UK heatwave: ‘Lazy, hazy, crazy’ Britons kickback in scorching weather

BBC Weather: UK set for highs of 33C ahead of thunderstorms

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And the mercury is set to rise even further today with forecasters predicting 95F. Social distancing was widely flouted as thousands headed to the seaside and packed on to beaches at Brighton and Bournemouth. Hordes also flocked to beauty spots such as Warleigh Weir on the River Avon near Bath.

But the sunny spell will end tomorrow with thundery downpours and a month’s worth of rain possible in less than an hour.

The storms will sweep in from the South-west this evening before moving north throughout the day.

The Met Office has issued thunderstorm alerts for tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, with the entire country given a yellow warning on Friday.

Up to 2in of rain could fall in less than an hour in places, bringing a risk of flooding, while lightning and hail could also pose a danger.

A public health warning has also been issued for coronavirus “shielders”, the elderly, young children and people with health conditions most at risk.

UV levels are also expected to hit their UK maximum level of nine today while hayfever sufferers will also face “very high” pollen levels.

Forecasters and medics urged people to take extra precautions in the sun, and a water safety warning has been issued as people go for dips. One man is missing and feared drowned after going for a swim in the River Thames in Cookham, Berks, on Tuesday evening.

The Met Office said: “Many places will miss the worst of the storms but where they do occur torrential downpours could bring 30-40mm rain in less than two hours. Lightning and hail are also likely to be hazards.”

Meteorologist Alex Burkill added that UV levels would be “reaching eight across many places and will be reaching nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall” today. He said: “We’ve got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine – it’s the perfect ingredients for high UV.”

Shoppers have been advised to protect themselves. Dr Lynn Thomas, at St John Ambulance, said: “You could end up in the sun for longer than expected on what would normally be a quick journey, such as queueing to enter the supermarket, so you should be prepared to look after yourself.”

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