UK weather: Heatwave to bring highs of 37C on hottest day of year – before lightning, flooding and hail
The British heatwave could bring its most intense conditions yet with forecasted highs of 37C (98.6F) on Friday accompanied by severe thunderstorms. After some storms early on Friday, motorists are warned ahead of lightning, flash flooding and large hailstones that could hit eastern areas in the afternoon, with a sever weather warning in place for the afternoon until just before midnight. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-30s for much of east and south east England, reaching an estimated 37C in London on so-called Furnace Friday. That would make it the hottest July day ever – the previous record of 36.7C was set in Heathrow in 2015. And the mercury could rise higher still if there is a lot of sunshine, Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said. There is a chance the all-time UK record of 38.5C (101.3F) could be broken, with the hot weather set to continue into August. Meanwhile, cross-Channel rail passengers face difficult journeys after operator Eurotunnel cancelled thousands of tickets as “extreme temperatures” caused major disruption to services. The firm took the “unprecedented decision” to stop passengers from travelling on Friday if they were due to return on the same day or Saturday in a bid to ease long queues. Passengers had faced delays of up to six-and-a-half hours on Thursday when air-conditioning units failed on trains. Mr Deakin said: “The reason there’s some uncertainty is because of the thunderstorms, how many we see and where they get going … torrential rain, the risk of local flooding, large hailstones potentially damaging, lots of flashes of lighting and rumbles of thunder. “Roads like the M11, M18, M1 and A1 won’t be very pleasant, a lot of spray and surface water around.” Thursday saw the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures reaching a peak of 35.1C (95.1F) at Heathrow. A mix of toxic air, extreme highs, emissions from the continent and a lack of cloud cover caused a “high” air pollution alert to be issued for London. Meanwhile, authorities said the heatwave was causing “winter conditions” in parts of the NHS, while many nurses were said to be dizzy and exhausted. Fire brigades also called for a ban on BBQs in parks and drivers were urged not to throw rubbish following a string of grassland fires in recent weeks. Going into Friday night, more showers will come into parts of Wales, south west England and northern Ireland in a sign of things to come for the weekend, Mr Deakin added. Most places will see temperatures closer to average for the time of year, around the high teens to low 20s, with the chance of showers and strong breezes, Mr Deakin said. Some areas will see a more than 10C drop between Friday and Saturday. He added: “Weather fronts are trying to come in from the Atlantic and eventually they will do so. And that has the impact of ousting the really hot and humid air .. it turns runs cooler for the weekend, fresher, more comfortable at night…”.