Brits have defied social distancing by flocking to beaches on the hottest day of the year so far as temperatures soared to 91F and vets warned dog owners against walking their pets in the summer heat.
The mercury sky-rocketed as people crowded together on packed beaches and at beauty spots – but thunderstorms and rain are set to lash the country from tomorrow night.
London Heathrow hit 90.5F (32.5C) at 3pm this afternoon, the first time the temperature has gone above 90F in 2020. The warmest day so far is still May 29 when Dawyck in the Scottish Borders got up to 84F (28.9C).
There is also a chance of temperatures hitting a June record, which is currently 96.08F (35.6C) in Southampton on June 28, 1976. A Level 3 heat alert has been issued as shoppers are warned long queues in the sun may cause heatstroke.
There was a distinct absence of social distancing on British beaches today, just 24-hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the social distancing rule is being halved from two metres to ‘one metre plus’ to allow businesses to open for more customers from July 4.
Britain today announced 154 more deaths and just 653 coronavirus cases, in the lowest daily jump for more than three months as the outbreak continues to fizzle out.
Meanwhile, sunseekers have been advised to take advantage of the heatwave while they can as thunderstorms are expected to hit on Thursday night, bringing torrential downpours.
A packed Bournemouth Beach on Wednesday afternoon after the heat wave brought thousands of people out to the seaside in Dorset
Sun-seekers don bikinis and swim shorts as they take a dip in the river at Hackney Marshes in east London amid soaring temperatures across the country
Beaches in Brighton were packed today as Britain enjoys a new summer mini-heatwave with temperatures expected to soar
Bournemouth beach today with people out enjoying the weather as the country basks in a heatwave during the coronavirus pandemic. A Level 3 heat alert has been issued as shoppers are warned long queues in the sun may cause heatstroke
Sunseekers should take advantage of the heatwave while they can as thunderstorms are expected to hit on Thursday night, bringing torrential downpours
Families carry their beach equipment and picnics with them as they head down to the beach at Durdle Door in Dorset
A group of friends sat on rocks by the cliff edge in Durdle Door, Dorset, as they enjoyed some beers in the sun. Their multi-coloured umbrella was another layer of protection from the sun’s harmful rays
The Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning for the west of the country on Friday and forecasts 1.6in (40mm) of rain in two hours – along with lightning, hail, strong winds causing possible power cuts and flooding.
They also issued a level three weather warning due to the heatwave on Wednesday, as health authorities encouraged those most vulnerable – many of whom have been shielding during the lockdown – to protect themselves amid the ‘exceptionally hot’ weather.
Crowds flocked to Durdle Door in Dorset, Bournemouth Beach and various other beaches and beauty spots across the UK – as many people failed to stick to social distancing.
Thousands of people rubbed shoulders with strangers as beaches were filled with families and sun-seekers looking to spend the day by the sea.
The changes being brought in for England on July 4 warn against music and noise – including showing live sport – as people talking loudly or shouting poses a serious risk of spreading coronavirus.
Despite this, photographs of teenagers enjoying a paddle in a river in Hackney Marshes appear to show people shouting and laughing.
Other changes mean bars will be obliged to keep customers’ details for 21 days so that they can be traced if another drinker is diagnosed with the disease at a later stage. Pints could be ordered by smartphone, eateries will have to keep cutlery under tight control, and condiments will be supplied in sachets.
Hotels will also be radically affected, with face masks in shared spaces, room service left at the door, and lifts reserved for those who cannot avoid using them.
Managers are also advised to threaten to call the police if people start flouting social distancing rules in their premises. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said venues that fail to abide by the rules and put workers and punters in danger could face jail sentences.
Meanwhile, the blueprint for visitor attractions admits that some of the risks from the virus cannot be minimised because it would compromise counter-terrorism security.
The details emerged in a series of documents released by the government this morning covering all the parts of the economy that have been given permission to get up and running from ‘Super Saturday’.
