Britain enjoyed another scorching day today with an extreme weather warning for 90F (32C) temperatures until Friday – but forecasters warned that this weekend will bring torrential downpours, thunderstorms and flooding.
The Met Office said conditions will be hottest in the South and it will be cooler in the East – and sunseekers were warned to beware of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, fatigue and other heat-related illnesses.
The heat will continue for the next two days, but this will be replaced by rain and storms spreading from the South West on Friday night, introducing unsettled weather to much of England and Wales on Saturday and Sunday.
The Met Office said the rain on Sunday will be ‘widespread and locally torrential’ with lightning and hail also expected, and up to 4in (100mm) of rain could fall in some locations, much of which ‘in a short period of time’.
By 1pm this afternoon, the top UK temperature was 86F (30C) in Exeter, followed by 84F (29C) in London and Southampton. The high as early as 9am was 72F (22C) in London, Cardiff, Norwich and Manchester.
The heat was also causing travel disruption, with Chiltern Railways saying severely high track temperatures meant that trains could not run between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire until 6.30pm.
It comes as the number of lives lost in the water during the current heatwave rose to 12 today as police confirmed the death of a man who got swept away while swimming in the sea off the Merseyside coast.
The UK had its hottest temperature of the year yesterday – 90F (32.2C) – recorded at London Heathrow Airport. The previous high for 2021 was 88.9F (31.6C), which was also recorded at the airport on Sunday.
Friends Amelia Eyres and Erin Scambler jump into the water at Compton Lock in Winchester, Hampshire, this morning
A 14-month-old border terrier called Winston plays with a garden hose to keep cool in the heat near Windsor, Berkshire, today
A woman jumps into the Serpentine lake at Hyde Park in the warm early morning sunshine in London today
Winston enjoys playing with a garden hose to keep cool in the hot weather near Windsor in Berkshire this morning
People swim at the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park in the warm early morning temperatures in London today
A woman steps out of The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park this morning following a swim in the early morning warmth
How to survive the heat
- Stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home so know how to keep your home cool
- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
- Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
- If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
- If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke
An amber extreme heat warning remains in place for central and southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While much of England is set to sizzle today, scattered thunderstorms are forecast to return across the East.
The Environment Agency had 11 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – in place this morning throughout parts of London, Essex, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Yesterday torrential downpours hit Cambridge and Essex while one social media user spotted hailstones ‘the size of bouncy balls’ in Milton Keynes, and some were so big that they smashed a car windscreen in Leicestershire.
As of 6pm yesterday, over two inches of rain had fallen in just a few hours in parts of south-eastern England affected by an amber thunderstorm warning that lasted until 7pm, the Met Office said.
Dan Stroud, a Met Office forecaster, said: ‘We have issued some new amber thunderstorm warnings for parts of south-east London, down to parts of Essex and Kent.
‘There is also one in place for areas surrounding Cambridgeshire. We’re seeing some fairly heavy showers developing during the afternoon along with reports of lightning and hail.
‘There will be some intense spells of heavy rainfall as the afternoon develops and some slow-moving downpours, some places will see it, others won’t at all.
‘There may be some localised flooding issues as a fair amount of rain will fall – meaning possible delays to public transport, power cuts and potentially surface flooding.’
Scorching temperatures both for this morning (left) and this afternoon (right) are shown above in the Met Office graphics
A couple take in the sunrise at Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneisde at the start of another hot day this morning
Drivers take 11.5m leisure trips as summer holidays begin – but are warned to travel after 8pm
Drivers are expected take an estimated 11.5million leisure trips by car between today and the end of the weekend amid the arrival of the school summer holidays in England and Wales
A study by the RAC and Inrix found today and Friday will be the busiest days on the roads in this period with around 2.6million and 2.3million journeys made by drivers respectively
Journey times are likely to be severely affected with Inrix predicting a 29 per cent increase in delays on Friday, compared to typical July travel times – and motorists were advised to wait until after 8pm in some areas to avoid the worst of the traffic.
Specific roads where delays can be expected are the M25 anticlockwise J17 to J12, M25 anticlockwise J4 to J1, M25 clockwise J7 to J16, A303 West Solstice Park to A36, M4 east J29 to J24 and M5 south J15 to J23.
Mr Stroud said the recent spell of hot weather has drawn in moist air to eastern parts of the country, which is causing the downpours.
He said as much as 40mm to 60mm of rain could fall in one hour, with some areas seeing a ‘substantial’ amount.
