Temperatures in parts of the South-east rivalled those in the Caribbean yesterday. Holidaymakers in Barbados had to make do with a high of 30C yesterday, while Londoners sweltered in 32C. But the heatwave is raising temperatures in more ways than one, according to Relate, Britain's largest counselling service.
Julia Cole, a Relate counsellor, said: "The hot weather will be magnifying problems because, as people are stressed out, they are less likely to be patient and are more likely to snap at their partner. During periods of hot weather people drink a lot more, especially alcohol, and we know alcohol and marital relationships don't mix - and can lead to violence. Also, small children are very badly affected by hot weather and this can put an extra stress on the family."
The RAC has recorded a higher than normal number of callouts as vehicles and drivers' tempers overheat. "Without question, drivers do become less tolerant as the temperature goes up and levels of aggression and confrontation do increase," an RAC spokesman said.
Elsewhere a teenager died after leaping from cliffs into the sea in what appeared to be part of a new daredevil craze. The 15-year-old, wearing a wet suit, was found floating face down in the water at the foot of 50ft cliffs at Frenchman's Bay, South Shields.
Police were last night investigating what happened but he is believed to have been one of dozens of youngsters who have been jumping into the sea on the South Tyneside coast in the heat.
Forecasters are predicting that the humid weather will persist over the next few days, with a risk of localised thunderstorms.
Weather, page 2