Britons have headed to the beach as 35C temperatures and drought conditions are predicted for the southern half of the UK this weekend, while thunderstorms and potential floods on Monday are forecast to bring an end to the warm weather.
Droughts have already been declared in eight areas of southern and central England, and several grasslands have caught alight in these zones following the driest summer in half a century.
The 13910-1ade-11ed-9bfc-3fa7ec11bac4" class="class">Met Office has issued an amber heat warning covering most of England and Wales, where temperatures may reach up to 35C today and Sunday.
The mercury will hit around the 30C mark further north in England, while much of Scotland and Northern Ireland can expect temperatures in the mid-twenties.
Heat-related illnesses including sunburn and heat exhaustion are ‘likely’ among the general population, and delays to public transport are ‘possible’.
Met Office meteorologist Dan Stroud said that the weather will continue to be dry across the south.
‘For the rest of the weekend, across the south, there will be a continuation of the very dry and hot conditions,’ he said.
‘We’re looking at temperatures, for the remainder of Saturday, of up to 34C or 35C across the south, feeling a little bit fresher across the north, but temperatures up there still well above where they should be for the time of year.
‘As we move into, into Sunday, a slight change with low pressure starting to arrive from the south.
‘There is an increasing risk of some isolated showers across Devon and Cornwall, very early on Sunday.
‘Most places still generally dry and fine, with some strong August sunshine, with those temperatures rising rapidly during the course of Sunday morning and into the afternoon.’
He added that there was still a risk of more wildfires.
‘It has been extremely dry for an extended period and the ground and vegetation has been baked dry, so there is a significant risk.’
An official drought was declared in eight areas of England on Friday by the National Drought Group (NDG), which comprises representatives from the Government, water companies, the Environment Agency (EA) and others.
England’s drought could persist into the next year, according to the EA.
Jersey Water is the latest company to urge residents not to use hosepipes and sprinklers after the island, some 85 miles south of the English coast, reached its second ‘absolute drought’ of 2022 after more than 15 days without rain on August 5.
According to the firm, the demand for water during the week reached around 22 million litres of water per day, around 2.5 million more compared to the same period last year.
Let to right: Saorla Boyle, Aoife Hanly and Aine Cronin make the most of the weather at Helens Bay Beach in Northern Ireland on Saturday amid another scorching heatwave across the UK
The UK’s heatwave is set to continue with temperatures of up to 35C (95F) predicted for this weekend (pictured: people enjoying the morning sun on Bournemouth beach)
A woman cools off with an outdoor shower at Bournemouth Beach this morning, where it is predicted to reach 29C
People making the most of the weather at Helens Bay Beach in Northern Ireland
Crowds of people made the trip to the seaside today to enjoy the warm weather
The southern half of the UK has been suffering drought conditions this weekend, while the northern half braces for thunderstorms on Sunday
Londoners get out their deck chairs as they bask in the sun amid searing temperatures on Saturday
Bournemouth Beach was lined with parasols as Brits looked to relax in the shade
People play in the water at Chalkwell beach in Southend during the extreme hot weather on Saturday
People sunbathe on parched grass Eastville Park, Bristol, on Saturday, after the Met Office issued an amber warning for extreme heat covering four days from Thursday to Sunday
Two women sit in on the promenade on Chalkwell beach while donning protective sun hats during the extreme hot weather on Saturday
Tens-of-thousands of festival-goers are having endure the heat at this year’s Boomtown Fair, held in Hampshire
Temperatures have been up to 34C today at Boomtown Fair (pictured people attempting to stay cool and hydrated at the festival)
A woman walks in the heat past the goalposts on the scorched, dry grass on Hackney Marshes in London
The weather further up north in the UK is dramatically different, with warnings of thunderstorms and floods in the coming days (pictured: Roker Beach, Sunderland)
A family enjoying a paddleboard on the sea by Sunderland as the beach is enveloped in fog
The temperature towards the top of the UK is closer to 20C (pictured: a foggy coast in Sunderland)
People making the most of the weather at Helens Bay Beach in Northern Ireland
A woman tops up her tan while asleep on Bournemouth Beach today
Harvey Bradshaw, chair of the National Drought Group, told Radio 4’s Today programme that people are suffering and that there is ‘real stress’. Pictured: Bournemouth Beach
He said that over the last 12 months nearly every month we have had below average rainfall, low levels or exceptionally low levels. Pictured: A man on a zipline at Bournemouth Beach
General views at this year’s Boomtown Fair, on the Matterley Estate, Ovington, Hampshire
A family of festival-goers from Cumbria attempt to stay cool during a heatwave at this year’s Boomtown Fair
Labour has called on the Government to summon a meeting of the Cobra civil contingencies committee to ensure water supplies are protected amid the ongoing drought. Pictured: Bournemouth Beach
Deputy leader Angela Rayner criticized the Government saying their inaction is creating a dust ‘bowl Britain’ and that there needs to be a plan to protect the water system. Pictured: Bournemouth Beach
Pre-season rugby games are being forced to be cancelled because the surfaces are unplayable after weeks without rain. Pictured: Bournemouth Beach
Harvey Bradshaw, chair of the National Drought Group, told Radio 4’s Today programme that people are suffering and that there is ‘real stress’.
