A heatwave set to hit Britain this week could beat the all-time temperature record for July, forecasters say.
Warm sunshine is predicted for much of England and Wales from today, with the mercury hitting 29C (84F) in south eastern areas.
Further north, where rain is due to clear this morning, it could reach 26C (79F) and by Wednesday, the warmest areas of southern Britain could reach 35C (95F) – and it could get even hotter still.
Even in the far north of England, temperatures could still hit the high 20s and Public Health England have issued a ‘alert and readiness warning’ – while older people have been advised to not go outside during the hottest parts of the day.
A Met Office spokesman said there is a chance Thursday could see the hottest July temperature ever
Met Office spokesman Emma Smith said: ‘On Thursday, there is a chance it could become even warmer. The current highest July temperature since records began in 1910 is 36.7C recorded at Heathrow on July 1, 2015.
‘There is a possibility the record could be broken – although we are forecasting a more widespread maximum temperature of 33C (91.4F) that day. It depends on how quickly thunderstorms move in, bringing cooler air.’
The warmest day of 2019 so far was June 29, when 34C (93F) was recorded at Heathrow and Northolt, in London. The hot weather is being brought north from a plume of Saharan air which is already hitting parts of southern Europe.
Amid tinder-dry conditions in central Portugal yesterday, more than 1,800 firemen – assisted by 13 aeroplanes, bulldozers and 20 soldiers – battled a wildfire after bringing under control two other blazes which left 20 people injured and caused a village to be partially evacuated.
Branksome Dene Chine beach in Bournemouth hosted the UK dog surfing championships on Sunday and the warm weather is set to continue
Members of the public take advantage of the sunny and warm weather to spend time on the beach in Brighton and Hove on Sunday. More hot weather is on the way
Doggy paddle anyone? Branksome Dene Chine beach in Bournemouth hosted the UK dog surfing championships today. Pictured: A malamute lies on a paddleboard with his owner
Strong winds and highs up to 36C (97F) were making it harder to put out the remaining wildfire in the Castelo Branco area.
Meanwhile, hot conditions were also affecting much of the United States yesterday.
US officials said around 95million people were under a heat warning yesterday – on Saturday the figure had been 157million.
At least six people have died in the sweltering heat which took temperatures above 37C (98F), including four in Maryland, one in Arizona and another in Arkansas.
New York was among the worst affected and mayor Bill de Blasio declared a heat emergency with a heat index – what the temperature feels like – of 46C (115F).