The beach was crowded as sunseekers tried to keep their distance from each other as coronavirus restrictions continue to enforce strict social distancing
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London as temperatures reached 87F at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year
Sunbathers covered themselves in blankets or put up umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun’s harmful rays as temperatures rose throughout the afternoon
The beach at Durdle Door was littered with people this afternoon as crowds headed to the seaside to enjoy the country’s hottest day of the year so far
The scene on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, as crowds gathered for a day at the seaside after the UK officially recorded its warmest day of the year so far
People queuing for ice-cream in Whitley Bay. Inside seating areas are still closed but punters made the most of the loosening in restrictions to buy takeaway food and drinks
Sun-seekers brought canned drinks with them into the water as they caught up with friends in Hackney Marshes in east London earlier today. The Government has previously revealed shouting and laughing can increase the spread of Covid-19
People enjoy the hot weather on Margate beach. Umbrellas in a variety of colours were set up across the sand by sunbathers to offer them shade from the scorching rays
It was impossible to keep two metres away from strangers on the coastal path leading down to the beach at Durdle Door, as people passed within inches of each other
Patricia Sanchez (left) and Maria Gallego cool off in the sea in Bournemouth today. The beach at Bournemouth was packed with sunseekers making the most of the warm weather on the Dorset coast
Revellers at Hackney Marshes in east London queued up to climb a tree and swing into the water from a rope tied to the trunk
Two women relax on the beach in Brighton today as temperatures are set to soar as the country experiences a June heatwave
Men swung on the rope to land in the river at Hackney Marshes in east London today. Crowds failed to keep at a distance from each other as they watched on
There was a party spirit at Hackney Marshes this afternoon as crowds drank canned beverages and danced in the shallow water of the river in east London
Meanwhile, vets have now issued a plea to dog owners to avoid exercising their pets during the hottest part of the day, warning the average survival rate of a dog diagnosed with heat stroke is only 50 per cent.
Emergency care provider Vets Now revealed it sees one of its busiest times when the weather warms up, including a big increase in heat stroke admissions over the summer months. The group warned it only takes a 2C increase in body temperature for heat stroke to kick in.
The illness occurs when dogs are no longer able to self-regulate and keep their temperature down.
Dr Laura Playforth, professional standards director at Vets Now, said: ‘There are two types of heat stroke — exertional and non-exertional.
‘The first occurs during exercise and is much more common on hot sunny days when dogs haven’t had a chance to acclimatise to the sudden rise in heat. The second type is when a dog is exposed to a notable rise in temperature but doesn’t have access to the ventilation, or drinking water, to keep themselves cool. This typically occurs in a parked car, a garden with no shade, or a very hot room.
‘All dogs can overheat if left without water or in hot conditions for too long. So on hot summer days it’s best to walk your dog in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.
‘And ensure drinking water and a cool, shaded spot is always available. It’s a good idea to clip hair if you have a longer-haired breed. Remember to never leave your dog in a hot car or a warm room.’
Families thronged Bournemouth beach as crowds gathered for a day at the seaside where they could take a dip in the sea as a break from the heat
One woman drank out of a jug of Pimms as her friends held on to cans of lager while paddling in the river at Hackney Marshes in east London
Thousands of beach-goers could be seen heading out into the waves at Bournemouth beach in Dorset to get out of the sweltering temperatures
Miles of coastline was peppered with staycationers as people flocked to the UK’s beaches, pictured is Bournemouth, to sunbathe and paddle in the sea
Thousands of people took to the beach for a day in the sun as the mercury hit 87F (31C) at Heathrow airport, making it the hottest day in the UK so far this year
People keep their distance from others as they enjoy the hot weather and sunbath at The Durdle Door beach in Dorset
Friends defied social distancing as they gathered together to dance in the river at Hackney Marshes in east London
A young boy jumps into water at the Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet as other revellers watch on
A beautiful morning for those out exercising by the river Cam in Cambridge as temperatures start to rise
People enjoy warm weather on the beach in Brighton. The coronavirus pandemic is still a threat in the country and people are encouraged to stay two metres apart from each other
Groups failed to stay at a distance from each other as crowds gathered at Hackney Marshes in east London this afternoon
Professional dog walkers take their dogs for a walk along the beach at South Gare near Redcar as people enjoy the hot weather
Despite concerns of overcrowding, beachgoers in Broadstairs were able to socially distance with ease on the sand, in contrast to scenes at Bournemouth and Brighton
Experts have also warned that there will be very high grass pollen levels across England and Wales until Saturday. Lots of pollen is also expected to be released from lime trees – common in towns and cities – and plants such as dock and nettle in rural areas.
