Britons will enjoy more scorching temperatures today with 84F (29C) highs possible – and the warm weather is set to continue until Wednesday when conditions could get even hotter before thunderstorms arrive.
The Met Office said there would be a North-South split in the weather today, with it feeling fresher further north with stronger winds, before the mercury could top 30C (86F) midway through this week for the first time in 2021.
But forecasters urged the public to enjoy the heat while it lasts, because thunderstorms and heavy rain sweep in and break the hot spell by Wednesday night, along with torrential rain, hail, lightning and strong gusty winds.
The heavy downpours will cause temperatures to drop considerably to 70F (21C) in the South on Thursday and could cause localised flooding, with some places seeing up to two inches of rain in just a few hours.
It comes as Boris Johnson is set to announce a four-week delay to ‘Freedom Day’ – the ending of social-distancing rules – which had been slated for next Monday but is now expected to be delayed for four weeks to July 19.
Two people stand beside St Michael’s Tower as they watch the sunrise from the top of Glastonbury Tor in Somerset today
Little social distancing appeared to be observed at Southend-on-Sea in Essex yesterday as temperatures soared
The beach in Bournemouth was packed with families and sunseekers yesterday afternoon as temperatures soared
The beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset is packed yesterday on day of scorching sunshine and clear blue skies
Yesterday, Britons made their own bid for freedom in the sun as they flocked to beaches, parks and rivers on the second hottest day of 2021 so far – gathering in their droves at the coast, in beauty spots and along waterways.
Little social distancing appeared to be observed at Southend-on-Sea, Bournemouth or Brighton, where families crammed on to the beaches as the mercury soared – making the UK hotter than some parts of Spain and Greece.
Temperatures above 70F (21C) for 19th day in a row
Maximum temperatures in Britain will get 70F (21C) for the 19th day in a row today. Here are the UK highs for the previous 18 days, including the hottest day of 2021 so far which was recorded earlier this month:
- June 13: 82.4F (28C) – Heathrow Airport, London
- June 12: 76.6F (24.8C_ – Kew Gardens, London
- June 11: 78.1F (25.6C) – Heathrow Airport, London
- June 10: 76.5F (24.7C) – Heathrow Airport, London
- June 9: 79.5F (26.4C) – Hull, East Yorkshire
- June 8: 76.6F (24.8C) – St James’s Park, London
- June 7: 76.3F (24.6C) – Coningsby, Lincolnshire
- June 6: 74.1F (23.4C) – St James’s Park, London
- June 5: 75.2F (24C) – St James’s Park, London
- June 4: 70.2F (21.2C) – Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire
- June 3: 76.5F (24.7C) – Santon Downham, Suffolk
- June 2: 82.9F (28.3C) – Northolt, London – 2021 HIGH
- June 1 : 79F (26.1C) – Cardiff
- May 31 : 77.2F (25.1C) – Kinlochewe, Highlands
- May 30 : 75.2F (24C) – Achnagart, Highlands
- May 29 : 73.2F (22.9C) – Chivenor, Devon
- May 28 : 71.8F (22.1C) – Achnagart, Highlands
- May 27 : 71.6F (22C) – Wisley, Surrey
The last day the maximum was below 70F (21C) was May 26 when Killowen in County Down got to 65.5F (18.6C).
Others stripped off to take a dip in refreshing waters, including day-trippers at Warleigh Weir near Bath, and paddleboarders in Coverack, Cornwall.
Horse riders were among those trying to cool off in the sea at Highcliffe Beach, near Christchurch in Dorset, while punters took to the Cam in Cambridge for a pleasant river trip.
Pub beer gardens were also packed with revellers watching England’s opening win against Croatia at the European Championships.
And the 22,500 lucky fans allowed into Wembley for the game basked in some of the hottest rays of all – with the country’s highest temperature of the day, 82.4F (28C), recorded at nearby Heathrow.
That was just shy of the 82.9F (28.3C) record for 2021 so far, set on June 2, in Northolt, West London, making yesterday the second hottest day of the year.
A spokesman for the Met Office said yesterday’s temperatures were 16F (9C) above average, making the UK hotter than Monte Carlo, which reached 80F (27C) and Tenerife, where it was 79F (26C).
It was a fine day elsewhere as temperatures reached 75F (24C) at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, with 77.5F( 25.3C) recorded at both Hawarden Airport in Wales and on Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway.
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said: ‘We are forecasting that 29C (84F) could be the maximum (today). If we do see that 29C, it would be the warmest day of they year so far and it would be in the South East.
‘It will be another day of warm weather and it could be just one degree warmer.’
Her colleague Becky Mitchell, also at the Met Office, added: ‘We will keep the heat in the South East until Wednesday, when temperatures will get up to 30C (86F).
‘Monday will be fresher in the North and there will be thundery showers, with a risk of flooding by Wednesday evening.
‘Temperatures will come down quite a lot by the end of the week and it will feel much fresher by the weekend.’
A thunderstorm warning has been issued for much of England and Wales between 6pm on Wednesday and 6am on Friday.
The Met Office said there was ‘significant uncertainty’ about the location and timing of the thunderstorms, but they are expected to move north-east across parts of England and Wales.
A spokesman added: ‘Homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning, hail and strong winds.
‘Some communities may become cut off by flooded roads. There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and that other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.’
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is facing a furious backlash from Tory MPs as he prepares to put the final lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on hold.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce the ending of social-distancing rules – which had been slated for June 21 – will be delayed for four weeks to July 19, with the decision having been signed off by senior ministers.
The move follows warnings from scientists that the rapid spread of the Delta variant first identified in India risks a ‘substantial’ third wave if it is allowed to spread unchecked.
Mr Johnson is expected to appeal to the public to show patience, with one last push to ensure that when controls do finally end it is ‘irreversible’.
However, it comes as a huge setback to many businesses – particularly in the battered hospitality sector – which had pinned their hopes on a full summer reopening to recoup some of the losses of the past year.
There was deep frustration among lockdown sceptics on the Conservative benches who said there was no reason not to end the restrictions as those most at risk of death or serious illness are now fully vaccinated.
Former minister Mark Harper, the chairman of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Tory MPs, said any postponement would be a ‘political choice’.
He warned that if the unlocking did not go ahead as planned, restrictions could carry on through the autumn and into the winter as other respiratory infections picked up.
‘The effectiveness of our vaccines at preventing hospitalisation means unlocking on June 21 could proceed safely. Any decision to delay will be a political choice,’ he said.
‘Variants and mutations will appear for the rest of time. We have to learn to live with it.
‘If our very effective vaccines cannot deliver us freedom from restrictions, then nothing ever will.’
Steve Baker, the CRG deputy chairman, questioned how long the country could ‘fumble along’ with restrictions that had such ‘devastating consequences’ for both business and people’s mental health.
Conservative backbencher Marcus Fysh said delay was a ‘disastrous and unacceptable policy’.
Mr Johnson is expected to make the formal announcement at a press conference this evening after he returns to Downing Street from attending the Nato summit in Brussels.
After hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall over the weekend, the Prime Minister is thought to have spent yesterday evening going through the latest data with the senior ministers and officials most closely involved in the process.
The latest daily Government figures from Sunday showed another rise in infections with a further 7,490 lab-confirmed cases in the UK – up 2,149 from a figure of 5,341 the previous week. The data also had England with a total of 35,971 positive tests in the past seven days at a rate of 63.9 per 100,000 people.