Scorching temperatures predicted ahead of yellow storm warning
25 June 2020, 07:01 | Updated: 25 June 2020, 11:34
Forecasters have warned today could be the UK's hottest day of the year with temperatures predicted to rise even further than yesterday.
Scorching temperatures are forecast with warnings the mercury could top 34C in parts of Wales with west London seeing 33C on the thermometer.
The Met Office has said the good weather will not last with thunderstorms forecast for Thursday afternoon across the west of the country.
Thunderstorms are forecast to form in the south-west and south-east of England, Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland from 4pm on Thursday.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for those areas until 9am on Friday, warning of disruption due to flooding, lightning strikes, hail and wind.
Between 30mm to 40mm of rain could fall in less than two hours.
The storms are expected to continue from midday on Friday through to 6am on Saturday, with another yellow warning in place for the whole of the UK.
Areas hit by the storms could experience "torrential downpours" with between 30mm to 50mm of rain falling in an hour.
Yesterday Heathrow Airport saw temperatures rocket to 32.6C making it the hottest day of the year so far.
Met Office meteorologist John Griffiths said there was a "low chance" that the Welsh Marches - the area along the Welsh border - could see temperatures of 34C (93.2F) "very locally".
Should that happen, it would be the hottest June on record in Wales, surpassing the previous peak of 33.7C (92.7F) on June 18, 2000.
The public has been reminded to take care around water throughout the summer, amid concerns people might be tempted to take a dip to cool down.
It comes as Thames Valley Police said on Wednesday evening they had found a body following a search for a missing man at Lulle Brooke in Cookham, Berkshire.
The man, who was in his 30s, was understood to have got into difficulty in the water on Tuesday evening.
Wednesday's good weather saw people flock to beaches in huge numbers despite social distancing measures remaining in place.
The Met Office raised its heat alert level to three, as health authorities encouraged those most vulnerable - many of whom have been shielding during lockdown - to protect themselves amid the "exceptionally hot weather forecast this week".
Public Health England (PHE) said older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children were all more at risk from the higher temperatures.
The amber level three, which remains in place for the West and East Midlands, requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups, according to the Met Office website.
People have been advised to keep cool and stay hydrated where possible.
The Met Office said UV levels were expected to remain at eight across many parts of the UK on Thursday.
Dr Michaela Hegglin, associate professor in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Reading's
Department of Meteorology, said Thursday could see some of the "highest UV levels ever recorded" in Britain.
She said: "This is because of a combination of factors. We are at the summer solstice, when the sun is almost directly overhead at one o'clock.
"UV levels this high are rare in the UK, so people with light skin should be very careful to avoid getting burnt.
"While UV is important for getting vitamin D and keeping us healthy, too much of it can cause skin cancer or eye cataracts."
Emer O'Connell, consultant in public health at PHE, said it was important that people kept checking on the vulnerable, as many continued to spend more time at home due to coronavirus.
"You will need to do things differently this year, for example keeping in touch by phone," she said.
Shoppers have also been advised to be aware they could be forced to spend extra time in the sun as a result of social distancing measures.
And dog owners have been urged to avoid exercising their pets during the hottest part of the day.
Vets Now, a provider of emergency veterinary care, warned that the average survival rate of a dog diagnosed with heatstroke was 50%.
The RSPCA said it had received 330 calls in regard to animal welfare and the hot weather since March 23, adding it was expecting "hundreds more" as temperatures increase this week.
London Fire Brigade has warned people not to have barbecues on dry grass, not to drop cigarettes or matches, and not to leave rubbish such as glass bottles lying around amid a risk they could start fires.