Sunny Cardiff clocks up top temperature on hottest day of the year

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On the day that Britons returned to work after a weekend in the sun, temperatures, predictably, rose yet again. Cardiff recorded a high of 31.3C (88.3F), making it the hottest place in the British Isles so far this year.

On the day that Britons returned to work after a weekend in the sun, temperatures, predictably, rose yet again. Cardiff recorded a high of 31.3C (88.3F), making it the hottest place in the British Isles so far this year.

Forecasters said that London could expect even higher temperatures today, possibly reaching 32C before the hot weather leads to storms later in the week. Warm weather is, though, expected to return by the weekend.

In Jersey, temperatures reached 30.8C while Pershore, Worcestershire, recorded a high of 30.7C. Previously, the highest temperature of the year was 30.5C, recorded in Shepshed, Leicestershire, on 22 June.

Retailers reported buoyant trade for June, led by shoppers buying summer clothes and food for barbecues, according to figures published yesterday. Sales rose 3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, and 5.7 per cent in total, well ahead of expectations, the monthly sales monitor published by the British Retail Consortium and the accountants KPMG showed.

Clothing was the star performer last month. Sunglasses, sandals and swimwear did particularly well and seasonal items including ice cream and fresh produce boosted food sales. Wines and spirits also sold well.

Temperatures equalled those experienced by Britons bathing on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, where the hot weather is considered only moderate for the time of year. On the south coast of France, temperatures were lower than in Britain at an average of 29C.

At Cardiff Bay, the rejuvenated bar and restaurant district of the city, owners were revelling in the warm weather and the thirsty customers that came with it. Simon Brake, of the Salt bar, said: "Last week it was brilliant, really good trade. Hopefully the good weather will stay with us."

Western Scotland and Northern Ireland were expected to have some showers today. Clear and hot weather was forecast for the rest of the country, Lindsey Quarrie of PA Weather Centre said.

The bookmaker William Hill has cut the odds against the UK temperature this summer reaching 38C (100F) for the first time on record from 16/1 to a new low of 14/1. Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for the bookmaker, said punters had been laying bets of up to £200. He added: "Even in the sweltering summer of 1976 the odds never dipped below 16/1."

But Ms Quarrie dampened speculation, saying: "That is not very likely in the near future. There will be a thundery break later in the week."

Britain's hottest day on record was in Cheltenham in August 1990, when temperatures reached 37.1C.

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