A heatwave which has baked the UK over the last few days is expected to end with thunderstorms across much of England and Wales this weekend, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning across much of England and Wales on Saturday and Sunday, saying heavy rain and thundery showers could cause flooding and transport disruption.
But meteorologist Tom Morgan said that while some areas within the warning zone could see a month’s worth of rain, the storms were unlikely to be as bad as those seen on Tuesday.
Windows were smashed and gardens “flattened” by hail in some areas, with residents describing the hailstones in Kibworth, Leicestershire, as “tennis ball sized”.
Mr Morgan said: “In contrast to yesterday when it was really torrential downpours and heavy hail, the weekend weather is just going to be more generally wet.”
The weather warning was issued the day after England reached its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday – 32.2C recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London.
The mercury rose to 31.1C in North Wyke, Devon, on Wednesday, while a provisional all-time record for Northern Ireland was set when 31.3C was logged at Castlederg, Co Tyrone, the Met Office said.
It comes only a few days after the previous record of 31.2C was set at Ballywatticock, Co Down, on Saturday.
Scotland saw a top temperature of 28C in Eskdalemuir on Wednesday while 30.8C was recorded in Usk in Wales.
Meanwhile, emergency services have urged people to be aware of the dangers of going into open water following 12 confirmed water-related deaths in the last four days.
Derbyshire Police said the body of a 15-year-old boy has been recovered from a stretch of the River Trent in Swarkestone after he got into difficulty while swimming in the water on Tuesday.
West Yorkshire Police said officers were called to Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, at 5.28pm on Tuesday and recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Merseyside Police said that a man had died and two others were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby Beach.
The force said officers were called at around 7.10pm on Tuesday following reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea.
Two teenagers died in water in Greater Manchester and Oxfordshire on Sunday, a man in his 50s in North Yorkshire, and a man in his 20s in Sheffield.
On Monday, the body of a man was recovered from a lake at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
In Dorset, a man died after falling from rocks on Sunday.
Amber extreme heat warnings remain in place across parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland until Friday night.
Mr Morgan said that temperatures will begin to cool down slightly on Thursday and Friday with the mercury dropping to the high 20Cs on Friday.
Local authorities have reported having to carry out urgent repairs to roads which have melted in the heat.
Gloucestershire Council Council said that “emergency work” has been carried out on the A38 in Tewkesbury.
Somerset County Council said on Twitter that a number of roads had been affected by the heat and that a sunny day with temperatures of around 20C can be enough to heat the roads to 50C.
Public Health England has also extended its heat-health warning, which warns people to take measures to stay cool and look out for vulnerable people, until Friday.
Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and extreme because of climate change driven by human activity, with scientific analysis finding events such as 2019’s record heat in the UK and Europe and the devastating heatwave in Canada and the US in recent weeks were made much more likely and more severe by global warming.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since pre-industrial times and temperatures will continue to rise, causing greater climate impact, without urgent and significant global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.