Public urged to take care in the sun as UK records warmest day of the year

A heat-health alert has been issued as soaring temperatures saw the UK officially record its warmest day of the year so far.

The Met Office tweeted on Wednesday at around 1pm that temperatures had reached 31C (87.8F) at Heathrow Airport.

It warned that conditions could get hotter still later in the afternoon.

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Heatwave hits the UK
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Heatwave hits the UK
Left to right Claudia Swian aged 19, Lauren Sharpe aged 19 and Maia Benstead aged 19, enjoy the warm weather in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A train passes through the shimmering heat from railway lines in Ashford, Kent, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
Sunbathers take pictures of the deer in Richmond Park, London, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
Cows use the River Thames to cool off in Bourne End, Bucks, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A member of the Ambulance service looks out from Bournemouth Pier as crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A view of the beach in Brighton as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A man by a fountain at Trafalgar Square as thermometers hit 34C.
People enjoy the warm weather by Bridlington Harbour as Britain is braced for a June heatwave as temperatures are set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
Paddle boarders in Bourne End, Bucks, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A view of the beach in Brighton as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
The scene on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, after the UK officially recorded its warmest day of the year so far when the temperature reached 32.6C (90.7F) at London's Heathrow Airport at 2.46pm. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Libby Patterson 20 from Tynemouth enjoys an ice-cream in Whitley Bay, during officially the hottest day of the year so far. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
People eating ice-cream in Whitley Bay, during officially the hottest day of the year so far. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Friends James Robinson and Charlotte Inglis dangle their feet in the River Thames in Henley, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave as temperatures are set to climb into the mid-30s this week. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
PORTHCAWL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: Women sunbathing on Sandy Bay beach as the Met Office warn temperatures could reach 34 degrees this week on June 24, 2020 in Porthcawl, United Kingdom. The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced that all non-essential shops will be allowed to open their doors again in Wales from Monday but people will be asked to continue to "stay local" with five miles given as guidance until July 6. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
A couple sail in an inflatable dinghy in the London Docklands, in front of the skyline of Canary Wharf, during officially the hottest day of the year so far. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A sunbather enjoys the sunshine in Oxford, during officially the hottest day of the year so far. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: Seagulls wait in hope of a titbit at Blackpool as people enjoy the fine weather on June 24, 2020 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The UK is experiencing a summer heatwave, with temperatures in many parts of the country expected to rise above 30C and weather warnings in place for thunderstorms at the end of the week. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Beachgoers enjoy the sunshine as they sunbathe on the beach and play in the sea in Southend on Sea, south east England, on June 24, 2020. - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: People enjoy the fine weather at Thornton Cleveleys promenade on June 24, 2020 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The UK is experiencing a summer heatwave, with temperatures in many parts of the country expected to rise above 30C and weather warnings in place for thunderstorms at the end of the week. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A man back flips into the River Dane by Three Shires Head, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
In Pictures: Sunseekers savour delights of June heatwave from coast to coast
People cool off in the River Cam at Grantchester near Cambridge as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
Sue Ingle enjoys the sunny weather in Scarborough as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
Front of photograph, Charlotte Young enjoys the sunny weather in Scarborough as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet, as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
People relax on Crosby Beach as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 24, 2020. See PA story WEATHER Hot. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Seagulls fly around as people enjoy the hot weather in Cullercoats Bay, Tyne and Wear as Britain is braced for a June heatwave as temperatures are set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
A man enjoys the sunny weather in Scarborough as Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s this week.
A family pass by as the water system irrigates plants during the hot and sunny weather at Kew gardens in London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures predicted to climb into the mid-30s this week.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Visitors enjoy the hot and sunny weather with a walk past flowers at Kew gardens in London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Britain is braced for a June heatwave with temperatures predicted to climb into the mid-30s this week.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / various sources / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / various sources / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Sun-seekers cool off in the water and sunbathe on the riverbank at Hackney Marshes in east London on June 24, 2020, as temperatures reached 31 degrees C at Heathrow Airport on the hottest day of the year - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
The scene on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, after the UK officially recorded its warmest day of the year so far when the temperature reached 32.6C (90.7F) at London's Heathrow Airport at 2.46pm. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
The scene on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, after the UK officially recorded its warmest day of the year so far when the temperature reached 32.6C (90.7F) at London's Heathrow Airport at 2.46pm. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Swimmers take to the water off the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset, after the UK officially recorded its warmest day of the year so far when the temperature reached 32.6C (90.7F) at London's Heathrow Airport at 2.46pm. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man dives into water in the London Docklands, in front of the skyline of Canary Wharf, during officially the hottest day of the year so far. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Beachgoers enjoy the sunshine as they sunbathe on the beach and play in the sea in Southend on Sea, south east England, on June 24, 2020. - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Forecasters expect temperatures to reach around 33C (91.4F) in some parts of the country and people are being warned to take care in the sun.

