The Met Office has issued two extreme weather warnings as Britain’s killer 90F heatwave that has led to a spate of drownings this week continues today and tomorrow, before making way for thunderstorms, torrential downpours and a potential risk of flooding over the weekend.
Forecasters said conditions will be hottest in the South, and warned sun-seekers to beware of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, fatigue and other heat-related illnesses before rain and storms spread from the South West across much of England and Wales on Friday night.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for rain in central and southern parts of England and Wales, forecasting ‘widespread and locally torrential’ downpours on Sunday, with 4in due to hammer some locations ‘in a short period of time’, and even lightning and hail expected at the weekend.
Potential impacts including the chance of some flooding as well as poor travel conditions due to surface water, meteorologists said. The warning will be in force from early on Saturday to midnight on Sunday.
As of 6am, the Environment Agency put out five flood warnings – all of them in Greater London. It comes as western areas of the UK continue to deal with an amber extreme heat warning that is currently in force, with temperatures regularly getting up to 90F in places.
The extreme heat warning is due to expire for the southwest, a large area of Wales and parts of southern and central England on Thursday night, while Northern Ireland’s extreme heat warning will expire on Friday night.
Met Office Deputy Chief Operational Meteorologist David Oliver said: ‘This yellow rain warning comes as temperatures are set to dip for many areas over the weekend. A spell of rain, heavy in places perhaps with some thunder, moves in from the southwest late on Friday and into Saturday.
The Met Office has issued two extreme weather warnings as Britain’s killer 90F heatwave that has led to a spate of drownings this week continues today and tomorrow
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for rain in central and southern parts of England and Wales, forecasting ‘widespread and locally torrential’ downpours on Sunday
Crowds of beachgoers packed out the picturesque beach at the seaside resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset yesterday
Forecasters said conditions will be hottest in the South and warned sun-seekers to beware of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, fatigue and other heat-related illnesses. The heat is set to continue today and tomorrow, to be replaced by rain and storms spreading from the South West on Friday night
How to survive the heat
- Stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home so know how to keep your home cool
- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
- Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
- If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
- If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke
‘This is followed up by an unsettled weekend for much of England and Wales with showers breaking out widely. Some very heavy showers or thunderstorms are on the cards, especially during Sunday. However, farther north it is set to stay mainly dry with some fine weather, although it will not be as hot as has been seen recently.’
The unsettled conditions are set to continue for much of the UK into next week, with showers or longer spells of rain set to affect many areas, although still with some drier, sunnier spells.
Northern Ireland yesterday provisionally saw its highest temperature on record, with 88.3F at Castlederg in County Tyrone. Its previous all-time record of 88.2F was only set last Saturday.
By 4pm, the top UK temperature elsewhere was 87.8 in Exeter, followed by 86.9F at North Wyke in Devon and 86F in London. The high at 9am was 72F in London, Cardiff, Norwich and Manchester.
The heat was also causing travel disruption, with Chiltern Railways saying severely high track temperatures meant that trains could not run between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire until 6.30pm.
Meanwhile hail the size of golf balls has damaged roofs and car bonnets in Leicestershire. And the number of lives lost in the water during the heatwave rose to 13 as the body of a teenage boy was pulled from the River Trent.
The UK had its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday – 90F – recorded at London Heathrow Airport. The previous high for 2021 was 88.9F, which was also recorded at the airport on Sunday.
The current extreme heat warning coincides with Public Health England’s Heat Health Alert through to Friday, reflecting the risks to the health sector in England.
Dr Owen Landeg, Scientific and Technical Lead at PHE, said: ‘Everybody can be affected by high temperatures and most people are aware of good health advice for coping with hot weather. However, it’s important to keep checking on those who are most vulnerable such as older people and those with heart or lung conditions.
‘As we experience the first hot weather episode of the year, it’s important for everyone to remember to adapt their behaviours. This is particularly important during the pandemic with many people self-isolating.
‘Most of us want to enjoy the sun. Remember to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and follow our simple health advice to beat the heat.’
Meteorologist Tom Morgan said that while some areas within the yellow warning zone could see a month’s worth of rain, the storms were unlikely to be as bad as those seen on Tuesday.
Windows were smashed and gardens ‘flattened’ by hail in some areas, with residents describing the hailstones in Kibworth, Leicestershire, as ‘tennis ball sized’.
Mr Morgan said: ‘In contrast to yesterday when it was really torrential downpours and heavy hail, the weekend weather is just going to be more generally wet.’
As of 6am, the Environment Agency put out five flood warnings – all of them in Greater London
The Met Office has issued two extreme weather warnings as Britain’s scorching 90F heatwave this week makes way for thunderstorms and torrential downpours over the weekend
People enjoy the sun on Southend beach in Essex yesterday as the very hot temperatures continue
People enjoy the sun on Southend beach in Essex yesterday as a man sunbathes in the very warm weather
Members of the Leander Rowing Club next to the River Thames yesterday ahead of the Royal Regatta at Henley on Thames
Meanwhile, emergency services have urged people to be aware of the dangers of going into open water following 12 confirmed water-related deaths in the last four days.
Derbyshire Police said the body of a 15-year-old boy has been recovered from a stretch of the River Trent in Swarkestone after he got into difficulty while swimming in the water on Tuesday.
West Yorkshire Police said officers were called to Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, at 5.28pm on Tuesday and recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Merseyside Police said that a man had died and two others were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby Beach. The force said officers were called at around 7.10pm on Tuesday following reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea.
Two teenagers died in water in Greater Manchester and Oxfordshire on Sunday, a man in his 50s in North Yorkshire, and a man in his 20s in Sheffield. On Monday, the body of a man was recovered from a lake at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
In Dorset, a man died after falling from rocks on Sunday.
Amber extreme heat warnings remain in place across parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland until Friday night. Mr Morgan said that temperatures will begin to cool down slightly on Thursday and Friday with the mercury dropping on Friday.
Local authorities have reported having to carry out urgent repairs to roads which have melted in the heat. Gloucestershire Council Council said that ’emergency work’ has been carried out on the A38 in Tewkesbury.
Somerset County Council said on Twitter that a number of roads had been affected by the heat and that a sunny day with temperatures of around 68F can be enough to heat the roads to 122F.
Public Health England has also extended its heat-health warning, which warns people to take measures to stay cool and look out for vulnerable people, until Friday.