Britain faces a heatwave next week as tropical air pushes temperatures towards 90F (32C) in a dramatic change from the thunderstorms and heavy rains that have ravaged much of June so far.
The hottest weather is expected in southern England in the middle of next week, with mercury rising from 72F (22C) on Monday to 81F (27C) on Tuesday and then peaking on Wednesday and Thursday.
But there’s more bad weather to come before then – Scotland must expect thunderstorms and more than an inch of rain in two hours this afternoon and parts of England are expecting showers on Sunday morning.
This weekend will be choppy for many areas of the country, but temperatures of up to 23C are expected in southern England, where warm sunshine is expected on Saturday – the summer solstice – and Sunday afternoon.
The Met Office has also warned hay fever sufferers that grass pollen will lead to high or very high pollen levels in the coming days – particularly in Cardiff and London through Monday.
Isla Stanton, 13, walks through a field of poppies near Faversham in Kent today ahead of the expected heatwave next week
Boats head up the River Thames at Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire this afternoon on a warm but overcast day
People are making the most of the dry spell today after following the rain along the Thames Path at Goring in Oxfordshire today
Two people sit beside the River Thames today as they make the most of the dry spell in Goring-on-Thames today
Britain will experience its hottest day of the year so far, surpassing May 29 when 82.9°F (28.3°C) was recorded in Cromdale in Scotland. England’s warmest day on record was May 20 when Santon Downham in Suffolk reached 28.2°C (82.7°F).
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “Friday will be cloudy with some light spells and showers – we have issued a weather warning for parts of southern, central and western Scotland, where there will be heavy showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening becomes.
Rain will affect parts of Scotland and northern England today
“Saturday will be brighter with many of us enjoying a dry day with warm sunshine and only a few scattered showers. A band of rain will move eastward through the UK on Saturday night, clearing on Sunday morning.
“Then Sunday will be another bright day for most with rays of sunshine and isolated showers set to become heavy across Northern Ireland and Scotland.”
The north west of the UK is set to remain choppy early next week but elsewhere it will be warm and dry with temperatures set to continue to rise as the week progresses.
The Met Office’s deputy chief meteorologist, Martin Young, said: “By the middle of next week, temperatures will be well into the mid to high 20’s across much of England and Wales and parts of southern and eastern England will likely be hot. when temperatures are near 30 degrees Celsius.
“It is possible that Northern Ireland and Scotland will join the rest of the country in experiencing warmer weather later next week as this hot air spreads northwards from the continent across the UK.
Temperatures of up to 23C are expected in parts of southern England this weekend, but rain could fall on Sunday
This European map shows how tropical air is set to sweep across the UK, reaching temperatures of up to 32C next week
“We are monitoring the possibility of severe thunderstorms also developing later next week, driven by warm continental air.”
It comes after villagers were forced to flee their homes in south Wales after heavy rain flooded them for the third time this year. More than 200 properties in the Rhondda Valley were severely flooded on Wednesday.
One of the worst-hit communities was Pentre, where homes filled with water – four months after it was twice hit by flooding during Storm Dennis. Elsewhere, locals said the floods in Ilkeston, Derbyshire were “worse than ever”.
Another video shared online by the Environment Agency showed cars driving through a flooded road in Birmingham. Some downpours this week brought up to 30mm of rain within an hour.