UK weather: Britons swelter in 28C heat on hottest day of the year

Temperatures will reach as high as 34C later this week

<p>Wednesday is the hottest day of the year so far</p>

Wednesday is the hottest day of the year so far

Britons have sweltered in the hottest day of the year, marking the start of a heatwave with temperatures expected to soar to 34C on Friday.

Temperatures on Wednesday reached 28C in parts of London, and parts of the southeast were exceptionally hot.

The UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office issued a Level 3 heat-health alert – the second-highest on a scale of 0-4 – for London, east of England and the southeast, with a level 1 alert in place for northern England.

The 28C recorded at St James’s Park in central London makes it the hottest day of the year so far, eclipsing the 27.5C set in mid-May at Heathrow.

Parts of the UK were forecast to be warmer than Greek Islands Santorini, Mykonos and Zakynthos – as well as Los Angeles and parts of Barbados.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “We have got the heat building day by day. The next couple of days will be hotter than the preceding day.

“We think at the moment, although there is some uncertainty, that the weather temperatures will peak on Friday and then largely we will be in for a cooler day on Saturday.

“Heat may remain, potentially, into Saturday but for most parts of the UK, because we have got a cold front moving down from further north, we will see temperatures coming back down – but they may just hang on in southern England.”

Greg Dewhurst, a forecaster, said the 28C would be surpassed on Thursday, with the mercury rising again to around 29C before reaching 33C or even 34C on Friday.

On the four-level heat-health alert scale, Level 1 is the lowest warning.

Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “Climate change has increased the average temperature of UK summers, and it is also increasing the likelihood of experiencing more extreme temperatures during hot spells and heatwaves.

“Reaching 34C (93.2F) during June is a rare, but not unprecedented, event in the historical climate records for the UK. But if it should happen this week it would be notable that it would have occurred on three days during the last six Junes.”

The previous year such temperatures were reached in June was 1976.

Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at the UKHSA, said: “During periods of hot weather it is especially important to keep checking on those who are most vulnerable, such as older people and those with heart or lung conditions.

The government has issued a health warning ahead of the incoming warm weather

“Make sure to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and follow our simple health advice to beat the heat.”

Charity Age UK is urging elderly people to take some simple precautions, particularly if they have breathing problems or a heart condition.

Caroline Abrahams of the charity said: “Older people can be at risk of dehydration and overheating when it gets hot, especially if they live somewhere that is hard to keep cool, so it’s a good idea to let people know if you have any concerns about yourself, especially if you live alone.

“For the rest of us, checking in on older relatives and neighbours is a nice idea – for example, you may have an extra fan you can lend, and the offer of an ice cream when it is sweltering will usually be appreciated too.”

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