Brits will face a scorching 31°C heat today before thunderstorms sweep across the country, experts say.
Storm warnings have been issued in large parts of the UK with the potential to cause travel chaos and power cuts this Saturday.
This comes as some areas may be hotter than Marbella, Ibiza and Tenerife in the coming days, as amber heat alerts have also been raised.
Yet, hail could even be on the cards, according to the Met Office, which explained that rising warm air from the south could bring a mix of conditions.
Chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: ‘As the heat builds from the south, thundery showers will develop through Saturday afternoon.
‘While not everyone in the warning area will see the heaviest showers, or even any rain at all, some will bring heavy thundery downpours.
‘With intense showers there is a risk of surface water flooding which could cause some disruption.’
Wales and parts of southern and central England are most vulnerable to disruption today, with yellow storm warnings issued from 2pm to 9pm.
A second storm warning is also in place from midday to 9pm in Wales, Northern Ireland and most of western and central England and Scotland.
But eastern and northern Scotland are likely to miss the worst of the extreme conditions.
The risk of thunderstorms will then grow more widely on Sunday in western and central areas of the UK, while southern parts continue to see 30°C heat.
Forecaster Tomasz Schafernaker said these temperatures will last well into the evenings, but are far from rare at this time of year.
‘It is not unusual to get these sort of temperatures in June,’ he said. ‘We’ve regularly approached the low to mid-thirties.
‘We will notice the humidity rising as we go through the weekend with some really balmy nights on the way. At 10pm on Saturday, temperatures in some towns and cities will still be hovering around 20C.”
He continued: ‘For Sunday there’s a lot of sunshine around, very warm, very humid but with a greater chance of catching showers and thunderstorms across many western parts of the UK… hail, thunder and gusty winds and then it is back to sunshine again.’
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued an amber alert for hot weather until 9am on Monday in the West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, South East and South West.
It means the heatwave is ‘likely to be felt across the whole health service… and the wider population, not just the most vulnerable’.
Dr Agostinho Sousa from the UKHSA said: ‘In the coming days we are likely to experience our first sustained period of hot weather of the year so far, so it’s important that everyone ensures they keep hydrated and cool while enjoying the sun.
‘Forecasted temperatures this week will primarily impact those over the age of 65 or those with pre-existing health conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Thunderstorm warnings for Saturday pictured left, Sunday pictured right
BOURNEMOUTH: Revellers making the most of the sun before storms hit the UK
BOURNEMOUTH: Brits will face a scorching 31°C heat today before thunderstorms sweep across the country
LONDON: Horse riders took to Wimbledon Common this morning in the sunny weather
LONDON: Horses trailing through Wimbledon Common this Saturday morning
BOURNEMOUTH: Many arrived early to the beach to enjoy this week’s heat spell
OXFORDSHIRE: Leander Club rowing teams practise for the Henley Royal Regatta (yesterday)
PORTSMOUTH: A couple enjoy the summer weather when sunbathing on Friday
‘If you have friends, family or neighbours who you know are more vulnerable to the effects of hot weather, it is important you check in on them.
‘You should ensure they are aware of the forecasts and are following the necessary advice.’
There was a sharp rise in the number of extra deaths, or ‘excess deaths’, during the summer heatwaves of 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Excess deaths are the number of deaths above the long-term average for that date of the year.
Some 638 excess deaths were recorded as taking place in England and Wales on July 19, when temperatures in the UK topped 40C for the first time – the equivalent of 48 per cent above the long-term average.
A further 496 excess deaths took place on July 20, or 37 per cent above average.
During the four days from August 12 to 15, when temperatures climbed to the mid-30s, 1,120 excess deaths took place, including 348 on August 15, the equivalent of 28 per cent higher than average.
A further yellow health alert, which is less serious and warns that there may be some disruption to services due to weather conditions, is in place for the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions of England, as well as London.
All health alerts are in place until 9am on Monday.
Despite the storms, continued hot weather has raised fears of wildfires as summer commences. Heatwaves last year saw thousands of fires break out across the UK – even destroying homes in Wennington, east London (pictured)
The Met Office said thundery showers may continue into Monday particularly in southern and central England as well as in Wales.
Despite the storms, continued hot weather has raised fears of wildfires as summer commences.
Heatwaves last year saw thousands of fires break out across the UK – even destroying homes in Wennington, east London.
This year has already seen hundreds of grass, heath and moorland infernos, and one of the UK’s largest ever has been burning in the Scottish Highlands for the past two weeks.
Matt Oakley, a fire investigations officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue, is one of the UK’s national wildfire tactical advisors, specialist officers who already have the skills learnt abroad and who will be training units.
He says the kind of techniques he’s seen used in hotspots as far-flung as France and South Africa will be vital in the UK in the years to come.
‘Our climate is changing – it’s changing beyond recognition. What used to be a nine to 12-year cycle, this is every year now,’ he said.
‘We are heading towards a northern Mediterranean climate in the south-east of England within the next decade and this will be business as usual day in, day out.’