UK weather: Britain to see highs of 24C before storms sweep south-east

Britons enjoyed another hot day today with temperatures expected to reach 24C (75F) – but up to 1.5 inches of rain will fall in parts of the south east this evening with torrential thunderstorms expected.

The Met Office said the hot weather this week is due to a southern air mass bringing balmy air, with the UK recording its hottest day of the year yesterday as the airport in London Heathrow reached 27.5°C (81.5°F).

But forecasters have warned that temperatures will slowly decrease as the week progresses and the air mass will shift, bringing cooler air and closer to average conditions for this time of year – with highs of 19°C (66°F) by Friday.

And the Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning for the south and east of England from 7 p.m. tonight until 3 a.m. tomorrow, warning that spray and flash flooding could lead to driving conditions difficulties and road closures.

The forecasters also said in the warning that “in the event of flooding or lightning, there is a risk of delays and cancellations of train and bus services, as well as possible power outages”.

A group of young people relax in the spring sunshine at lunchtime in Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

Two women have lunch in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

Two women have lunch in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People enjoy the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People enjoy the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

A man enjoys the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

A man enjoys the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

People walk along the South Bank in the spring sunshine at Potters Fields Park in London this afternoon

The warning added that there was “a small chance that homes and businesses could be inundated, with damage from floodwater or lightning” and that storms “may disrupt some areas, particularly for travel “.

The Met Office expects ‘showers and developing thunderstorms are likely to intensify in parts of the warning area throughout the evening, before easing eastwards after midnight’.

Forecasters added that many places are likely to avoid the heaviest rains and thunder, but others “could see torrential downpours and frequent lightning, while large hail and strong winds could also affect some locations”.

Central parts of southern England will be worst affected, and the wettest places are expected to see 1 inch (25mm) of rain in an hour, and ‘a possibility that somewhere could catch more than 40mm (1, 6 inch) in two or three hours”.

Britain has been warmer this week than popular holiday destinations like the Greek island of Santorini, which experienced just 26C (79F) on Tuesday. The previous UK high in 2022 was 23.6C (73.48F) in Faversham, Kent, on May 6.

Yesterday’s high of 27.5C was around 10C above the Met Office’s long-term average daily high temperature for the month of May from 1991 to 2020, although it is still well below the UK’s all-time high in May of 91°F (32.8°C) in 1944.

Today will be mostly dry and bright with long spells of sunshine and just patchy cloud cover, although there is a chance of a few showers developing in western Scotland.

The Met Office warning for 7pm tonight until 3am tomorrow

The Met Office warning for 7pm tonight until 3am tomorrow

Cloud cover will tend to build up from the south-west during the afternoon bringing rain showers in the evening which will also spread into Wales and continue to move north-east for the night.

A few showers will be heavy and thundery but will have cleared from most areas by dawn tomorrow leaving a fine day that will be dry with long periods of sunshine and just a few scattered clouds.

There is a chance that a few isolated showers will develop in the West, before Friday will be dull and wet with cloudy skies and eruptions of rain that will track northeast and be heavy in northern areas.

Saturday will be mostly dry with periods of sunshine, although there will be varying amounts of cloud cover and a chance for some showers to develop – with highs of 21C (70F) expected in the southeast.

This comes ahead of the possible arrival of Saharan dust over Britain later this week – which, coupled with a forecast of drizzle on Friday, could bring “blood rain” over parts of the country.

Satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows a Saharan dust plume crossing the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean – and is forecast to hit the Iberian Peninsula and southeast England.

Sunrise at Branksome Chine in Bournemouth, Dorset, this morning at the start of another hot day for the south of England

Sunrise at Branksome Chine in Bournemouth, Dorset, this morning at the start of another hot day for the south of England

The sun rises behind the Svitzer London tug and London Gateway cranes at Tilbury in Essex on the River Thames today

The sun rises behind the Svitzer London tug and London Gateway cranes at Tilbury in Essex on the River Thames today

This could lead to “blood rain”, which occurs when relatively high concentrations of red-colored dust or particles mix with the rain, making it look red when it falls and sometimes leaving a layer of dust on the cars.

Richard Miles of the Met Office said: ‘There are currently concentrations of dust in the atmosphere over the UK which could well be washed away by rain this evening, but it is likely to be relatively small amounts overall.

“There is a thunderstorm warning for the south-eastern third of England this evening, and a squall cold front will bring wind and occasional heavy rain to Northern Ireland and north-west Scotland this evening.

“Away from these characteristics, it will be mostly sunny and dry today and tomorrow, with temperatures of up to 23°C (73°F) to 24°C (75°F) in London and the South East, high teens or low 20s elsewhere.

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