Britain basks in sunshine – cue the flood warnings

Millions of Britons basked in the sunshine yesterday as temperatures almost matched those in the Caribbean. A high of 32.8C was recorded in Gravesend, Kent, making it the hottest day of the year so far.

Across the country, the heat caused problems on trains and Tube lines, with speed restrictions on commuter routes as the sun overheated rails and power lines.

But the warm weather was expected to come to a halt today, with the Environment Agency and Met Office warning people that there could be localised flooding in parts of southern, central and eastern England as heavy rain follows the heatwave.

At Wimbledon, spectators were warned to drink extra water, cover their heads and slap on the sun lotion to protect themselves on the hottest day recorded at Wimbledon in the last four years.

Temperatures soared during Andy Murray's successful bid to reach the quarter-finals. Newlyweds Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were among the hundreds of onlookers who endured the scorching sun during the two-hour match.

By mid-afternoon, 146 people had been treated at Wimbledon's first-aid centres. The shops had to restock suncream by 11am and vendors on Murray Mound had run out of ice cream by lunchtime. Fifty volunteers stood by to deliver first aid.