The charity Asthma UK is urging people with the condition to plan any outdoor activities earlier in the day when air quality tends to be better.
Leading forecasters and medics have also told people to take extra precautions to stay safe in the sun due to ‘exceptionally high’ UV levels of the next couple of days.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said that UV levels will be ‘reaching eight across many places and will be reaching nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall tomorrow. That’s about as high as it gets really in the UK.
‘The sun is as strong as it gets at the moment because we’re so close to the solstice.
‘We’ve got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine – it’s the perfect ingredients for high UV.’
Mr Burkill advised anyone outside for prolonged periods of time on Wednesday and Thursday should take measures to protect themselves.
Shoppers have also been advised to be aware they could be forced to spend extra time in the sun as a result of social distancing measures.
Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance explained: ‘You could end up in the sun for longer than expected on what would normally be a quick journey, such as queuing to enter the supermarket, so you should be prepared to look after yourself and others.’
Broadstairs on the east coast of Kent welcomed a balmy 78F (26C) earlier in the day
Bournemouth beach today with people out enjoying the weather. Forecasters have warned people to be wary of staying out in the sun for too long
People enjoy the sunny weather in Scarborough as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s
People enjoy the hot weather on Margate beach today as temperatures soar. The hot weather will not last all week as thunderstorms are on there way
People queue for ice creams in Calderstones Park, Liverpool at a safe social distance as the pandemic continues in the UK
People cool off in the River Cam at Grantchester near Cambridge as Britain is braced for a June heatwave this week
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week
People queue in front of a public toilet on the beach in Brighton today. Since the pandemic a number of public toilets have been closed for safety reasons
People enjoying the hot weather in Cullercoats Bay, Tyne and Wear as Britain is braced for a June heatwave as temperatures are set to climb into the mid-30s this week
People take a stroll near the amusements in Blackpool today as the hot weather blasts the UK and temperatures soar
People enjoy the hot weather on Bournemouth beach today while temperatures soar. Later in the week the weather will turn and the UK will be hit by thunder and lightning
She added: ‘Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs, such as headache and dizziness.’
Passengers have been pictured packed onto a tube train on the Jubilee line in London today as sweating commuters in face masks battled the blistering heat of the underground.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned people not to have barbecues on dry grass, not to drop cigarettes or matches, and not to leave rubbish such as glass bottles lying around amid a risk they could start fires.
LFB Deputy Commissioner Richard Mills said: ‘Barbecuing on dry grass is thoughtless and reckless and can easily be the cause of a significant fire, which isn’t something you want on your conscience.
The public is also being reminded to take care around water throughout the summer, amid concerns people might be tempted to take a dip to cool down.
Emergency services rushed to the River Thames in Cookham, Berkshire, on Tuesday evening amid reports that a man was missing after going into the water.
Concern has been expressed that increase in the alert level might have come too late for many of most vulnerable.
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said: ‘The Government has so far failed to amend the Heat-Health Watch Service so that it provides better protection for people who are particularly at risk from the effects of heat this summer.’
