Britain counts cost of historic heatwave as 13 die

STORY: Thirteen people lost their lives after "getting into difficulty in rivers, reservoirs and lakes while swimming in recent days — seven of them teenage boys," British minister Kit Malthouse told parliament on Wednesday.

The London Fire Brigade endured its busiest day since World War Two on Tuesday when temperatures topped 104 Fahrenheit (40C) for the first time, igniting fires that destroyed dozens of properties in the capital and torched tinderbox-dry grassland at the sides of railway tracks and roads.

At least 41 properties were destroyed in London and more than a dozen elsewhere in Britain, Malthouse said.

Britain registered a new record temperature of 104.5F (40.3C) in central England on Tuesday, while 34 sites surpassed the previous high of 101.7F (38.7C) recorded in 2019.

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