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Britain records hottest October day on record
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 1, 2011

People boat on the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, central London, during a hot spell on October 1, 2011. Photo courtesy AFP.

The record for Britain's hottest October day was broken Saturday as temperatures reached 29.9 degrees Celsius (85.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Gravesend, southeastern England, the Met Office said.

Britain has been basked in an unseasonal autumn heatwave over the past week, with a southerly wind bringing warm air northwards taking temperatures higher than in Athens, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Beaches along the southern coast were packed with day-trippers making the most of the good weather.

The previous October record of 29.4C (84.9F) was set on October 1, 1985 in the town of March, eastern England, a spokeswoman for Britain's Met Office national weather service told AFP.

The record for the hottest October day in Wales also fell, with 28.2C (82.8F) reached in the northeastern village of Hawarden, beating the 26.4C (79.5F) set in the nearby town of Ruthin on October 1, 1985.

The hottest day in Britain this year was also set in Gravesend, famous as the resting place of Pocahontas, the Native American whose life was depicted in the eponymous 1995 Walt Disney film.

Temperatures in the town in Kent on the south bank of the River Thames reached 33.1C (91.6F) on June 27.

The British temperature record was also set in north Kent on August 10, 2003, when the town of Faversham saw the mercury hit 38.5C (101.3F).

The Met Office explained why Gravesend is often found to be the hottest place in the kingdom.

"Although all thermometers are housed in standard conditions, the geographical location of the station does still have an impact on the temperatures recorded," the spokeswoman said.

The Gravesend weather station "is surrounded by a built-up industrial area, which could lead to a slightly higher maximum temperature due to factors such as heat being absorbed by buildings".

The Royal Horticultural Society said strawberries and rhodedendrons were among the plants seen blooming at its flagship garden in Surrey, southeast England, when they were not expected to flower again until next spring.

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Dutch measure hottest October 1 on record
The Hague (AFP) Oct 1, 2011 - The Netherlands measured its hottest first day of October on Saturday as temperatures reached a record 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) at its central meteorological hub.

"Its been the warmest 1st of October since 1908, when the previous record was set," said MeteoConsult's Remco Wijnhoven of the temperature taken at Dutch weather hub at De Bilt, near the central city of Utrecht.

"It has never been this warm on October 1," added Dutch weather website Weeronline.nl in a statement.

The previous record for October 1 was 24.1 degrees Celsius in 1908, with the warmest day for the month measured on October 10, 1921 when the mercury climbed to 26.7 degrees, it said.

"The warm weather is the result of a strong high pressure system which brings warm southerly winds from the continent as opposed to the westerlies we usually have blowing in off the North Sea and cooling things down," Wijnhoven told AFP.

Thousands of Dutch sunseekers flocked to beaches along the North Sea coastline, with most packed to capacity, Paul Zonneveld of the Society for Dutch Beachgoers (NVSN) told AFP.

Wijnhoven said temperatures were expected to fall gradually next week "with things returning to normal" around next Friday when temperatures of 11 to 12 degrees Celsius are expected.


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Italy heatwave kills elderly
Rome (AFP) Aug 24, 2011
A heatwave has killed at least 10 elderly people in Milan in northern Italy with temperatures topping 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past week, health officials said Wednesday. Ten people between 78 and 90 years of age died in the Lombardy region on Tuesday and Wednesday from cardiovascular and breathing problems aggravated by the heat, according to the region's emergency ... read more

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