After the heatwave? Thunderstorms and showers

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The Independent Online

The heatwave looks set to come to end today after temperatures reached as high as 32C in London yesterday.

While thunderstorms caused severe disruption around the country, at Wimbledon thousands of tennis fans soaked up the sun on Murray Mount as both Venus and Serena Williams cruised into Saturday's final.

In central London, Trafalgar Square's fountains were shut down after soaring temperatures caused the growth of unsightly algae.

But the death of two police dogs in Nottingham served as a reminder of the dangers of the extreme heat. The two German shepherds were left in a car by their handler at Nottinghamshire police headquarters in Arnold. A bouquet of flowers was laid outside the Sherwood Lodge HQ yesterday.

The Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog and welfare charity, which has long campaigned to raise awareness about the risks of leaving dogs in hot cars, said it was "saddened" by the news.

A spokesman said: "The charity would like to remind dog owners and police dog handlers that leaving your dog locked in a car can prove fatal, particularly during a heatwave.

"It can take just 20 minutes for a dog to die and temperatures reach over 40C in some vehicles."

Police also confirmed that a 17-year-old boy died on Wednesday while swimming with friends in a reservoir near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

In the South-west the story was different, where around 300 homes were left without power after a series of lightning strikes. Flooding was also reported in the Falmouth area.

The Environment Agency and Met Office had previously warned of flash flooding in South-west England and South Wales yesterday, though the downpours that arrived were less severe than anticipated. Flash flooding was also reported across County Durham in the North-east.

The hottest day of the year so far was Tuesday, when Wisley in Surrey recorded 31.8C while a number of sites across London also saw temperatures breaking the 31C mark, making London and the South-east as warm as or slightly warmer than Greece.

Many people have been flocking to parks and beaches to enjoy the hot weather and sunshine, with sales of electric fans and ice creams soaring.

Today a cold front will move east across the UK, introducing fresher air from the west. These cooler temperatures will also be accompanied by further showers and heavy thunderstorms.

Although it will feel much cooler than it has done recently, temperatures will still continue to range in the low to mid-20s over the weekend.