Heatwave warning for weekend

Britain is braced for warmer weather this weekend after the Met Office warned parts of the country could be hit by a heatwave.

Temperatures could top 30C in some places by early next week, it said.

The weather authority issued a heat-health alert for the East Midlands, east of England and the South East, warning of dangers of high temperatures, particularly for the very old, the very young and those with chronic conditions.

Highs of 32C are possible, with hot temperatures set to peak across East Anglia, the East Midlands and south-east England during Monday, it said.

Head of health forecasting at the Met Office, Patrick Sachon, said: "There is the possibility of daytime and night-time temperatures reaching trigger thresholds.

"These temperatures, together with high humidity, pose a risk to vulnerable people, such as those with underlying health problems."

But the next few days will see varied weather across the UK as a whole, with some places experiencing unsettled conditions and temperatures in the low 20s.

Chief forecaster at the Met Office, Andy Page, added: "There is a 60 per cent chance of some places in East Anglia, the East Midlands and south east England reaching 30C on Sunday and Monday.

"However, it is important to note that not all places will see the hot weather. Cooler weather is expected to spread across all parts of the UK by the middle of next week."

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said today would kick off with cloud skies following rainfall overnight.

Forecaster Andy Ratcliffe said: "There are likely to be some sunny spells breaking through during the afternoon. Where the sun breaks through it will be very warm, with temperatures of up to about 24C or 25C.

"Tomorrow there's set to be some sunshine across the UK, which will result highs of up to about 29C.

"Across Scotland and Northern Ireland it will be cloudier with showers or rain. Towards the end of tomorrow there's the risk of thundery showers developing in Northern England."

The forecasts come as the Environment Agency said the drought is not over, despite many regions of England and Wales already receiving more than average rainfall for June.

So far this month, the South West has received 130% of the normal level of rainfall and the South East has had 118%.

Even central and eastern England, the areas worst hit by months of dry weather, have had 75 per cent and 83 per cent respectively of the month's average rainfall so far in June.

After months of little rain, the unsettled weather does not mean the drought in parts of eastern England, or the risk of it elsewhere, is over, the Environment Agency said.

Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, parts of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire and western Norfolk remain in a state of drought.

While many rivers have responded to the rainfall, there are still a number below normal levels for this time of year, including the Dove and the Derwent in central England, Ely Ouse in East Anglia, Malmesbury Avon in the South West and the Kennet and Coln in the Thames Valley.

There has been some relief for farmers in Kent, however, with the Environment Agency putting on hold notices issued to land managers in Walland and Romney Marsh to stop abstracting water from June 20.

Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, said: "The wetter weather has helped to lessen impacts on the environment this week.

"However, after months of little rain, the recent unsettled weather does not mean the drought or risk of drought is over.

"Without further sustained rainfall, river flows will quickly drop again and our teams remain on alert to respond to the environmental impacts of drought."

He urged people to continue to use water wisely, especially during the current dry period.