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Extreme heat ahead of thunderstorm warnings

Thunderstorm warnings have been issued by the Met Office as the heatwave draws to a close with a thundery mix from late on Sunday into the early part of next week.

The Extreme heat warning remains in place until Sunday, with much of England and Wales likely to see temperatures into the low-to-mid 30s Celsius, with a chance of an isolated 36C on Saturday and Sunday. The heat warning highlights the potential impacts these levels of heat can have on health, transport and infrastructure. 

Heatwave continues

Thanks to the influence of high pressure positioned over the UK the heat will continue to build through the rest of week, peaking on Friday and Saturday.  

Heatwave criteria is being met, with temperatures widely into the high 20s Celsius low 30s Celsius across England. Scotland and Northern Ireland could reach official heatwave criteria by Friday.   

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Frank Saunders said:

“Persistent high pressure over the UK means temperatures have been rising day-on-day through this week and it is important people plan for the heat. Temperatures are expected to peak at 35C on Friday and possibly 36C on Saturday and Sunday. Even beyond this, hot conditions will persist in parts of the south of the UK as far as late Monday, and it will turn increasingly humid. 

“We will also see some warm nights, with temperatures in some places staying in the low 20s Celsius.”

Thunderstorm warnings

Yellow thunderstorm warnings have been issued for much of the UK, beginning in Scotland and Northern Ireland from Sunday afternoon. As the hot weather subsides in the north, the change brings with it the risk of some intense thundery downpours and the chance of some surface water flooding.

The warnings will begin from 1200 on Sunday in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with subsequent warnings issued further south, including much of England and Wales, from early on Monday. The warning signals the start of a change in the dominant weather type for the UK as we move into next week.  

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Jason Kelly said:

“The current hot weather will make way for a thundery breakdown from the west, which will spread south and east in the early part of next week. Ahead of this, isolated but intense thunderstorms are possible Sunday and Monday. 

“The warnings highlight the chance of some places seeing around 50mm of rain falling in a three-hour period in the north, with some areas further south possibly seeing around 30mm of rain in a three-hour period. Hail and frequent lightning are also possible as part of these downpours and represents an additional hazard.  

“We’re continuing to monitor how these thundery showers develop on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. There’s a chance of some quite intense downpours at times for some areas and we’re refining the likely location of these in the coming days.” 

While some locations further south could feel grateful for some rain, with England having had its driest July since 1935, intense and thundery showers bring with them the chance of some surface water flooding, falling on to dry ground and often failing to be absorbed.  

Find out how to stay safe in a storm.

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