He said that over the last 12 months nearly every month we have had below average rainfall, low levels or exceptionally low levels.
Labour has called on the Government to summon a meeting of the Cobra civil contingencies committee to ensure water supplies are protected amid the ongoing drought.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner criticized the Government saying their inaction is creating a dust ‘bowl Britain’ and that there needs to be a plan to protect the water system.
Pre-season rugby games are being forced to be cancelled because the surfaces are unplayable after weeks without rain.
The pitches have burned out and crusted over, making them rock hard and bringing an element of risk as it increases the chances of players suffering injuries.
The Football Supporters’ Association urged clubs change their rules to helps of fans on a scorching afternoon in the stands.
‘Clubs should be allowing fans to take water bottles and sun cream through the turnstiles,’ the FSA says on Twitter. ‘Worth checking with your club to see if they are providing extra water or refilling stations.’
Meanwhile summer will come to an abrupt end on Monday, as a lower-level yellow warning for thunderstorms is in for the entirety of the UK.
As much as 20mm to 30mm of rainfall could be seen in an hour, meaning there is a ‘small chance’ of flooding in and the potential for power cuts.
However the rainfall may not help alleviate drought conditions as the parched ground doesn’t easily absorb water, instead it tends to run off the surface.
This means the rainfall is transported quickly into streams and rivers and increases the chance of a flash flood.
An amber heat warning covering most of England and Wales has been issued by the Met Office
Heat-related illnesses including sunburn and heat exhaustion are ‘likely’ for people in the south of UK while flooding and thunderstorms are predicted for Scotland (pictured: Bournemouth Beach this morning)
A man and a woman enjoy paddle boarding at Bournemouth Beach
A woman sunbathing on the dried grass on Wimbledon Common in the sweltering heat
The Met Office has issued an amber extreme heat warning across England and Wales lasting for the rest of the week when temperatures are expected to rise above 30C
The driest spell in England for 46 years continues and a drought has been officially declared by the Environment Agency
A few pub drinkers sitting outside a pub on the parched grass on Wimbledon Common
People lie on parched grass inside Hyde Park on August 13 in London
After a prolonged period of dry weather, some parts of the southern UK are facing drought conditions, prompting hosepipe bans and other water-conservation measures. Pictured: St James’s Park
Several grasslands in the UK have caught alight following the driest summer in half a century (pictured: Large fire tears through Creswell village in Derbyshire)
Dry grass covers a parched Primrose Hill following official droughts being declared in parts of England
WEST YORKSHIRE: Low water levels at Baitings Reservoir in Ripponden reveal an ancient pack horse bridge as drought conditions continue in the heatwave
Data collected from more than 18 water companies, including Thames Water, Severn Trent Water, United Utilities and Welsh Water, showed that sites ranging from Oxfordshire and London, to Warwickshire, had no water or poor pressure
Joggers were out early this morning along Bournemouth Beach to avoid the warm weather predicted for later today
On Friday families appeared to have pitched up tents and camped overnight at the sun spot on the south coast
A number of tents could be seen on the sand early yesterday morning, before the beach filled up with sun worshippers
Baylis Park Pond in Slough has dried out leaving ducks and wildlife displaced (pictured)
Met Office weather predictions for today and tomorrow show weather warnings for extreme heat and thunderstorms
Almost all of UK is at risk of thunderstorm on Monday and large parts of England and Wales on Tuesday
Early risers were pictured getting their exercise done well before the heat soared, and beachgoers planning to beat the rush started piling onto Bournemouth’s famous seascape early on in the morning.
While sunseekers were seen pitching up their tents overnight in anticipation of scorching temperatures that will make the UK hotter than parts of the Caribbean.
The overnight campers risked the wrath of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council – and a £1,000 fine – by ignoring rules and setting up their tents the evening before so they could grab the best spots.
Meanwhile, the hot and dry weather meant fire crews in Derbyshire were tackling a huge blaze well into Friday night, with four fire engines at the scene in Creswell, Worksop.
Footage shared online showed flames filling the horizon and large plumes of smoke in the sky above a residential area.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service also fought embankment blazes beside a railway in Matlock, and near Junction 26 of the M1.
Oli Mousley, 19, a law student who lives in the village, said there was also ‘ash floating around’ in the residential area nearby and a ‘strong smell of burning’.
The service said it was ‘planning for a busy weekend’ of further fires, and echoing the pleas of fire services across the nation, asked people to refrain from starting garden bonfires or using portable barbecues.
Some 35 firefighters were also deployed to tackle a two-hectare blaze at the Leyton Flats wildlife reserve in Waltham Forest, east London.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) crews have been captured beating back the flames at the scene of the blaze at the Leyton Flats wildlife reserve in east London.
The service has also warned of a blaze in Merton, in the south east of the capital, where four engines and about 25 firefighters were deployed.
South west of London, fire crews worked overnight to tackle a blaze involving 800 tonnes of straw which had destroyed a farmer’s field in Overton, near Basingstoke.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service also said a woodland area caught alight in Beaulieu, in the New Forest National Park, caused by a campfire or barbecue.
