Parts of the UK can expect a heatwave this week, with temperatures expected to exceed 30°C in some places, the Met Office has confirmed.
Temperatures will continue to rise in the early part of this week and are likely to peak on Wednesday and Thursday, with 32°C possible in isolated spots in the southeast.
A high of 30.2°C was reached in Whitchurch in Pembrokeshire on Monday, while large parts of the UK enjoyed the sunny, dry weather that has been absent for much of the UK summertime.
Where will it be hottest across the UK?
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Mark Sidaway said: “High pressure is situated to the southeast of the UK, which is bringing more settled conditions with temperatures on the rise through the first half of this week.
“While the highest temperatures are expected in the south, heatwave conditions are likely across much of England and Wales especially, with parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland also likely to see some unseasonably high temperatures.”
Although very warm, there are some breezy conditions in western areas which could subdue the feeling of the temperatures for some.
The exception to the largely very warm conditions this week is the far north and west of Scotland, which will see some periods of showery rain at times, in addition to some North Sea coasts which may see some low cloud.
On Monday, Lerwick recorded the lowest temperature across the UK of 15.1°C, although temperatures across Scotland are expected to rise.
In addition to high daytime temperatures, which could see official heatwaves be observed from as early as Tuesday in some spots, it will remain uncomfortably warm overnight, especially in the South, with a chance of tropical nights, which is when overnight temperatures remain in excess of 20°C.
The highest overnight minimum temperature for September on record is 21.7°C, and this record could be threatened on Wednesday and Thursday nights in particular.
Why is it so warm right now?
According to the Met Office, an active tropical cyclone season in the North Atlantic is helping to amplify the pattern across the North Atlantic, and has pushed the jet stream well to the north of the UK, allowing some very warm air to be drawn north.
It’s a marked contrast to the much of meteorological summer, when the UK was on the northern side of the jet stream with cooler air and more unsettled weather.
How hot is it in the UK today?
For much of the UK, it will feel “very warm to hot”, Rachel Ayers, senior meteorologist at the Met Office said.
“On Tuesday, there will be some patchy cloud for the far southwest and later Northern Ireland with a risk of the odd shower/isolated thunderstorm. Elsewhere after any low cloud, mist and fog lifts and clears it will be dry with plenty of sunshine.
“It will be cloudier in the far north of Scotland with the odd spot of rain and drizzle, though drier than recent days.
“Temperatures will vary between 27°C to 30°C in central and southern areas, with an isolated 31°C possible inland.”
There’s also a chance of some very isolated thundery showers crossing areas to the west from Tuesday, though this is unlikely to be very widespread.
How long will the heatwave last?
While the heat will likely peak on Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures will gradually decline into the weekend, though the southeast should retain the relative warmth the longest.
Mark Sidaway continued: “A cold front will begin to influence things from the northwest ahead of the weekend, bringing temperatures down and an increasing chance of rain for those in the west of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“There’s still a large degree of uncertainty on the exact timing of this front, and there’s a chance that those further south in the UK could keep some higher than average temperatures through much of the weekend, perhaps even into the start of next week, though even this will be a step down from the peak that we’ll see in mid-week.”