The Met Office raised the level to three on Wednesday, as health authorities encouraged those most vulnerable – many of whom have been shielding during the lockdown – to protect themselves amid the "exceptionally hot weather forecast this week".

Public Health England (PHE) said older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children were all more at risk from the higher temperatures.

The amber level three, which is currently in place for the West and East Midlands, requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups, according to the Met Office website.

People have been advised to keep cool and stay hydrated where possible.

The mercury is expected to hit the low-30s in the south of England before Friday and warnings have been issued about UV levels, which are going to be "exceptionally high" over the next few days.

Emer O'Connell, consultant in public health at PHE, said it was important that people kept checking on the vulnerable, as many continued to spend more time at home due to coronavirus.

Warmest UK June temperatures
(PA Graphics)

"You will need to do things differently this year, for example keeping in touch by phone," she said.

"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."

Health minister Jo Churchill said people could take simple steps to keep themselves safe.

She said: "Apply sunscreen regularly, stay hydrated, and protect your head from the sun.

"Look out for those who are vulnerable in the heat, and provide support where needed, continuing to follow social distancing guidance."

Advice from the Met Office included closing curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, avoiding excess alcohol and dressing appropriately for the weather.

St John Ambulance said this could mean wearing light clothes to keep your skin covered and protected in the sun, as well as wearing high-factor sunscreen.

Shoppers have also been advised to be aware they could be forced to spend extra time in the sun as a result of social distancing measures.

Dr Lynn Thomas, medical director at St John Ambulance, said: "You could end up in the sun for longer than expected on what would normally be a quick journey, such as queuing to enter the supermarket, so you should be prepared to look after yourself and others."

She added: "Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs, such as headache and dizziness."

The public is also being reminded to take care around water throughout the summer, amid concerns people might be tempted to take a dip to cool down.

A search is ongoing for a man missing after he is believed to have got into difficulty in water at Lulle Brook in Cookham in Berkshire on Tuesday evening.

Police said one man, aged in his thirties, was in a serious condition in hospital after being brought to safety by a member of the public.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned people not to have barbecues on dry grass, not to drop cigarettes or matches, and not to leave rubbish such as glass bottles lying around amid a risk they could start fires.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said UV levels would reach eight across many places and get up to nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall.

He said: "That's about as high as it gets really in the UK.

"The sun is as strong as it gets at the moment because we're so close to the solstice.

"We've got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine – it's the perfect ingredients for high UV."

Beaches have been busy this week as people take advantage of the good weather after months of lockdown.

Tuesday was not quite the hottest day of the year, as the 28.6C (83.5F) recorded at Heathrow Airport and Kew Gardens fell short of the 28.9C (84F) recorded at the end of May.

Mr Burkill said the hottest day of the year would most likely come on Wednesday or Thursday.

He predicted temperatures would edge towards 33C (91.4F) as we experienced "lots of hot and sunny weather through the next couple of days".

Concern has been expressed that increase in the alert level might have come too late for many of most vulnerable.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said: "The Government has so far failed to amend the Heat-Health Watch Service so that it provides better protection for people who are particularly at risk from the effects of heat this summer."

Earlier this year a study, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, of the heatwave plan for England found that most deaths and hospital admissions associated with heat happen outside periods when the alert system is triggered.

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