Passengers have been pictured packed onto a tube train on the Jubilee line in London today as sweating commuters in face masks battled the blistering heat of the underground
Although most managed to keep one seat between themselves and another passenger, for many carriages on the London underground social distancing proved impossible
The heat of the notoriously sweaty London underground was too much for some passengers as crowds packed onto carriages despite social distancing measures amid coronavirus
Facemasks are now mandatory on public transport. They are supposed to cover the nose and mouth and should not be worn around the neck. However, some passengers appeared to be wearing the coverings incorrectly in London today
Two women sit socially distanced on a bench at South Gare near Redcar as people enjoy the hot weather today
People enjoy the hot weather on the Henley on Thames, in Oxford, as temperatures soar to 88F. But thunderstorms are expected later in the week
People in the water at Sandy Bay beach, Porthcawl as the Met Office warn temperatures could reach 34 degrees this week
A group of men enjoying the hot weather in Blackpool today. Forecasters have warned people to be careful of the high levels of UV rays
People sunbathe in front of beach huts in Brighton, today on the hottest day of the year so far, and it could get even warmer
A rower along the River Cam in Cambridge with two swans either side. It is expected to get to temperatures of 91F today
Lucy Campbell aged 24, enjoys the sunshine at the Woolacombe beach in Devon. Today could be the hottest June day on record
People kayak along the River Cam in Cambridge as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week
Lifeguards on Crosby Beach put out warning signs as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to soar
Horse riders out on the beach at Bracklesham Bay,in West Sussex on Wednesday morning and making the most of the hot weather.
Temperatures are set to soar today and on Thursday as the UK braces itself for a heatwave during the pandemic
Earlier this year a study, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, of the heatwave plan for England found that most deaths and hospital admissions associated with heat happen outside periods when the alert system is triggered.
Yesterday scores of Britons flocked to the nation’s beauty spots, including parks in central London and beaches in Bournemouth and Kent, as muggy weather last week makes way for a scorcher this week.
Peak temperatures are set to make the UK hotter than Ibiza or the Bahamas – with the Met Office issuing a level-two heat warning, urging those spending time outside to make sure they protect themselves from the sun.
Temperatures reached 84F (29C) around Heathrow and Kew Gardens, 78F (25C) in Cardiff, 70F (21C) in parts of Scotland and 67F (19C) in Northern Ireland yesterday, a Met Office spokesman told MailOnline.
Mercury is expected to reach 90F (32C) in southern England, 86F (30C) in northern England and parts of Wales, 79F (26C) in Scotland and 72F (22C) in Northern Ireland today.
On Thursday, the high would be just 3.1F (1.6C) below the UK’s highest ever June temperature of 96.1F (35.6C), which was set in London in 1957 and then equalled in Southampton in 1976.
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave
Sunseekers had more space to themselves on Blackpool beach earlier today, but only saw temperatures climb to 77F (25C). The town could however experience a sweltering 83F (28C) spell tomorrow before rain later in the week
A woman reads a book by the sea in Brighton today on the hottest day of the year so far as the country basks in a heatwave
The hottest day of 2020 until now was May 29 when Dawyck in the Scottish Borders got up to 84F (28.9C), and the Met Office said it is likely today will beat that in the South, then again tomorrow and for a third time on Thursday.
But while many people unable to go abroad due to coronavirus might welcome the heat, it comes with possible dangers with forecasters urging those spending time outside to ensure they protect themselves from the sun.
‘One man drowns and a second is fighting for life’ after going swimming at beauty spot weir on the River Thames in Berkshire
Emergency services have launched a desperate search for a man who is feared to have drowned after jumping into the Thames to save his friend.
The 31-year-old man dived into the stretch of river by the village of Cookham, Berkshire, when his friend into trouble yesterday.
However he failed to resurface and has not been seen since.
One man managed to be pulled out of the water by friends but he was unconscious and need CPR before being rushed to hospital in a serious condition.
The pair had been part of a group of six friends who had travelled from Uxbridge in Middlesex for an afternoon by the river.
Police, fire and rescue and air ambulance crews all rushed to the scene.
And on Friday, temperatures will drop as much as 46F (8C) in parts of Britain, as the June sunshine is replaced by cloudy weather, thunderstorms, rainfall, and intermittent lightning and hail in northern England and Scotland.
