Monday, 21 Sep 2020

People flock to beaches again on second day of heatwave despite warnings

Sunseekers are flocking to Britain’s beaches for a second day in a row despite warnings yesterday that people should stay away because of the risk of spreading coronavirus. 

Record numbers headed to the coastlines on what was the hottest August day for 17 years, prompting councils to warn social distancing wasn’t possible in the busiest spots. 

With temperatures again predicted to hit the mid-30s today, several beaches in Bournemouth were already under red alert by midday – according to an app developed by the council.

Some groups even choose to camp on the beach overnight in order to secure a prime position on the sand. 

Friday saw temperatures of 36.4C at Heathrow and Kew Gardens, which prompted thousands to head for the coast, with images of packed beaches, traffic jams and full car parks shared widely on social media.

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By Friday afternoon, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s beach check app warned people to avoid 19 of its 24 beaches as they were too busy. The rest were listed as congested.

Angry locals criticised tourists for dumping their rubbish, illegally parking and putting pressure on emergency services. 

There were similar scenes in Margate and Broadstairs in Kent, where the local district council warned visitors to go elsewhere.

Dylan Bullard, a councillor from Pwllheli, North Wales, told the Telegraph the town was a scene of ‘bedlam’ yesterday.

He added: ‘If you’re thinking of coming into town, please consider leaving it to later.

‘The car parks are full and cars are parked illegally. Social distancing is impossible at the moment, and people are queuing to get into shops.’

Britain’s heatwave is now expected to last until well into next week which could bring more disruption, the Met Office has said.

Meteorologists have warned more records could be matched or even toppled in the coming days with some very hot and sticky nights on the way.

A level three heat-health warning for the South and South East has been issued, meaning the public should look out for others, particularly the elderly, children and people in poor health.

The high temperatures could been accompanied by thunderstorms, bringing large amounts of rain to some parts of the country. 

Dan Harris, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said some places are likely to be hit with up to 80mm of rain in just a few hours.

‘We’ve issued a broad thunderstorm warning for Monday and Tuesday for all parts of the UK, since although the ingredients are there, it’s just too early to pinpoint the details of exactly where and when thunderstorms will occur,’ he said.

‘As such, we will be monitoring the developing signals closely and I urge people to keep a close eye on Met Office warnings and forecasts over the coming days.’

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