ON THE hottest day of year today, huge hailstones pelted down while FOUR weather warnings are in place.
The Met Office issued thunderstorm as well as extreme heat alerts today while temperatures rocketed to 32.2C at Heathrow Airport.
A man on a punt in Cambridge is caught in a hailstorm in Cambridge this afternoon[/caption]
Heavy rain in Billericay, Essex during a brief but heavy storm[/caption]
Jade Edmunds, 23, and Rose Rosser, 19, enjoy the hot and sunny weather on the beach at Barry Island in South Wales[/caption]
Just a stone’s throw from Heathrow in London, rain and hail, “the size of marbles” bucketed down in Essex and Kent in a flash storm.
And the Met office has now issued four different weather warnings.
The new extreme heat weather warning is in place across the Central South and South West until Thursday night when conditions are expected to take a cooler turn.
Two amber thunderstorm warnings have been issued in Cambridgeshire and in the Maidstone, Kent area, while there is yellow warning in place for the whole of the South East and East Midlands, from Nottingham down to just north of Brighton.
The previous high for the year was 31.6C, which was also recorded at Heathrow on Sunday.
And Monday kicked this week’s four-day heatwave off with 31C in the likes of London, with many areas hotter than Ibiza, and some places even seeing conditions warmer than 29C Nouakchott, Mauritania, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
And in the following days, the mercury is expected to creep up a degree or more.
Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “Temperatures are likely to peak at around 32C (89.6F), even reaching 33C (91.4F) in isolated spots across southern England, so very warm for many.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms hit Cambridge and met office issues yellow weather warning for Cambridgeshire[/caption]
“Even the more cooler areas will see temperatures in the twenties while other places could see some thundery showers.”
The new extreme heat weather warning is in place until Thursday night when conditions are expected to take a cooler turn, sweeping in thunderstorms and heavy rain across the UK.
The extreme heat is for a large part of Wales, all of south-west England and parts of southern and central England.
The concept was introduced on June 1 to highlight the dangers heatwaves pose on health, infrastructure and other services.
Killer heatwave fears were fanned after Public Health England figures showed 2,256 excess UK deaths were recorded during heatwaves in 2020 – the highest since records began.
Meanwhile, the yellow alert for thunderstorms, issued today for the South East and East Midlands cautions residents for the risk of flash flooding to homes and businesses.
And with the storms comes lightning, hail and strong winds expected until midnight tonight.
Giant hailstones were spotted in Essex this afternoon as storms hit with residents reporting the hail as “the size of marbles.”
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “From about mid-week it looks like the high pressure will give way and as is usual after periods of very hot weather we could see something livelier in the way of downpours.”
The extreme weather could lead to power cuts and transport delays and cancellations across London and the South East.
Roads melted in Somerset today[/caption]
At 33C, today roads were”melting like chocolate” with councils around the country carrying out emergency repairs to surfaces damaged in the heat.
In Gloucestershire emergency maintenance had to be carried out as part of the A38 was deemed unsafe.
Somerset County Council said: “Think of the asphalt like chocolate – it melts and softens when it’s hot and goes hard and brittle when it’s cold.
“As a result, it doesn’t maintain the same strength all year round.
Grit was poured on top of the melted tar to solidify it and re-attach to surfaces.
And the heat is proved to be too much for the country’s trains, with scores of passengers delayed.
Some train speeds have been halved due to the risk of lines buckling in the heat.
London Northwestern cut speeds on its main line from London Euston, with Chiltern Railways also affected on the London Marylebone to Oxford line, and Northern Rail hit between Hull and Bridlington, East Yorks.
Network Rail said: “Rails expand as they get hotter. Speed restrictions mean lower forces on tracks, reducing the chance of buckling.”
And the heatwave could cause planes to veer outside approved airspaces amid GPS malfunctions.
UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “It is possible for tablets and mobile phones to overheat and shut down in hot weather.
“We have recently seen an increase in airspace infringements caused by overheating devices being used as moving maps in GA aircraft.”
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Bookies have slashed the odds on UK temperatures reaching a whopping 35C this week.
As the heatwave continues, Ladbrokes has cut the odds to just 3/1 that the thermometer hits 35C anywhere in the UK before the end of the week.
Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: “Freedom Day coupled with the heatwave is sure to see plenty of workers pulling sickies this week, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see temperatures surpass 35C.”
A man in a punt gets caught in a flash hail storm in Cambridge[/caption]
While Rae Pitham, 2, plays on Blackpool beach today[/caption]
Beachgoers made the most of hot morning sunshine and calm seas at Lyme Regis[/caption]
Lauren Tudge and Hannah Laschke cool off in the sea at Barry Island in South Wales[/caption]