Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Schools Close and Commuters Suffer in Mother of Heatwaves

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Schools Close and Commuters Suffer in Mother of Heatwaves

Article excerpt


HUNDREDS of schoolchildren across London were sent home today because of the heatwave gripping the capital.

By 11am temperatures at Heathrow had already reached 29.7C, with the afternoon sun set to increase the heat even further.

The heat prompted dozens of schools to close, with many moving to Continental-style opening hours, shutting at 1.30pm.

Westminster council said it was advising 10 schools to close early, and Feltham Hill Junior School had also been closed all day due to the heat.

In a bid to reduce the time children spend in direct sun, schools have also cancelled sports days, delaying them until the new term in September.

Diane Doyle, of Soho Parish Primary School, said: "Our sports day was going to be in Regent's Park, but there's not enough shade for all the children, especially in the middle of the day.

We'll have it in September instead."

The Met Office said that today could become the hottest day in British history, beating the record of 38.5C set on 10 August 2003 at Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent.

A Met Office forecaster said: "In some of London's squares, where is no wind and you are getting the full effect of the sun, it could feel as hot as 47C."

Commuters were also suffering from the heat. An "apparent" temperature reading of 45C was recorded on a number 328 bus to Notting Hill at 10.30am.

The apparent temperature combines both heat and humidity readings to represent the temperature that people actually feel.

The T&G union demanded that air-conditioning should be fitted on all London buses as standard.

Graphic designer Claire Alexander, 28, travelling from Fulham to Oxford Circus on the Central line, said: "It's a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.

There needs to be airconditioning."

Holidaymakers were also hit as air-conditioning units as Gatwick's South terminal broke down.

Overnight temperatures were also swelteringly hot. At midnight, it was 22C - as high as the average daytime temperature in July in the capital.

London at night was as hot - if not hotter - than Lisbon (22C), Mexico City (22C) and Nairobi (19C) by day. …

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