Thunderstorms forecast to punctuate heatwave

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The Independent Online

When the heatwave hits, the newspaper clichés - and the tabloid pictures of young women dancing in fountains - soon follow, but, this being Britain, alas so do thunderstorms.

So brace yourself: much of the country is going to bask in temperatures of up to 32C (90F) in the next couple of days but storms are likely from late tomorrow into Wednesday.

Martin Rowley, a forecaster at the Met Office, said any storms would be localised, and "even in the very high-risk areas some places are going to miss the storms completely",adding that flooding may be a problem in some parts.

Large numbers of people in England's most populous cities - London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Oxford - could have a couple of days with no rain and the temperatures may simply edge up, perhaps as high as 32C, he said.

"The past two or three summers we have looked across to the Continent and seen fine, warm sunny weather and it has never quite got over to Britain. It was always swept away from us by the slightest excuse. This year, it has actually made it across the Channel," Mr Rowley said.

"We are sharing in the fine hot weather much of Europe is enjoying at the moment, including right up into southern Scandinavia. Poland and the Baltic states are the only parts of Europe with any noticeable cloud cover."