The heatwave scorching Britain and much of Europe is set to continue this week, forecasters have warned.
Temperatures will exceed 30C throughout much of Britain, in particularly London and the Midlands fry, although the hot weather will be replaced by rain and thunder as the week progresses.
On the continent a record of 44C was set in Lisbon on Saturday, but the region did not quite reach the all-time European high of 48C which forecasters had cautiously predicted earlier in the week.
“It’s still hot weather in the far south east on Monday and Tuesday, but then on Wednesday everywhere is going back down to normal really,” Becky Mitchell, a meteorologist at the Met Office, told The Independent. "Friday and heading into the weekend we could potentially see a more heavy spell of rain crossing the UK.”
Cooler temperatures are then likely to stretch into the middle of August, but forecasters think this may not be the last we have seen of the extreme temperatures that have characterised this summer.
“It looks quite likely we will see further hot spells towards the end of this month,” Ms Mitchell said.
Those soaking up the rays in the meantime were urged to stay "sun sensible" as temperatures soar in the early part of the week, with highs of 33C possible in parts of the south east on Tuesday.
South Lincolnshire and the north of Norfolk are predicted to experience the hottest conditions.
However, not all of the UK will be gazing into clear blue skies in the coming days. In Scotland and Northern Ireland clouds are likely with some thick enough to bring patchy rain from the west.
England and Wales are to stay generally dry and warmer, with the exception of possible thunderstorms across the south east on Tuesday.
Temperatures will need to climb significantly if they are to come close to England's current August record of 38.5C, which was reached in Faversham, Kent, in 2003.
However, forecaster Dean Hall agreed there will be "quite a marked change to the feel of things" from the middle of the week as conditions turn "fresher and more changeable".
It is likely to stay cooler throughout next weekend, he said, with "no real sign of any return of the heat that we have been seeing over the recent days".
It comes amid a sweltering European heatwave, with holidaymakers in Portugal and Spain feeling the sun most intensely.
The mercury is being driven higher by a hot air mass moving north from Africa, bringing dust from the Sahara Desert.
British holidaymakers abroad are being warned to avoid spending time in the sun during the hottest part of the day and to keep hydrated.
Earlier this week local records were smashed in eight areas of Portugal, where 700 firefighters were dispatched to the Algarve region to tackle a massive wildfire.
Warnings have been issued across Spain and Portugal as the extreme heat appeared to have played a part in at least three deaths. Maximum temperatures in the region peaked at 46C on Saturday.
Additional reporting by PA.
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