Commuters may be the worst affected by the downpours, with South Western Railway reporting a track circuit failure at London Waterloo.
Mr Stroud added: ‘If you get heavy rain you’ll certainly know about it, but the rest of the country is continuing to bask in dry skies and warm temperatures.
‘We’re seeing the warmest temperatures in south-western areas and parts of Wales.’
The Pipeworks Bar at Pontyclun in Rhondda Cynon Taf was ‘unbearable’ for workers while The Stone Crab in Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire said it ‘cannot let our staff continue to suffer in this hot weather’.
Britain’s killer heatwave claimed eight lives as the death toll continued to rise amid an unprecedented heat, thunderstorm and flood warning from the Met Office.
The UK will be hotter than top holiday destinations such as Marbella, Mykonos and Tenerife over the next three days, with many forecasters predicting them to be the hottest of the year.
Public Health England has extended its heat-health warning, which warns people to take measures to stay cool and look out for vulnerable people, until Friday.
The Met Office said: ‘Some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays.’
Netweather TV’s forecast for Wednesday says to expect: ‘Low cloud in eastern Scotland and near the north-east coast of England. High cloud will also move into the south-west of Britain.
Environment Agency flood alerts for London and Essex are pictured following bursts of heavy rain in some areas
Flood alerts have also been issued by the Environment Agency for Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
Balcony destroyed after cardboard boxes catch fire spontaneously
A balcony in east London was destroyed after cardboard boxes stored on it spontaneously caught fire.
Firefighters were called to an address in Connaught Road, Silvertown, shortly after 11am on Saturday, London Fire Brigade said. Two fire engines and around 10 crew from Stratford and Shadwell fire stations attended the scene.
In an updated statement published on Monday evening, LfB said the balcony, on the second floor of the building, was ‘destroyed by fire’ along with various stored items. Part of a three-roomed flat on the second floor was also damaged.
There were no reports of any injuries and it took around an hour for the flames to be brought under control. The statement added investigators believed it was accidental and ’caused by sunlight being refracted through the bevelled edge of the balcony glass and igniting cardboard boxes stored on the second-floor balcony’.
An LfB spokesman said: ‘On arrival, crews were faced with a well-developed fire on a second-floor balcony. The sun is especially strong during these summer months, but fires caused by refracted and reflected sunlight can happen all year round and are actually quite common. Our advice is to make sure that you keep mirrors, crystals, glass ornaments and other reflective items out of direct sunlight at all times.’
‘Otherwise, it will be another hot and generally dry and sunny day, with temperatures reaching highs of 25-29C and peaking at 30-32C locally in the south-west.
‘Some scattered thundery showers will again break out, the most likely places for these being the south-east and also the north-west of England.’
Temperatures have risen so high in recent days that roads are melting – with councils around the country carrying out emergency repairs to surfaces damaged in the heat.
In Gloucestershire emergency maintenance had to be carried out as part of the A38 was deemed unsafe. Grit was poured on top of the melted tar to solidify it and re-attach to surfaces.
Somerset County Council also say road surfaces across the county have begun to melt due to the scorching temperatures. The local authority has deployed highways teams to treat the affected roads.
A post on Twitter from the council reads: ‘The blistering heat has caused some roads to melt (yes, melt). We are doing all we can to protect the roads.
‘A sunny day in the 20Cs can be enough to generate 50C on the ground as the dark asphalt road surface absorbs a lot of heat and this builds up during the day with the hottest period between noon and 5pm.
‘When this occurs, we send out a team to spread granite dust to absorb the soft bitumen and so stabilise the road surface.
‘The road network has 5 per cent of ‘polymer modified binders in hot rolled asphalt’ roads. These can absorb up to 80C. But these are more expensive.
‘It is particularly problematic in countries that experience the two extremes of weather.
‘Think of the asphalt like chocolate – it melts and softens when it’s hot and goes hard and brittle when it’s cold.
‘As a result, it doesn’t maintain the same strength all year round. We will continue to monitor the situation over the next few days.’
Car windows are smashed and bonnets dented as a HAIL STORM hits parts of England
Hail stones the size of golf balls smashed car windows and caused flash floods after a village was hit by freak weather as Britain’s barmy heatwave continued.
Residents living in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, were left counting the cost after a storm caused thousands of pounds worth of damage yesterday evening.
Shocking pictures show massive 2in (5cm) hail stones and properties submerged in water following the ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘Armageddon-like’ scenes.
Care homes and sheltered housing were also evacuated when hail smashed glass and corridors were flooded as a months’ worth of rain fell in just 30 minutes.
