Offguard Britain swelters in summer heatwave

Offguard Britain swelters in summer heatwave
A couple relax in the hot sunny weather as deer pass in Richmond Park in southwest London July 13, 2013.

LONDON - Britain was sweltering Thursday in its first prolonged heatwave in seven years as the deputy prime minister warned the country was simply "not ready for this".

Britain experienced its hottest day of the year so far on Wednesday, with thermometers hitting 32.2 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) in southwest London.

The Met Office national weather service put the southwest of England and the west Midlands on the level 3 - one grade below the "national emergency" top level - joining London and the wider southeast on heatwave alert.

"This stage requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups," it said.

Forecasters have said Britain is in the midst of its first prolonged heatwave since 2006, with six consecutive days of temperatures above 30C (86F).

Amid stifling temperatures on public transport, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told London radio station LBC that Britain was simply "not ready for this".

"The problem we face as a country is these things are unpredictable," he said on the variable British weather.

"The whole way we work - our offices, buses, everything - isn't actually designed for these sudden spikes in temperature.

"In countries that are used to hot temperatures they organise themselves differently, or indeed very cold winters."

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