London/Amsterdam, Aug. 10 (Reuters): Britain sweltered today as temperatures hit a record 100 degrees Fahrenheit , leaving bookmakers facing a hefty payout after a flurry of bets on the 100-F-mark being topped.
Neighbouring Netherlands faced power blackouts tomorrow as demand for air-conditioned refuge from sweltering temperatures threatened to outstrip power supply, the grid operator said.
Registered at London’s Heathrow airport, the temperature beat the previous British record of 98.7 F set in Cheltenham in central England in 1990 and forecasters predicted even higher levels. Bookmakers estimated the industry would have to pay out more than £300,000 after thousands put money on temperatures soaring to 100 F for the first time.
The sizzling heat drove millions to the country’s normally windswept beaches to soak up the sun and roads were jammed with motorists trying to escape the capital. The RAC motoring organisation estimated 15 million cars, a fifth above average, would hit the roads over the weekend.
In the Netherlands, the transmission system operator TenneT BV warned of power failures, particularly during peak demand around 0500 GMT tomorrow, as businesses such as builders return from holidays while a drought has cut producers’ ability to meet demand.
“We have just declared a code red for Monday,” a company spokesperson said. “There is a risk of a blackout on Monday morning.” At code red, consumers are encouraged to cut use at peak times by running washing machines and dishwashers at night.