Father -of-two Kevin Messenger, 39, had his VW Polo windscreen smashed while Katie Jaffar’s new Porsche was left covered in dents. The IT manager from Kibworth Beauchamp, said: ‘It was about 6pm when the heavens just opened.
Hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm damaging cars and smashing windows in Leicestershire yesterday
‘The hails stones were huge, I’ve never seen anything like it. The only thing I can compare it to was monsoon season when I went to Thailand. The hail was that severe it smashed the back windscreen of my car.
‘I know other people in the village who had their car windows smashed too. But we got off lightly because some houses flooded and the local primary school roof collapsed. It all happened so quickly.
It only lasted about 45 minutes but the damage was far reaching. It was crazy really. The damage must be running into the hundreds if not thousands of pounds. But just a few hundred metres down the road it stayed gloriously sunny.
‘You don’t expect it in this country but after the heat we have been having, the storms are bound to come. It was a surreal experience. One minute you are basking in the glorious sunshine, and then all of a sudden the noise started echoing around the house.
‘I was gutted about the car but I do feel fortunate and a bit grateful definitely as there have been worse-impacted people than me.’
The hail storm hit Leicestershire at around 6.15pm yesterday with some car windows obliterated
Mother-of-two Katie Jaffar, 46, said both of their family cars were a ‘total write-off’ following the torrential downpour. She said: ‘One minute the kids were playing with their friends in the paddling pool and it was gloriously hot.
‘The next minute huge dollops of rain started falling and then it turned into hail – huge lumps of it thundering down. It was so fast, it was pretty terrifying. It sounded like gun shots.
‘We went from sunshine to having a stream running outside our front door in around 15 minutes. That was the most frightening thing, how quickly it all happened.
‘Our new Porsche has huge dents all over it, my husband is gutted as we only recently got it and its his pride and joy.’
She said the force of the hail also smashed through a large skylight at her mother’s home nearby and water flooded the corridor.
Mrs Jaffar added: ‘She had to be evacuated from the top floor of her sheltered accommodation and I know a care home had to be evacuated as well.
Hail stone damage to Katie Jaffar’s car after hail the size of golf balls fell in a thunderstorm in Leicestershire yesterday
‘Our neighbours’ cellars are flooded and there was water up to the front door. It was just so scary how quickly it happened and the damage it caused.’
Mother -of-one Emily Bevan, 29, added: ‘It was like something from a disaster movie, it was apocalyptic. I have never seen weather like this in Britain. The noise of it was just deafening as well. It was bonkers.’
Father-of-two Paul Arscott, a market researcher, said: ‘The roads were nuts. Everyone pulled up on grass verges and pavements trying to hide under trees or bridges. It was like some Armageddon film.’
Leicestershire Police said it closed the A6 Harborough Road, at Kibworth, in both directions due to flooding.
Heatwave drowning death toll hits 12: Man dies and four others are rescued in sea off Merseyside and body of boy, 15, is found in Leeds canal while rescuers hunt for missing swimmer in Derbyshire
The number of lives lost in water during the recent heatwave rose to 12 today as police confirmed the death of a man who got swept away while swimming in the sea off the Merseyside coast.
Emergency services including the RNLI and Coastguard all scrambled to Crosby beach just after 7pm last night to reports of a group of men in trouble in the water.
Three of the five men were taken to hospital after the incident, with the other two not needing medical assistance. Police then confirmed that one of the men has died and a second man is in a critical condition.
Meanwhile, police divers and firefighters have spent a second day searching the River Trent in Swarkstone, Derbyshire, after a man got into difficulty in the water yesterday.
Crews were seen this morning searching the river and the family of the missing person were also seen searching frantically along the side of the river.
It comes after detectives in Cheshire announced that officers searching for a missing 16-year-old boy in Frodsham found a body in the River Weaver yesterday. Formal identification has not yet taken place but it is believed to be that of the missing boy.
And in Devon, it was confirmed that the body of a woman in her 60s was pulled from Axmouth Harbour on Sunday.
Police divers and firefighters have spent a second day searching the River Trent in Swarkstone, Derbyshire, after a man got into difficulty in the water yesterday
Regarding the swimmers in Crosby, a Merseyside Police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a man has died and two men were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby Beach last night, Tuesday 20 July.
‘At around 7.10pm, emergency services attended the beach following reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea. All three men were taken to hospital.
‘One man was sadly pronounced deceased a short time later. A second remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition and a third has been discharged.
