From Watts Up With That?
Once again, we find ourselves facing the alarming media rhetoric and an overly cautious government agency response that typically emerges at the first sign of weather that strays from the mild and mundane. This weekend’s forecast? A scorching 30C (or for our American friends, a balmy 86F). Cue the heat-health alert, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) making it sound as though we are bracing for a Saharan onslaught, rather than a warm summer weekend.
A heat-health alert has been issued for parts of England as temperatures are predicted to hit 30C (86F) over the weekend.
The alert is in place from 09:00 BST on Friday 9 June to 09:00 on Monday 12 June in London, the Midlands, eastern and southern England.
People are being asked to check on vulnerable friends and family.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-65837317
First, let’s put things in perspective. In many parts of the world, 30C is par for the course in summer, sometimes even considered a pleasantly warm day. This temperature is nothing unusual for countries like Spain, Italy, or Greece. Or even across the pond in the US, where states like Texas or Arizona regularly see summer highs soar well above 30C without a nationwide panic ensuing.
The UKHSA’s hysterical advice has triggered an amber alert, urging people to check on the vulnerable and adjust their daily routines. While it’s always important to look out for the elderly and those with health conditions, isn’t it just as crucial during the depths of winter or even on an average day? As responsible individuals, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway, without a governmental nudge?
Our media has become proficient at generating anxiety and alarm, latching onto the slightest deviation from the norm and amplifying it into a national crisis. The BBC article warns us of a weekend ‘hotter than Ibiza and Madrid’ as though this were a cataclysmic event, instead of simply a warm summer weekend that many people might actually enjoy.
BBC Weather’s meteorologist, Tomasz Schafernaker, fuels the hysteria by suggesting there might be an official heatwave. In reality, a heatwave is simply three consecutive days of temperatures above the official threshold. In other words, a summery weekend.
BBC Weather meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said some parts of the UK official heatwave threshold might be met in parts ofcentral and southern England this weekend.
What is lost in the hysteria is that sunlight and heat, in moderation, can be beneficial. Sunlight provides us with essential Vitamin D, and being outside in the warm weather can improve mood, promote physical activity, and enhance social interactions. Of course, precautions should be taken – stay hydrated, don’t overexert yourself in the midday sun, and use sunblock. But isn’t that just common sense?
And let’s not forget the not-so-subtle mention of the new colour-coded alert system, launched by the UKHSA and the Met Office. While it’s supposed to protect the most vulnerable, in execution, it’s more of a ‘Big Brother’ culture creeping into our daily lives, with the state constantly watching and warning us. If this system is activated every time temperatures peak a bit, its meaningfulness and effectiveness could quickly be undermined.
So, as the weekend approaches, let’s keep calm and carry on. Check on your neighbours, especially the elderly or infirm, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget your sun hat. Let’s not let a bit of warm weather – or alarmist media – disrupt our enjoyment of a beautiful summer weekend.