Britons are enjoying a scorching Saturday as temperatures surged once again.
It comes after Friday saw the hottest August day in 17 years, with the mercury hitting 36.4C at Heathrow and Kew Gardens.
Saturday’s top temperature was 34.5C – which was recorded at Frittenden in Kent, Wiggonholt in West Sussex, and Herstmonceux in East Sussex, the Met Office said.
It added that after three days of temperatures widely above 30C, heatwave conditions are now widespread across east and south east England – with the mercury remaining high into next week.
For the second day in a row, crowds of people headed for the coast, with images showing packed out beaches.
Thanet District Council said Ramsgate Main Sands beach in Kent was “extremely busy”, with high tide likely to make social distancing difficult.
Blackpool Police also reported its beaches being busy and said it had had a “larger than usual” number of children going missing.
In Norfolk, police recovered a body from the water at Bawsey Pits near King’s Lynn following reports of a man getting into difficulty in the water.
South East Water urged its customers to put away their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and garden water toys as it warned that some people could be without tap water.
Despite producing an extra 150 million litres of drinking water a day, the company saw a spike in demand on Friday – which outstripped the amount that could be pumped through the network.
The spike meant some people in Kent and Sussex had very low pressure, or no water at all.
South East Water’s head of central operations Steve Andrews said: “Our water technicians have been working round the clock to produce this extra drinking quality water needed – the equivalent of filling to the brim almost half a million baths – but with this record amount of water being used daily it is getting harder to keep up.”
Saturday started with an “impressive” 20C difference between parts of Scotland and south-east England, the Met Office pointed out.
Forecaster Marco Petagna earlier said a breeze along the North Sea coast would keep temperatures in the high teens there, while England and Wales would generally see the high 20Cs or low 30Cs – with cooler temperatures in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
There are some very hot and sticky nights on the way.
London and the South East have endured sweltering heat over the past few days, with no let-up expected until the middle of next week.
The record for the hottest August day is 38.5C, set at Faversham on August 10 2003.
The current record maximum temperature for the UK is 38.7C, reached in Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25 last year.
The Met Office issued a level three heat-health warning for the South and South East, meaning the public should look out for others, particularly the elderly, children and people in poor health.
Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, consultant in public health at Public Health England, said: “This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to Covid-19.
“A lot of homes can overheat, so it’s important we continue to check on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they’re living alone and may be socially isolated.”
But dark clouds are gathering on the horizon.
Dan Harris, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said thunderstorms are on the way, with some places likely to be hit with up to 80mm of rain in just a few hours.
“We’ve issued a broad thunderstorm warning for Monday and Tuesday for all parts of the UK, since although the ingredients are there, it’s just too early to pinpoint the details of exactly where and when thunderstorms will occur,” he said.
“As such, we will be monitoring the developing signals closely and I urge people to keep a close eye on Met Office warnings and forecasts over the coming days.”
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