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24th July 2019 11:43

Heatwave to peak on Thursday - could it become the hottest day ever recorded in the UK?

Yesterday saw Jersey equal its hottest day on record, reaching 36.0c. Northolt in London was the warmest in the UK, with a temperature of 33.7c, and while that may not be bettered today, tomorrow is a different matter.

The hottest day ever recorded in the UK was the 10th August 2003, with a high of 38.5c recorded in Kent, and that is in danger on Thursday. Current model predictions suggest maxes of 38-39c are possible, on what will be a stiflingly hot, humid day for a good part of central, southern and eastern England. 

UK temperature record of 38.5c is under threat on Thursday

Find out how hot it's forecast to be in your location by checking your hour-by-hour local forecast.

Following some spectacular storms which rolled up from the south overnight, there is a little more cloud in western regions this morning. The storms themselves joined together during the early hours into an area of thundery rain, which will take some time to clear the northeast of Scotland.



Rain clearing the northeast on Wednesday morning

The cloud in the west will tend to encroach a bit further east during today, keeping more of a lid on temperatures in the southwest, Wales, parts of the midlands, northern England and western Scotland. There'll also be the odd shower or thunderstorm in the west and north, particularly across Ireland and Northern Scotland this afternoon. Further south and east though, it's another mostly sunny and very warm, if not hot day, although temperatures will be down a smidgeon from what we saw yesterday with maxes of 28-33c in eastern and southeast England. 

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An uncomfortable night

A close, humid and warm night follows, with temperatures not dropping below the high-teens or low-twenties for many. The highest minimum temperature record could well be broken, with some parts of London and the southeast perhaps not seeing temperatures fall below 24c or thereabouts. The record is 23.9c.

Heat peaking and records set to tumble on Thursday

Thursday is the day the heat will peak, but there will also be the threat of some big downpours and thunderstorms. Should any storms start to develop in eastern and central parts earlier in the day, temperatures may not reach record-breaking levels, but at this point, that looks unlikely. By mid-afternoon, temperatures are therefore set to widely climb into the thirties in central and eastern regions, with maxes of 38-39c likely in the east and southeast.

Further west, there is a risk of some showers and thunderstorms developing from the south fairly early in the day, but this isn't certain. By the afternoon or evening though, there are likely to be some storms and downpours affecting western regions. That threat then starts to extend further east during the evening and overnight. Some very lively storms and torrential downpours are possible with plenty of energy in the atmosphere for them to tap in to at this point.

Lots of energy in the atmosphere for storms on Thursday evening - CAPE

By Friday, there'll still be some heat in eastern regions high will reach 25-28c quite widely, with 29-31c possible in the southeast. Further west, a fresher 18-23c will be more typical. Through the day, there'll be the ongoing risk of thunderstorms and heavy showers, but with some bright or sunny spells to go with them. 

Looking ahead to the weekend, more thundery rain will affect a good part of the country at times. The southwest and southern half of Wales may fair better and avoid much of the rain with just a scattering of showers and lots of warm sunshine. Temperatures will vary quite widely as under the cloud and rain maxes of 16-19c will be about your lot. But in the sunnier southwest, 22-25c isn't out of the question, as it isn't during any sunnier periods elsewhere too.

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