South Tyneside swelters in the heat as UK temperatures soar above 40C for the first time
Bins went unemptied and transport links were hit as South Tyneside sweltered in the heatwave which sent UK temperatures soaring to record highs.
The mercury rose above 40C for the first time on record in Britain, recorded at Heathrow in London, with red and amber weather warnings in place across the country.
Temperatures were cooler in South Tyneside, though still rose to around 32C.
Activities were cancelled and various measures were brought in by employers, including South Tyneside Council which announced recycling bins would not be collected to ease the load on workers in the heat while protecting other core services.
Amid fears the heatwave could lead to hundreds of deaths and hospital cases, health teams have been calling vulnerable people with pre-existing medical conditions to offer advice.
Rail operators urged passengers not to travel unless necessary.
Metro services were suspended on stretches of the network due to overhead wires sagging in the heat in multiple locations.
The East Coast Main Line closed from 12pm to 8pm for all locations between London King’s Cross and York and Leeds.
Fears over railway tracks buckling let to transport chiefs enforcing the speed restrictions.
Northern rail, which runs services connecting Tyneside and Wearside stations with the rest of the North, warned passengers blanket speed reductions and a limited timetable were in place.
Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “We don’t issue ‘Do Not Travel’ notices lightly, but given the guidance published by Government and expected disruption caused by extreme temperatures, we feel this is the safest advice for our customers."
In some parts of the country, there were reports of people drowning as they tried to escape the heat.
South Tyneside Council’s director of public health, Tom Hall, urged people to follow simple steps to stay safe in the heat – including if they were entering water to cool down.
"Please be careful if you go swimming in the sea,” he said. “Stay near our Lifeguard Towers and follow safety advice.”
Advice to residents included wearing light, loose-fitting clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, making sure they had access to drinking water to stay hydrated, and sticking to the shade.
Closing curtains in rooms facing the sun, and checking in on others, including older people and those with additional needs, were also advised.
Temperatures for the rest of the week are set to be cooler, forecast to be no 20C in South Tyneside on Wednesday and 17C on Thursday.