The UK was hit by scorching highs yesterday, with the hottest temperature recorded at 33.4C at Heathrow, making it the hottest day of the year so far. Similar highs are expected again on Friday, with the possibility of 29C according to the Met Office temperature maps.
Friday will be a hot, sunny day with a south-easterly breeze, but there is the danger of thunderstorms and heavy rain – with warnings across the entire UK today.
Northern Ireland will be into the low to mid-20s, Scotland could see 30C and England and Wales feeling very warm and muggy with 31 to 33C, or maybe even 34C.
With some lockdown restrictions eased, Britons can enjoy the heat and visit parks, beaches and when adhering to social distancing, see friends and family.
Speaking about the reasons behind the hot spell, Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Dan Suri said: “We quite often see warm, southerly air from the continent bringing these high temperatures to the UK in summer, however this week, the air across the UK has arrived from the Atlantic.
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“This Atlantic air will descend and warm up as it moves across the UK and this in combination with clear skies and strong late-June sunshine, we’re seeing temperatures rise.”
Bookies Ladbrokes suggest it could get even hotter, with the firm having it odds on that temperatures will exceed 35C this week and summer 2020 to be the hottest on record – both at 5/6.
Those heading outside should be cautious and wear suncream, as UV levels are forecast to soar alongside the heat.
Those in England and Wales are being urged to avoid being outside at around midday on Friday with the Met Office predicting UV radiation from the sun to reach a “rare” level eight, which means “very high”.
According to the Met Office’s website, the UV index “does not exceed eight in the UK” – but for some parts of the South West, level nine was predicted on Thursday.
Dr Michaela Hegglin, a professor in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Reading, told Sky some of the “highest UV levels ever recorded” in Britain could be seen on Thursday.
She said: “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.”
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However, the heat will not continue, as from Thursday afternoon a spate of thunderstorm warnings cover the UK until Saturday.
There are three days of thunderstorm warnings in place, began on Thursday, June 25 at 4pm, and end on Saturday, June 27 at 6am.
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Matthew Lehnert, said: “By Thursday, Northern Ireland and Scotland will join the rest of the country in seeing a shorter-lived spell of warm and sunny weather, but we’re also seeing an increased risk of thunderstorms towards the end of the week which is expected to bring an end to the very warm and sunny weather.”
By Friday, the thunderstorm warnings cover the entire UK – with the Met Office warning of heavy showers and thunderstorms which are likely to break out on Friday afternoon and evening.
Netweather warned the thunderstorms could bring torrential rain with surface water even flash flooding, gusty winds, frequent lightning and possibly large hail.
The forecasters said further sightings of funnel clouds and even tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
Many places will miss the storms, but where they do occur, torrential downpours could bring 30 to 50mm rain in an hour, with hail and lightning.
The storms will slowly clear northeastwards on Friday night, perhaps not clearing northeast Scotland until Saturday morning.
From Saturday, temperatures will be back down to the low 20C across the UK, with the mercury sinking as low as 14C in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Heavy showers also are forecast to hit the UK on Saturday, with conditions turning fresher as the new week begins.
It will be breezy and unsettled into next week, with heavy showers across the West of England.
As we head towards July, this unsettled picture continues but with sunny interludes for most.
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