It’s official, today is the hottest day of the year as the mercury rose to 30.7°C at Heathrow Airport this morning. And temperatures are expected to rise to around 34°C in parts of London and the south east of England.
Provisional figures from the Met Office showed the heat topped a previous 2022 high of 29.5°C in Northold, west London. The all-time temperature record for the UK is 38.7°C, recorded at Cambridge University on 25 July 2019, reports Mirror Online.
Today’s heat blast makes parts of the UK hotter than the Sahara, with temperatures in Dakhla, Western Sahara, struggling to top 23°C.
Met Office deputy meteorology chief Jason Kelly said; “The heat is a result of a mix of domestic heating due to high pressure in the southern half of the UK, as well as an airflow from the southwest bringing warm air, which has been over the continent for the week, across the country.
“This is the first heat wave this year and it is unusual for temperatures to exceed these values in June. Some areas can see warm nights with minimum temperatures expected for adolescence or up to 20°C overnight, especially in urban areas like London. ”
On Thursday, mercury rose above 20°C in all four countries of origin, with temperatures approaching 30°C in south east England. The scorching weather shouldn’t last long, with today’s expectation being the peak. A mix of clouds and rain sweeping across parts of the UK is expected to follow over the weekend.
The BBC’s Helen Willetts said hot weather across the UK originated from parts of the Spanish highlands, where temperatures reached 40°C in the last week. This warm weather has arrived in France, with the country gearing up for the first heat wave on record.
“Some of that heat is being harnessed and pushing north across the UK,” he added.
Bournemouth became gridlocked early in the morning as groups of beachgoers swarmed the town of Dorset, leading to all parking lots sold out by 11:30am. The weather is so hot that Royal Ascot has even relaxed its dress code, with race participants also allowed to bring their own water and soft drinks.
Meanwhile, firefighters warn of the increased risk of fires due to the heat wave and urged the public to remain vigilant.
A Level 3 heat and health alert for London, the east of England and the south east is in place to help protect health services, the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said.
Agostinho Sousa from the UKHSA told BBC Breakfast the alert is to help protect the NHS, adding: “The Level 3 alert is operational and is called ‘heat wave action’. It is to inform our partners that they must prepare their services for possible increases in demand due to rising temperatures.
“We also have a Tier 2 that is currently active in the South West and East of England which is to inform our partners that they should prepare their services in case they need to take action if we see an increase in temperatures.
“The situation is currently stable and we expect temperatures to drop tomorrow.”