Britain is having a heatwave.

Britain has been basking in temperatures of up to 35.9C, falling just short of the all-time record.  Gravesend in Kent recorded the highest temperature of 35.9C, just 1.2C short of the national record hit in Cheltenham in 1990.  London reached 35.3C - the highest ever recorded in the capital - as the UK enjoyed the hottest day of the year so far.
The heat caused several train tracks to buckle - one prompting a train driver to stop his train as it approached Gatwick Airport. Overhead power cables were also damaged.  It also resulted in the London Eye being closed for about seven hours - reopening in the cool of the evening at 2030 BST - and in Berkshire police had to hand out water to motorists trapped in miles of tailback following a major crash.  Even Concorde was affected, with the supersonic airliner having to be diverted to Newfoundland for extra fuel on its way between London and New York - increasing the journey time by two hours - because of extra power needed on takeoff.
The justice system was also disrupted, with the heat forcing two trials to be adjourned.  A jury hearing an indecent assault case at Leicester Crown Court was sent home at 1500BST because the air conditioning could not cope. In another court in the same building, jurors deliberating verdicts at the end of a three-month trial were sent home after sending a note to the judge, complaining of "intolerable conditions."

By contrast, the Midwest is having it rather easy, this week we are somewhere between 19C and 30C, humidity a mere 57%.  Here we do at least have air conditioning to help cope, though it's a shock to the system to go from arctic chill to sweltering heat and back again as you go between shops.

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