A MINI-HEATWAVE could see Ipswich covered in a haze of smog over the next few days as the warm weather traps pollutants in the air.Government officials warned that the mini-heatwave forecast to run into next week may bring the unwelcome visitor with it.
A MINI-HEATWAVE could see Ipswich covered in a haze of smog over the next few days as the warm weather traps pollutants in the air.
Government officials warned that the mini-heatwave forecast to run into next week may bring the unwelcome visitor with it.
Easterly winds are expected to clear the pollutants from Suffolk today but forecasters predict a smog-like haze to dominate the sky around Ipswich on Sunday and Monday.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued the warning for East Anglia, London and the South East and predicted the weather conditions would increase the risk of high pollution early next week.
The Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said inland areas of East Anglia would probably be worst affected by the haze.
"It's fairly rare and it only occurs if there's no wind at all," he said.
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Smog occurs when sunlight reacts with pollutants in the air which are close to the ground – such as fuel fumes from transport – and is scientifically termed low level ozone.
Ozone is usually invisible to the naked eye but when pollution levels are high it appears as a brown haze.
Defra warned asthmatics and people with breathing difficulties to take precautions.
A spokeswoman for the department said: "Most people will experience no ill effects. Those suffering from lung diseases, including asthma, particularly if elderly, should be aware that their symptoms might worsen.
"They may need to consider modifying their treatment as they usually do when symptoms increase, consulting their doctor if this is not effective."
Yesterday's (Thurs) warm weather delivered Ipswich's hottest day of the month with a top temperature of 26C.
The warm weather prompted an early start to a new system of advance warnings of life-threatening heatwaves, which is designed to reduce summer deaths.
The Met Office has teamed with the Department of Health to launch a warning system, to run from June 1 until September 15, to give notice of hot weather to the public as well as health and social car professionals.
Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "In contrast to deaths associated with cold snaps in winter the rise in mortality rates follows very sharply, within one or two days of the temperature rising.
"This means that by the time a heatwave starts, the window of opportunity for
effective action is very short indeed. It is therefore crucial that we are properly prepared for this situation."
Officials are now preparing for an early use of the new service, as temperatures are predicted to reach between 28C and 30C across much of the UK in the next few days.