‘The deceased man’s family have been made aware and are being supported by officers.
‘Enquiries continue and anyone who witnessed the incident and has yet to come forward is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC on Twitter, ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook, or 101, with reference 21000506040.’
Last night the Coastguard released a statement which read: ‘HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 7.05pm this evening (July 20) saying that five people were difficulty in the water at Crosby Beach.
‘Crosby Coastguard Rescue Team, lifeboats from New Brighton and Southport, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service and Merseyside Police were all sent.
Crews were seen this morning searching the river and the family of the missing person were also seen searching frantically along the side of the river
‘All five people were recovered to the beach.
‘Two of the people did not require medical assistance, three were passed into the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital.’
It comes after the body of a 15-year-old boy was found in a canal in Leeds yesterday.
Detectives are investigating after officers were called to Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, at 5.28pm on Tuesday and recovered the body of the teenager, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
West Yorkshire Police are appealing for anyone who has information about how the boy ended up in the water to get in touch. A force spokesman said the teenager’s family are being supported by specialist officers.
Detectives advised people about the dangers of open water following a string of fatalities linked to the weather since the weekend. Two teenagers died in water in Greater Manchester and Oxfordshire on Sunday, along with a man in his 50s in North Yorkshire and a man in his 20s in Sheffield.
On Monday, the body of a man was recovered from a lake at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The day before, a man in his 40s died in front of his family after he slipped and fell while climbing a 200ft cliff in Dorset.
Detectives are investigating after officers were called to Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, at 5.28pm on Tuesday and recovered the body of the teenager, who was pronounced dead at the scene
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson said: ‘This has been a tragic incident in which a boy has sadly lost his life and I would like to advise people of the dangers posed by open water.
‘Even on days as hot as we have had recently, canals can still be very cold and cold water can cause cramps in even the strongest swimmers.
‘Currents created by boats and water movements around locks and weirs can also be dangerous. There may also be items lurking beneath the surface that could cause injury.’
The Met Office says mercury is expected to push 86F across southern England and 77F in Belfast, with temperatures forecast to be cooler in the east. Sun-seekers are warned to beware of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, fatigue ‘and other heat-related illnesses’.
It comes as England reached its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday – 89.96F – recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London. The previous high for the year was 88.88F, which was also recorded at Heathrow on Sunday.
An amber extreme heat warning remains in place for central and southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While much of England is set to sizzle on Wednesday, scattered thunderstorms are forecast to return across the country’s east.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police are appealing for information after the body of a teenager was retrieved from the canal in Knottingley. At 5.28pm today (Tuesday), police were called to a report of a concern for safety regarding a male in water in Stocking Lane.
‘Emergency services attended and retrieved the body of a 15-year-old boy. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His family are being supported by specialist officers.
‘An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances by West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, and detectives are keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at around the above time, or who may have information about how the boy ended up in the water.’
Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log reference 1462 of July 20.
Yesterday a drowned swimmer’s body washed up at a Wakefield nature park. On Monday it was announced a 29-year-old man who drowned after ‘accidentally getting out of his depth’ in the surf near Blackpool.
The RNLI and coastguard launched a frantic five-hour search for the stricken swimmer when he suddenly went under the waves and failed to resurface. It was later confirmed that the victim, from Bolton, had been at the seaside enjoying the warm weather with a group of friends.
A man’s body was recovered from a disused quarry in Dove Holes, Buxton, Derbyshire on Sunday evening. Derbyshire police said they were called to the Victory Quarry at around 7pm last night, following reports that someone had entered the water and ‘found himself in difficulty.’
The force said firefighters and paramedics also attended the scene but ‘despite extensive search and rescue efforts, the man’s body was recovered from the water shortly before 11pm.’
In a plea for no further tragedies, group manager at the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service Paul Hawker said: ‘When the weather is hot, we know people are tempted to cool down by swimming and jumping into open water, however no matter how warm the weather is, the water remains cold which can cause the body to go into cold water shock, making it difficult for even the strongest swimmer.
‘Hidden rocks and debris can also pose a threat as swimmers can easily get tangled and trapped.
‘Yesterday there were over 200 people at Waterswallows Quarry, not far from Victory Quarry, and no doubt countless others at quarries, reservoirs and rivers across the county.
‘Despite repeated prevention messages and visits from the emergency services at known risks in the local area advising of the danger of swimming in flooded quarries where depth change can be quite sudden, it really is sad that a man has lost his life in such tragic circumstances.’