Elsewhere, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is currently battling a large wildfire in the town of Camborne.
At just after 3pm, the service said eight fire appliances were trying to control the blaze on Kerrier Way.
At 4.20pm, it asked the public to stay away from the scene, which is close to a residential area, due to the potential of live electric wires falling, and to allow further fire engine to reach the fire.
An LFB spokesperson has warned that with more high temperatures on the way, people must take care to dispose of rubbish, particularly glass.
They said: ‘There are still high temperatures forecast, especially for the coming days, and the ground remains dry.
‘We’re urging people to take extra care and help us prevent fires on open land this summer.
‘Make sure rubbish, especially glass, is safely thrown away and cigarettes are always properly disposed of.
‘Grass will be tinder dry after periods of hot weather, so please don’t have barbecues in parks and public spaces.’
The service said there were no ongoing fires in the capital at 9pm on Friday.
England’s drought could persist into the next year, according to the EA.
John Curtin, executive director for local operations at the EA, said that after the driest summer in 50 years, it would take ‘weeks’ worth of rain’ to replenish water sources.
‘We’ve lost a week’s worth of rain and it’ll take weeks of rain, we’ll need probably average or slightly above average rainfall this autumn into this winter for us to not be in a drought next year.’
Precipitation in the north may trigger floods if the rainfall is of sufficient intensity to result in high-velocity flows.
Flash flooding could occur as slow-moving thunderstorms deposit rain on to baked, hardened surfaces with water running off into potential downstream deluges rather than soaking into the ground.
The announcement that weeks worth of rain are required could lead to more measures such as hosepipe bans, however, the EA has reassured the public that essential water supplies are safe.
Eight of 14 areas designated by the EA have now moved to ‘drought’, the second stage, including Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and East Midlands.
Three water companies – Welsh Water, Southern Water, and South East Water – have all imposed hosepipe bans, while Yorkshire Water has announced a ban will start on August 26 and Thames Water is planning one in the coming weeks.
‘All water companies have reassured us that essential supplies are still safe,’ Water Minister Steve Double said in a statement.
‘We are better prepared than ever before for periods of dry weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including impacts on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.’
A shoppers next to bottled drinking water in Sainsbury’s supermarket in London as the heatwave continues and the National Drought Group declared an official drought across much of England
MANCHESTER: The low supplies of water at the Tesco superstore in Stalybridge
The National Drought Group – made up of Government and agency officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) – is set to meet today to discuss the prolonged dry weather
LONDON: Aldi put up posters in one store limiting customers to between three and five bottles of drinking water each amid panic buying. The store later took down the notices.
A supermarket rationed sales of bottled water yesterday as shoppers stocked up in the heat.
An Aldi in Harringay, north London, put signs on shelves telling customers they could only buy five single bottles and three multipacks. It read: ‘Limits are necessary for supporting you and your neighbours to find the products you need.’
Aldi said it was not imposing a national limit on the sale of bottled water. Meanwhile, Asda yesterday became the latest retailer to take disposable barbecues off their shelves to reduce the risk of wildfires.
The temporary ban followed similar moves by Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Co-op, Morrisons, Ocado and Tesco. Waitrose and Aldi have stopped selling the barbecues permanently.
Campaigners said a complete halt to sales was necessary to stop the fire risk. An Asda spokesman said: ‘In light of the ongoing heatwave and dry conditions, we’ve now made the decision to temporarily pause the sale of disposable barbecues across the UK.’
Toby Tyler, whose son William, 11, required a skin graft after treading on sand heated up by a disposable barbecue, said retailers needed to step up their responsibilities.
The teacher, from Stockport, said: ‘They need to recognise the human injury and waste elements of this problem.’
People walking through the parched sunburnt grass on Wimbledon Common this morning
Britons have headed to the beaches this morning with temperatures set to soar to 35C
Empty picnic tables sit in the scorching sun in Wanstead Park in north-east London
The Met Office has revealed how the ‘Azores High’ pressure system is pushing up from the south, bringing scorching temperatures to the UK, France and the Iberian peninsula.
The Azores High is a large centre of high atmospheric pressure typically found south of the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
It is often referred to as the ‘gatekeeper of precipitation’, and is formed by dry air descending in the subtropics.
The Azores High is a large subtropical semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure typically found south of the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
Formed by dry air descending in the subtropics, the Azores High, which usually sits off Spain, has grown larger and is being pushed northwards.
This has brought scorching temperatures to the UK, France and the Iberian peninsula.
The size and intensity of the Azores high shifts year on year, driving variations in rainfall levels over the continent.
A Met Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Areas of high and low pressures do move around the globe, so the Azores High does occasionally extend across the UK throughout the year.
‘The high usually doesn’t stay for too long but on this occasion it has remained close by throughout the summer.’
The Azores High usually sits to the south but is currently directly over the UK and Ireland, stretching from the Azores Islands
Using climate models, scientists simulated global weather over the past 1,200 years and found that the number of large Azores Highs is extremely unusual