Heat wave: UK gears up for hottest day of the year

Britain’s sweltering heat wave is expected to peak on Friday with temperatures as high as 34°C (93.2°F).

The Met Office said London and potentially some places in East Anglia are more likely to hit that high, making it the hottest day of the year so far.

Away from the capital and south east, highs of 27C to 30C (80.6F to 86F) are to be expected over most of England and Wales, making much of the UK warmer than parts of Jamaica and the Maldives.

Thursday was the hottest day of the year so far with 29.5C (85.1F) recorded in Northolt, west London, on Thursday.

Highs of 26.1C (78.98F) were recorded in Cardiff, 21.4C (70.52F) in Edinburgh and 20.6C (69.08F) in Derrylin in Northern Ireland on Thursday.

The UK Health Safety Agency and the Met Office have issued a level 3 heat health alert for London, eastern England and the south east.

This alert follows the Level 2 issued on Tuesday and confirms that the Met Office threshold temperatures for an alert will be reached in three regions starting on Friday.

A Level 2 Alert remains in effect for East Midlands and South West.

While England and Wales will enjoy the heat on Friday, it will be cooler in Northern Ireland and Scotland, which will see rain.

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Britons are flocking by the thousands to parks and beaches during the warm period, in part due to warm air from Spain and Portugal. Both countries had temperatures of 40C (104F).

And as Friday will bring no truce to most of the UK, for the first time in its history, Royal Ascot will allow gentlemen to remove their ties, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Men attending the prestigious event are almost always required to wear full morning attire – with a top hat, vest and tie – but a spokesperson said: high temperatures.”

Some attributed the extreme heat to climate change.

Firefighters also warned that severe temperatures increase the risk of fires.

The London Fire Department said it has responded to more than 1,430 grass and open ground fires across the city this year.

Charlie Pugsley, its assistant fire safety commissioner, said: “We want people to enjoy the glorious weather and do it safely.

“Barbecuing on dry grass is reckless and can easily cause a very serious fire – damaging the immediate area and risking nearby property.

“We are also asking people to think twice about having barbecues on their porches.

“We’re not trying to take the fun out of the heat wave, but for the sake of our city – and our firefighters who have to work in scorching temperatures to fight these blazes – we’d love for people to heed our board advice.

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Firefighters also warned people not to risk their safety for a refreshing dip.

The LFB said there were nine accidental drownings in London last year.

The highest temperature recorded in the UK in June was 35.6 C (96 F) at Southampton Mayflower Park in June 1976, but meteorologists do not expect that high to be surpassed this week.

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