Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Dan Suri, said: “Although much of the UK can expect a spell of warm and sunny weather lasting into early next week, it’s going to turn very hot for parts of England and Wales with temperatures widely reaching above 30 Celsius on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Met Office heatwave criteria will be reached over East Anglia and southeast England.

“Tomorrow (Friday) is likely to be the hottest day with temperatures of 36 to 37 Celsius in parts of east and southeast England.  It’s possible temperatures could reach similar levels on Saturday, before falling slightly on Sunday.  There’s also a small chance temperatures could reach close to 38 Celsius in one or two spots in the southeast on Friday, but this will partly depend on the chance of cloud spreading in from the southwest during the afternoon.

Dan continued: “Along with hot weather by day, it will stay warm and humid overnight with temperatures remaining in the high teens and low 20s Celsius.”

The current hottest August day on record is 38.5 Celsius, reached in Faversham on August 10th 2003.  The current record maximum temperature for the UK is 38.7 Celsius, reached in Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July 2019.

The Met Office has issued a heat health alert for parts of England into next week and you can find tips on staying cool in hot weather on the Met Office website.  With strong summer sunshine at this time of year, UV levels will be high in some areas and you can check the UV forecast for your area here.

Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, Consultant in Public Health at Public Health England, said:  “Many of us welcome warmer weather, but some people may find it more difficult to cope. People recovering from COVID-19 at home, those who are self-isolating, older people and people with underlying health conditions are all more vulnerable during hot weather.

“This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to COVID-19. A lot of homes can overheat, so it’s important we continue to check on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they’re living alone and may be socially isolated.

“If you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from hot weather, follow government guidance on how to do this safely. The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and know how to keep their homes cool.”

After some showery rain for parts of Northern Ireland and western Scotland on Friday, northern parts of the UK will still see a spell of warm and settled weather lasting into early next week. Temperatures are expected to peak in the low to mid 20s in parts of western Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Commenting on how long the hot weather is expected to last, Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Chris Bulmer, said: “The hot airmass will remain over much of England and Wales until early next week, so we’ll continue to see maximum temperatures in the low to mid-30s Celsius as the heatwaves continues.

Chris continued: “It looks like the heatwave could break on Tuesday and Wednesday as the risk of thunderstorms increases for many areas, although at the moment it’s a bit too early to say for certain, so our advice is to keep up to date with Met Office forecasts day-by-day."

Heatwaves are extreme weather events, but research shows that climate change is making these events more likely. A scientific study by the Met Office into the Summer 2018 heatwave in the UK showed that it was 30 times more likely to occur now than in 1750 because of the higher concentration of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. As greenhouse gas concentrations increase heatwaves of similar intensity are projected to become even more frequent, perhaps occurring as regularly as every other year. The Earth’s surface temperature has risen by 1°C since the pre-industrial period (1850-1900)