Beaches and car parks are bracing for an onslaught of visitors as London and the south is set for 82F (28C) sun today – but rain will keep things cooler further north.
The Met Office forecast a weather front to bring a split in temperatures between the two regions with a ‘fairly grey’ day for northern England and north Wales but scorching conditions towards the south-east.
It follows police saying UK motorways looked like a ‘cross between a caravan and a boat show’ yesterday after millions hit the roads ahead of this weekend as the official school holidays begin for many families.
The busy roads heading southbound towards Cornwall, South Devon and Plymouth were piled up with traffic and delays were reported on the M5 southbound, from Gloucestershire all the way down to Somerset.
Most schools are set to break up for the summer holidays between July 20 and July 22, after months of home schooling due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Families pictured enjoying the sunny weather at Branksome beach in Dorset this morning as the temperatures heats up in southern parts of the UK, with the mercury possibly hitting 82F (28C) towards the south-east over today
Beachgoers take a dip in the sea at Branksome beach in Dorset today. Towards the end of the weekend, many areas will see ‘sunny spells’ with any rain across the south slowly clearing away
One member of the public prepares to take to the sea for water sports at Branksome beach in Dorset today. Coral bookmaker has made it odds-on at 1-2 for 86F (30C) or higher being recorded this weekend in the UK
Forecasting today’s weather, Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: ‘For northern England, north Wales it looks fairly grey with outbreaks of rain especially to the west of the Pennines, at times some of that rain could just trickle into mid-Wales and eventually maybe into parts of the Midlands too.
‘But looks like most of the Midlands, most of southern England into East Anglia, dry, bright and very warm once more. Should brighten up a little bit across the far north of England but there is, as I say, quite a bit of uncertainty about the position of this weather front.
‘It could be a bit further north, it could be a little bit further south. But it will definitely bring that contrast in temperatures again, another warm one across the south-east, 28C (82F) is possible, whereas it will be cooler further north but still pleasant enough in the sunshine where we see it across eastern Scotland, north-east England, 20C (68F) is possible.
‘If you’re stuck under that cloud and rain from that weather front though it will feel pretty cool. Now that weather front may pep up again on Saturday evening across parts of Wales especially and again north-west England, staying fairly soggy, the rain could expand as we go into Sunday too.’
Towards the end of the weekend, many areas will see ‘sunny spells’ with any rain across the south slowly clearing away.
Mr Deakin added: ‘That weather front then slowly chugging south into Sunday, still a lot of uncertainty about the timing although it kind of stalls, again though further north the cooler air for Sunday but a fresh bright day for much of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A group of people enjoy the sunny weather and set up a tent at Branksome beach in Dorset this morning. Busy roads heading southbound towards Cornwall, South Devon and Plymouth were piled up with traffic yesterday
One family set up camp and take a bodyboard as they prepare to enjoy the scorching temperatures on Branksome beach in Dorset. Most schools are set to break up for the summer holidays between July 20 and July 22
One member of the public goes roller-skating at Branksome beach in Dorset, with cyclists also seen in the background. It follows yesterday becoming the hottest day so far this month as the mercury hit 83.3F (28.5C) at London’s Heathrow
A cyclist pictured at Branksome beach in Dorset this morning. The sunny weather follows police saying UK motorways looked like a ‘cross between a caravan and a boat show’ yesterday after millions hit the roads ahead of this weekend
‘A few showers, some drifting inland. But across England and Wales that weather front still likely to be around, certainly initially bringing cloud and rain, it should start to clear away though through the day.
‘We could though see some heavier showers breaking out across East Anglia and the south-east later on but there’s a lot of uncertainty about how quickly that weather front scoops away.’
Coral bookmaker has made it odds-on at 1-2 for 86F (30C) or higher being recorded this weekend in the UK.
Coral’s John Hill said: ‘We are set for one of the hottest weekends of the year so far, with our betting indicating 30C or higher could be reached in the UK.
‘With more sizzling temperature on the horizon, we think we could still get a record hot summer this year.’
Met Office’s Alex Deakin, above, forecast a ‘fairly grey’ day for northern England and north Wales but scorching conditions towards the south-east today as a weather front brings a split in temperatures between the two regions
Towards the end of the weekend on Sunday, many areas will see ‘sunny spells’ with any rain across the south slowly clearing away, but ‘uncertainty’ surrounds how quickly the front will last
The busy roads heading southbound towards Cornwall, South Devon and Plymouth piled up with traffic ahead of the weekend, as many families set off on their holidays. Pictured, traffic on the M1 near Worksop yesterday
The firm also made it odds-on at 10-11 for a hosepipe ban this summer and 5-4 for the hottest summer on record in the UK.
It follows yesterday becoming the hottest day so far this month as the mercury hit 83.3F (28.5C) at London’s Heathrow.
The Met Office tweeted: ‘It was the warmest day so far this July as temperatures reached 28.5°C at Heathrow.
‘A cold front brought cloud and rain further north, where it was much cooler. Fresher air will spread south this weekend as the cold front clears through.’
Meanwhile, a swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space was spotted over the south-east coast yesterday.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned that there may be more domestic visitors to Cornwall and Devon than ever this year due to foreign travel restrictions. Pictured, the M1 near Worksop
Traffic pilled up on the M1 near Worksop (above) yesterday and delays were reported on the M5 southbound, from Gloucestershire all the way down to Somerset
Drivers have been asked to avoid travelling in peak times and check how busy the roads are before setting off for long trips
The Met Office’s weather radar picked up the cloud of ants, around 50 miles wide, over Kent and Sussex. Smaller swarms can be seen over London.
The forecaster tweeted a video of the swarm and said: ‘It’s not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise… The radar is actually picking up a swarm of #flyingants across the southeast.
‘During the summer ants can take to the skies in a mass emergence usually on warm, humid and windless days #flyingantday’.’
A spokesman for the weather service said there are likely ‘thousands’ of ants within the swarm.
He said: ‘It’s not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up. A similar thing happened almost exactly a year ago on flying ant day.
‘When it is sunny, the radar detects the swam but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like.’
Flying ant day occurs when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day.
According to the Royal Society of Biology, there is not always one flying ant day, but as many as 96 per cent of days between June and September flying ants are spotted.