Temperatures soar to 31°C making it hottest day of the year so far
24 June 2020, 08:24 | Updated: 24 June 2020, 20:24
The Met Office has confirmed temperatures have reached 31°C in some parts of the country, making it the hottest day of the year so far.
The scorching figure was recorded at Heathrow Airport this afternoon.
The previous hottest day of 28.9°C was recorded at the end of May.
Thursday could be even hotter, with temperatures expected to climb in the Midlands and Wales.
But thunderstorms and torrential rain are forecast that afternoon, bringing heavy rain, lighting and hail.
West London is forecast to see temperatures peak between 32C (89.6F) and 33C (91.4F), while parts of Wales could see the mercury rise to 34C (93.2F).
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 highest UK maximum temperature recorded in June is currently 35.6°C, set at Mayflower Park, Southampton on 28th June 1976.
With plenty of strong summer sunshine in the forecast, UV levels will be high or very high - meaning Brits are being urged to wear suncream and take precautions to protect their health.
Hayfever sufferers could be facing a difficult few days as the pollen count remains Very High.
The weather provides lovely conditions to meet up with friends and family, but the government's lockdown rules mean anyone from a different household will need to maintain social distancing.
It is officially the warmest day of the year so far across the UK 🌡️ ☀️.— Met Office (@metoffice) June 24, 2020
Temperatures have reached 31.0°C at Heathrow Airport and will continue to climb during the coming hours …#UKHeatwave #hot #summer pic.twitter.com/PtyuluHMUn
Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Dan Suri said: "From Wednesday temperatures will widely reach into the high twenties Celsius and it’ll be hot across much of the UK, especially central and southern England where we could see highs of 30 to 34 Celsius.
"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.”
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill advised anyone outside for prolonged periods of time on Wednesday and Thursday should take measures to protect themselves.
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.
Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance explained: "You could end up in the sun for longer than expected on what would normally be a quick journey, such as queuing to enter the supermarket, so you should be prepared to look after yourself and others."
She added: "Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs, such as headache and dizziness."
Beaches were busy on Tuesday as people took advantage of the good weather after the months of lockdown spent at home.
Tuesday was not quite the hottest day of the year, as the 28.6°C recorded at Heathrow Airport and Kew Gardens fell short of the 28.9°C recorded at the end of May.
"But we are going to beat it tomorrow and the day after," Mr Burkill said.
He predicted temperatures would edge towards 33 degrees as we experience "lots of hot and sunny weather through the next couple of days".
The forecaster added: "The heat is going to be quite widespread, even across parts of Scotland we could be looking at highs of 26 or 27."
"The nights are going to be uncomfortably hot as well, so people who are susceptible to the heat will struggle."
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.