Hottest day of the year predicted in parts of UK

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The Independent Online

Central and southern parts of Britain were today forecast to enjoy the hottest day of the year so far as the weekend heatwave continued.

Britain sizzled in temperatures higher than some Mediterranean hotspots yesterday as sun worshippers made the most of the balmy weather.

Seaside resorts across the south and west of Britain were packed with visitors and in many city parks people stretched out to soak up the sun.

Afternoon temperatures in Manchester reached 26.7C and a late high of 27.7C, at one point edging ahead of Majorca on 26.5C and well above the May average of 16C.

The mercury in many areas of England and Wales climbed into the mid-20s, comfortably exceeding some of the Greek islands and Turkey's beach resorts.

Devon recorded a high of 25.9C, Blackpool 24C, central London 24.1C and Cardiff 24C. In contrast, Bodrum in Turkey, Athens and Crete only managed temperatures of 21C.

Temperatures today were predicted to be even hotter across the central and southern half of England, with inland areas reaching 24 to 26C, London 27C and some spots forecast to climb to 28C. However, cooler weather may start moving into northern areas.

Tiffany Curnick, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Generally, the fine spell of weather is going to continue across central and southern parts of the UK with temperatures topping Saturday by a degree or so.

"Northern England and Scotland will see more unsettled weather with possible thundery showers."

Both the AA and RAC reported a busy day yesterday for breakdowns as high volumes of traffic hit the roads and cars struggled in the heat.

Paul Watters, the AA's head of public affairs, said the firm dealt with 7,500 breakdowns by 4pm, with approximately 400 calls coming in per hour - exceeding the expected 7,000 figure for 24 hours.

The hot weather is the result of an area of high pressure moving up from the south, bringing with it warm air and strong sunshine.

Disappointingly for many, the sunny conditions were not expected to last into next week and over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Tomorrow it is forecast to be cooler in the north, with chilly weather and showers developing across much of the UK on Tuesday.

The Bank Holiday is not expected to be as warm as this week. It is likely to be unsettled with the risk of a few showers.

Sales of ice cream and sausages soared as shoppers dusted off the BBQs to enjoy the sunny weekend weather.

Tesco said it sold more than one million litres of ice cream during Saturday and was expecting to sell approximately 13 million sausages over the two days.

The supermarket giant added over the course of this weekend it expected to shift 5.5 million burgers, 250,000 tonnes of chicken breast, 500,000 kebabs, 30 million bottles of beer, 3 million bottles of wine, 500,000 disposable BBQs and 20,000 regular BBQs.

Tesco spokesman Jonathan Church said: "Apart from the odd few sunny days we haven't had that many BBQ opportunities so far this year which is why we've been seeing rising demand in stores across the UK over the last few days.

"There was a rush for ice cream, salad and sausages yesterday along with other BBQ foods."