Hottest day of the year so far on record at Kew Gardens at 28.2C as the heatwave starts

Britons have sizzled on what is the hottest day of the year so far, marking the start of a heatwave with temperatures soaring to 34C later in the week.

The Met Office confirmed that the mercury reached 28.2°C at Kew Gardens on Wednesday, surpassing the previous record of 27.5°C set in mid-May.

They also said temperatures are “likely” to be higher on Thursday and Friday as a heat wave engulfs the country.

Together with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Met Office has issued a level 2 heat and health watch for much of southern and central England, with a level 1 watch for northern England.

Parts of the UK will also be warmer than the Greek islands Santorini, Mykonos and Zakynthos, as well as Los Angeles and Hawaii.

Hot weather in the UK: June 2022 heatwave

Greg Dewhurst, meteorologist at the Met Office, told the PA news agency: “The vast majority of England and Wales will see a beautiful day on Wednesday, although slightly differently in Northern Ireland and Scotland, which will see clouds and showers.

“It will be very hot in the southeast in particular, with a high of 28C, which would make it the hottest day of the year so far.

“This will top out on Thursday, with the mercury climbing back up to around 29C before hitting 33C and even 34C on Friday.

“So it’s going to be very hot as we go into the latter part of the week.”

Spectators arrive for the second day of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse.  (PENNSYLVANIA)

Spectators arrive for the second day of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. (PENNSYLVANIA)

Forecasters have said parts of England may experience a heatwave later this week, although it is likely to be short-lived.

On the four-level Heat and Health Alert Scale, which is designed to help health care workers cope with periods of extreme temperatures, Level 1 is the lowest warning and is the minimum watch status used during the months Of summer.

Level 2, called alert and preparedness, is activated as soon as there is a 60% risk that temperature thresholds will be reached in one or more regions on at least two consecutive days and the night in between.

Commuters walk to work in Westminster on a sunny day in London.  (Jeremy Selwyn)

Commuters walk to work in Westminster on a sunny day in London. (Jeremy Selwyn)

A heat wave is defined as three consecutive days with maximum daily temperatures that meet or exceed the heat wave temperature threshold.

The threshold varies by county.

Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UKHSA, said: “During periods of hot weather, it is especially important to continue to monitor the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with heart or lung problems.

“Be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and follow our simple health tips to beat the heat.”

Charity Age UK urges older people to take some simple precautions, especially if they have breathing problems or a heart condition.

The charity’s Caroline Abrahams said: “Older people can be at risk of becoming dehydrated and overheated in hot weather, especially if they live in a place that is difficult to keep cool, so it’s a good idea to let people know if you have any concerns about yourself, especially if you live alone.

“For the rest of us, checking in with older relatives and neighbors is a good idea; for example, you may have an extra fan you can lend, and the offer of ice cream in sweltering heat will also be appreciated.

“Taking simple steps to stay cool during the hottest part of the day is a good idea.”

He advised older people to stay indoors, wear light clothing and drink plenty of water during the hottest times of the day.

An Environment Agency spokesman said there is a low risk of drought, but warned that hotter, drier weather could put pressure on some areas.

The British Red Cross encouraged people to protect themselves and reach out to vulnerable friends, family and neighbors during hot temperatures.

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