Barometer

How hot does a ‘heatwave’ have to be?

15 August 2020

9:00 AM

15 August 2020

9:00 AM

Some like it hot

Are heatwaves becoming a devalued currency? Last year the Met Office defined a heatwave as three consecutive days when maximum temperatures exceed the 90th percentile maximum temperature for mid-July. In London that means when the maximum exceeds 28˚C. For the rest of the south-east, as far west as Hampshire and as far north as Nottinghamshire, the threshold is 27˚C. For Dorset, Somerset, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire it is 26˚C, and everywhere else, including the West Country, most of Wales, the north of England and Scotland it is 25˚C. In places it will mean a heatwave occurring in 30 to 50 per cent of years.

Journeys by dinghy

How far do migrants have to travel in boats?

Turkey–Rhodes | 11 miles

France–Dover | 21 miles

Tunisia–Lampedusa | 79 miles

Libya–Malta | 207 miles

Big bangs

An explosion in a warehouse in Beirut containing 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed more than 200 people. Some other fatal accidental explosions:


— An explosion at the Wanggongchang Armory in Beijing in 1626 killed an estimated 20,000 people.

— 90 tonnes of gunpowder stored in the Bastion of San Nazaro, Brescia, exploded when the building was struck by lightning in 1769, killing 3,000 people and flattening much of the city.

— Another lightning strike, in 1856, caused the explosion of 200 tonnes of gunpowder stored in the Agios Ioannis, Rhodes, killing 4,000 people.

1,950 people were killed in 1917 when the munitions ships SS Imo and SS Mont Blanc collided in the harbour at Halifax, Nova Scotia, demolishing much of the town.

— In 1989 575 died when sparks from trains ignited a cloud of gas which had leaked from a pipeline at Ufa in the Central USSR.

Holding back the Life-Years

How many ‘Quality Adjusted Life-Years’ (QALYs) will be lost in the long-term as a result of Covid-19, according to the Department for Health and Social Care?

Directly, as a result of Covid 19 | 530,000

Caused by people not accessing A&E during lockdown | 41,000

Early discharge from hospital | 73,000

Postponement of treatment | 45,000

Effect of recession | 157,000

Deprivation due to smaller economy | 294,000

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