Britons suffering with hay fever, asthma and grass pollen allergies are expected to be badly affected this week, with pollen levels having been very high across most of England today.
According to the Met Office pollen map, today will be the worst day for hay fever sufferers, with all of the UK except Scotland set to experience very high levels of pollen.
Pollen levels will drop off on Thursday and Friday, before increasing again to ‘very high’ in time for the weekend in Wales, the south east and all of the east coast.
The Met Office said there is an 80 per cent probability of heat-health criteria being met between 9am tomorrow and 9pm on Friday.
The warning is triggered when the risk of temperatures crossing a potentially risky threshold in one or more parts of the country for two days in a row hits 60 per cent.
The alert temperature varies regionally from 82F (28C) to 89F (32C) in the day and 59F (15C) to 64F (18C) at night.
The Met Office said in its heat warning: ‘This is an important stage for social and healthcare services who will be working to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.’
Met Office chief meteorologist Dan Suri said: ‘This hot weather is expected to last until at least Friday and so heatwave conditions are likely to develop for some areas this week.
‘In addition to the warm days we are going to see some warm nights this week as temperatures overnight remain in the mid-high teens across England and Wales.’
Some were already making the most of the good weather yesterday, with open spaces such as parks and riverbanks filling up with sunbathers and those glad of the opportunity to finally take some proper exercise.
In the New Forest, landlord Nick Cross found himself offering a cooling cider to horses Snowy and Whiteheart at the Sir Walter Tyrrell pub in Brook, Hampshire.
While many outdoor swimming areas remain closed because of the pandemic, meaning there are fewer places for overheating Britons to have a dip, beaches across the country are open and are expected to be very busy.
The balmy weather, however, is expected to be followed by thunderstorms on Friday, and over the weekend it will be much fresher and more changeable as temperatures drop.
A Met Office forecaster said: ‘We’ve got high pressure to the South East of the UK over the next few days which is going to be drawing our air up from the continent’, and France and Spain.
Temperatures wise rise further today and on Thursday when they could hit 93F (34C) in parts of southern England
The balmy weather is expected to be followed by thunderstorms on Friday, and over the weekend it will be much fresher
Talking about the record for the hottest day of the year so far yesterday, Mr Miall explained: ‘It’s likely tomorrow (Tuesday) will beat that in the South, do it again on Wednesday and then again on Thursday.
‘Thursday will probably be the hottest day in the region of 33C (91F) or 34C (93F) ‘, but he added ‘that’s not quite the June record from 1976’. ‘Although it’s fairly uncommon to get 34C in June at the moment, it doesn’t look like we’re going to break any of the records.’
Things will start to cool off for the weekend: ‘By Saturday most places will be seeing the fresher air coming across for the weekend, so although it might still be humid at times I think generally temperatures will be falling below heatwave.’
The yellow shaded areas are where the Met Office expects heatwave criteria will be met between today and Friday
With the dry and sunny weather expected and the Government’s Covid-19 alert level lowered to three, emergency services across the country are urging people to continue to respect the two-metre social-distancing restriction.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has also warned against starting campfires which can easily get out of control, and to call 999 immediately if you spot a fire.
The NFCC said: ‘The weather is forecast to improve and, although we’ve had our fair share of rain recently, the risk of wildfires remains.
‘These fires are often preventable, so if you are enjoying the countryside please be wildfire-aware and look out for our advice.’
People with elderly relatives should also make sure they are finding a way to keep cool during the lockdown, Age UK has warned. The charity’s director, Caroline Abrahams, said older people are more susceptible to heat-related illness.
‘Lockdown and shielding bring added complications as it can be harder to spot someone who may be getting into difficulties and in need of extra help,’ she said.
‘There are so many different ways to get in touch during the pandemic, whether it’s a note through the door, picking up the phone, or, for those online, messaging via social media or chatting by video message like Face Time or Skype.
‘The important thing is keeping in touch and to make sure older people are okay.’