yellow, and red to correspond with the current weather warning system used by the Met Office.
Devised jointly by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a similar system is expected to be launched in November in time for the winter season to focus on the impact of cold weather.
Red, the highest level of warning, indicates significant risk to life for even the healthy population and severe impacts would be expected across all sectors with a coordinated response essential. This requires an emergency response.
An amber alert indicates that weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service. This may require a more significant coordinated response with non-health sectors.
Yellow alerts cover a range of situations and they may be issued during periods of heat/cold weather which would be unlikely to impact most people but could impact those who are particularly vulnerable.
Meanwhile, green indicates preparedness and no alert will be issued as the conditions are likely to have minimal impact on health, business as usual and summer/winter planning and preparedness activities.
Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “Our heat-health alerting system plays a vital role in notifying professionals and the public of forecasted high temperatures that can affect the health of those most at risk, particularly individuals over the age of 65 and those with pre-existing health conditions.
“Last year saw record high temperatures across England and evidence shows that heatwaves are likely to occur more often, be more intense and last longer in the years and decades ahead. It is important we are able to quantify the likely impacts of these heat waves before they arrive to prevent illness and reduce the number of deaths.”
Will Lang, Head of Situational Awareness at the Met Office, said: “The effects of human-induced climate change are already being felt on UK summers with an increase in the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme heat events over recent decades and temperatures in excess of 40°C recorded for the first time last summer.
“The updated health alerts will be complementary to, and run alongside our National Severe Weather Warnings, and will play a pivotal role in helping save lives, protect property and the economy as we all work to tackle adverse weather and climate change going forward.”