The UK has started to sizzling through a “relatively long period” of hot days and “sticky” nights, as a heat wave begins across much of the country, the Met Office said.
It hit 28.5C (83F) in St James’ Park, London on Friday, making the capital hotter than Los Angeles and Santorini.
Temperatures soared across much of the country, marking the first day of a heat wave for many that will continue into next week and possibly beyond.
Meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said: “We are at the start of a potentially relatively long period of warm weather for much of the UK, away from the far north-west where it is likely to be a bit cooler and cloudier.”
He added: “We’re seeing highs of around 31 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, we could see temperatures go up to 32 degrees across the whole of the south-east, so London spreads out into Cambridgeshire, that kind of area, that’s where temperatures get expect them to be the highest, so they will be in the high 20s and possibly low 30s across a good stretch of south and central England and Wales.”
The Met Office definition of a heatwave is when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures reaching or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold, which varies by UK county.
The Met Office expects many UK counties in the south-west, including Devon, Dorset and parts of Wiltshire, to have marked the first day of a heatwave, with much of the rest of the country following from Sunday.
Ms Shuttleworth added: “So for some areas, namely parts of the South West, this is probably the start of their heatwave, but for more widespread heatwave threshold temperatures to be reached, it’s likely that be from Sunday, so Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.”
The hottest day of the year so far was during the last heat wave on June 17, less than three weeks ago, when temperatures reached 32.7 °C (90 °F).
Ms Shuttleworth added that temperatures will “approach” this year’s highs in London and the South East early next week.
Parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will also see pleasant temperatures, with temperatures in Aberdeenshire and Fife likely to be close to 27 or 28°C, with 25°C (77°F) expected in Northern Ireland.
“In the sun, it will feel very hot, so it is not advisable to spend a lot of time in the sun between peak hours of the day and drink a lot of water,” warned the meteorologist.
Hot summer days will bring with them hot and “sticky” nights, and Britons are urged to “keep the curtains closed during the day, especially if you have a room facing south” and to “keep ventilation around your house”. throughout the day”.
It looks like warm weather will set in for some time, according to the Met Office forecast, with the UK likely to experience one of the longest heatwaves on record.
Ms Shuttleworth said: “If we see more than nine days of temperatures above 28 degrees, then it would be the longest since 2018.”
He warned that there was a lot of uncertainty about temperatures to be seen after Thursday, but they are likely to remain warmer than average for the month nonetheless.
The average temperature for July is around 20C.