Britain is braced for soaring temperatures with the country expected to have its hottest day of the year for three days in a row this week – with the mercury set to hit 84F (29C) today before rising to 93F (34C) by Thursday.
Peak temperatures this week will make the UK hotter than Ibiza or even the Bahamas – with the Met Office issuing a level-two heat warning, urging those spending time outside to make sure they protect themselves from the sun.
The high on Thursday would be just 3.1F (1.6C) below the country’s highest ever June temperature of 96.1F (35.6C), which was set in London in 1957 and then equalled in Southampton in 1976.
The hottest day of 2020 until now was May 29 when Dawyck in the Scottish Borders got up to 84F (28.9C), and the Met Office said it is likely today will beat that in the South, then again tomorrow and for a third time on Thursday.
But while many people unable to go abroad due to coronavirus might welcome the heat, it comes with possible dangers with forecasters urging those spending time outside to ensure they protect themselves from the sun.
The Met Office said there is an 80 per cent probability of heat-health criteria being met between 9am tomorrow and 9pm on Friday.
The warning is triggered when the risk of temperatures crossing a potentially risky threshold in one or more parts of the country for two days in a row hits 60 per cent.
Temperatures will reach 84F (29C) in parts of the South today
The alert temperature varies regionally from 82F (28C) to 89F (32C) in the day and 59F (15C) to 64F (18C) at night.
The Met Office said in its heat warning: ‘This is an important stage for social and healthcare services who will be working to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.’
Central and south eastern England will see temperatures around the mid-30s, while Scotland and Wales are expected to bask in the high-20s or even touching 30C (86F).
Met Office chief meteorologist Dan Suri said: ‘This hot weather is expected to last until at least Friday and so heatwave conditions are likely to develop for some areas this week.
‘In addition to the warm days we are going to see some warm nights this week as temperatures overnight remain in the mid-high teens across England and Wales.’
Some were already making the most of the good weather yesterday, with open spaces such as parks and riverbanks filling up with sunbathers and those glad of the opportunity to finally take some proper exercise.
Temperatures wise rise further tomorrow and on Thursday when they could hit 93F (34C) in parts of southern England
The balmy weather is expected to be followed by thunderstorms on Friday, and over the weekend it will be much fresher
In the New Forest, landlord Nick Cross found himself offering a cooling cider to horses Snowy and Whiteheart at the Sir Walter Tyrrell pub in Brook, Hampshire.
The yellow shaded areas are where the Met Office expects heatwave criteria will be met between today and Friday
While many outdoor swimming areas remain closed because of the pandemic, meaning there are fewer places for overheating Britons to have a dip, beaches across the country are open and are expected to be very busy.
The balmy weather, however, is expected to be followed by thunderstorms on Friday, and over the weekend it will be much fresher and more changeable as temperatures drop.
Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said: ‘We’ve got high pressure to the South East of the UK over the next few days which is going to be drawing our air up from the continent’, and the warmer climates of France and Spain.
Tuesday’s top temperature is expected to be around 84F (29C) in the South Wast of England, with other areas quite widely getting into the mid-70Fs (mid-20Cs), the forecaster said.
Talking about the record for the hottest day of the year so far, and Mr Miall explained: ‘It’s likely tomorrow will beat that in the South, do it again on Wednesday and then again on Thursday.
‘Thursday will probably be the hottest day in the region of 33C (91F) or 34C (93F) ‘, but he added ‘that’s not quite the June record from 1976’.
‘Although it’s fairly uncommon to get 34C in June at the moment, it doesn’t look like we’re going to break any of the records.’
Things will start to cool off for the weekend, and the meteorologist explained: ‘By Saturday most places will be seeing the fresher air coming across for the weekend, so although it might still be humid at times I think generally temperatures will be falling below heatwave.’
With the dry and sunny weather expected and the Government’s Covid-19 alert level lowered to three, emergency services across the country are urging people to continue to respect the two-metre social-distancing restriction.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has also warned against starting campfires which can easily get out of control, and to call 999 immediately if you spot a fire.
The NFCC said: ‘The weather is forecast to improve and, although we’ve had our fair share of rain recently, the risk of wildfires remains.
‘These fires are often preventable, so if you are enjoying the countryside please be wildfire-aware and look out for our advice.’
People with elderly relatives should also make sure they are finding a way to keep cool during the lockdown, Age UK has warned. The charity’s director, Caroline Abrahams, said older people are more susceptible to heat-related illness.
‘Lockdown and shielding bring added complications as it can be harder to spot someone who may be getting into difficulties and in need of extra help,’ she said.
‘There are so many different ways to get in touch during the pandemic, whether it’s a note through the door, picking up the phone, or, for those online, messaging via social media or chatting by video message like Face Time or Skype.
‘The important thing is keeping in touch and to make sure older people are okay.’