A red extreme heat warning has been issued to cover vast swathes of the region, as well stretching through much of the middle of England from London up past Manchester - a total area covering 32 million people.
The hottest weather nationally today has been predicted in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, where 41C is possible. The current UK record of 38.7C was recorded in Cambridge in 2019, with 38.1C recorded in Santon Downham, Suffolk, yesterday.
A spokesperson for the Met Office confirmed last night it was the case that 41C could be reached in the region and nearby today.
He said: “The exact location is actually a wide area where those temperatures are possible, but roughly it is between Sheffield, Scunthorpe and down to Nottingham and Grantham.”
Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said earlier in the day: “I’ve been a qualified meteorologist for 10 years, and telling people about 41C in the UK doesn’t seem real.
“It’s crazy how we are talking about these sorts of values, I’ve never seen the models coming up with these values.
“It’s been quite an eye-opener to climate change with all these temperatures in the UK.”
Climate change, which has pushed up global temperatures by 1.2C on pre-industrial levels, is making heatwaves longer, more intense and more likely.
Experts have warned of the need to adapt homes, cities and infrastructure in the UK for a future of more intense summer heat. Hot air from Europe is contributing to the extreme heat in Britain, with a searing heatwave baking much of the continent, fuelling fierce wildfires in France and Spain.
The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level 4 heat-health alert – described as an “emergency” – and the UK is under its first red extreme heat warning for a large part of England, issued by the Met Office.
Water levels at some of Yorkshire’s reservoirs have fallen so much during the heatwave that visitors have been sunbathing on areas that are normally submerged.
Yorkshire Water have already admitted that water levels at some sites have dropped to around 60 per cent of capacity as demand for drinking water has been so high.
The Government has held another emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the response to the heat, but opposition politicians have criticised Boris Johnson for having “clocked off” by not taking a lead on the issue.
Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse, chairing yesterday’s meeting, claimed it was unfair to criticise the Prime Minister and insisted Mr Johnson had been fully briefed on the situation.
Following the Government’s emergency Cobra meeting, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the emergency services were already starting to see an increased volume of calls, but Tuesday afternoon was the “point of maximum concern” as the highest expected point of the heatwave.
More call handlers have been put in place, along with additional funding for ambulance services, 111 and auxiliary ambulances, he said.
Health bosses warned the NHS will be hard pushed in the face of the extreme heat.
Interim deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said the entire health service is under pressure as temperatures rise, with some operating theatres getting too hot, leading to surgery being cancelled.
“People with underlying conditions, older people and children tend to be most at risk. And while there have been additional steps put in place to increase ambulance capacity, ambulance trusts will be under significant pressure as the number of 999 calls can be expected to rise.”