Thunderstorms and rain on the way as heatwave gives way


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The Independent Online

The mini-heatwave which has swept Britain looks set to end after forecasters predicted cooler temperatures and unsettled weather for the week ahead.

Forecasters are predicting a gradual cooling during the week to come, including widespread thundery showers across parts of the country on Wednesday and culminating in a substantially cooler Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for the south east and east as a build-up of humidity threatens to spark torrential rain and flash flooding .

The Met Office's Yellow Warning says that isolated thunderstorms later in the afternoon and during the evening have the potential to generate torrential downpours. The public have also been warned to be aware of the risk of local flash flooding, especially in urban areas.

Sun worshippers have flocked to beaches and parks over the last few days as the country basked in unseasonably fine and hot weather, with the highest temperature reaching almost 28C (82.4F) in Bournemouth.

It has also led to a number of water-related tragedies including the death of a 15-year-old boy who drowned in a reservoir in Chorley, Lancashire.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said there will be gradual cooling during the week to come - culminating in a substantially cooler Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

Showers are predicted for much of England and Wales by Thursday, with a chance of thunderstorms hitting central areas.

Forecaster Nick Prebble said: "Many places will see sun tomorrow, with temperatures peaking at 23C (73.4F) in London. But Scotland will feel much cooler and there is chance of a few spots of rain.

"On Wednesday, northern areas of the UK will be cooler with patchy rain. Further south in Yorkshire there will be heavy rain with a few rumbles of thunder.

"Temperatures will drop off considerably during Thursday and Friday with heavy showers across England and Wales. The highest temperature will be around 19C (66.2F) in London.

"There is no indication that the recent fine temperatures will continue into the weekend unfortunately, with maximum temperatures of 15-16C."

Forecasters say the biggest difference in temperatures will be north-east Scotland, which could be a lot cooler this week.

Yesterday's hot-spot was Wisley in Surrey, which had the highest temperature at 27.4C (81.3F). Last week was the driest since the end of March, according to the Environment Agency.

Warnings were issued about the dangers of cooling off in the water after the death of a man who drowned as he rescued two children from the sea.

The 25-year-old who drowned off West Wittering beach, near Chichester, West Sussex, had gone to the assistance of two youngsters who were playing in a rubber ring, Sussex Police said.

The news came after the death of 23-year-old Nicholas Smith, who was pulled from the water in Linn Park near Simshill on the south side of Glasgow, and died later in hospital.

In a further incident, a 22-year-old man died after getting into difficulty while swimming with friends at a disused quarry at Ballykelly, near Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

His body was recovered by the Garda Sub Aqua Unit on Sunday evening.

The tragedies followed the death of a 15-year-old boy who drowned when he jumped from a bridge into the River Thames in Oxford on Friday night.

The body of the teenager, named locally as Hussain Mohammed, was not recovered for two hours after he was seen plunging into the water.