Thunderstorms and torrential rain forecast following soaring temperatures

Soaring temperatures across the UK will be followed by thunderstorms and torrential rain over coming days, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office said Thursday could become the hottest day of the year, with temperatures expected to climb in the Midlands and Wales.

But thunderstorms are expected to form across the west of the UK in the afternoon, bringing heavy rain, lighting and hail.

West London is forecast to see temperatures peak between 32C (89.6F) and 33C (91.4F), while parts of Wales could see the mercury rise to 34C (93.2F).

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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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Should that happen, it would be the hottest June on record in Wales, surpassing the previous peak of 33.7C (92.7F) on June 18 2000.

Met Office meteorologist John Griffiths said the Midlands could see temperatures reach 32C (89.6F) on Thursday, while the Welsh Marches – the area along the Welsh border – could see temperatures of 34C (93.2F) "very locally".

The good weather is expected to turn from 4pm on Thursday as thunderstorms form in the south west and south east of England, Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for those areas until 9am on Friday, warning of disruption due to flooding, lightning strikes, hail and wind.

Between 30mm to 40mm (1.6ins) of rain could fall in less than two hours.

The storms are expected to continue from midday on Friday through to 6am on Saturday, with another yellow warning in place for the whole of the UK.

Areas hit by the storms could experience "torrential downpours" with between 30mm to 50mm (2ins) of rain falling in an hour.

WEATHER Hot infographic
(PA Graphics)

Wednesday was recorded as the hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury reaching 32.6C (90.7F) at London's Heathrow Airport at 2.46pm.

The good weather saw people flock to beaches in huge numbers despite social distancing measures remaining in place.

The Met Office raised its heat alert level to three, as health authorities encouraged those most vulnerable – many of whom have been shielding during 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 remains 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 Met Office said UV levels were expected to remain at eight across many parts of the UK on Thursday.

Dr Michaela Hegglin, associate professor in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said Thursday could see some of the "highest UV levels ever recorded" in Britain.

She said: "This is because of a combination of factors. We are at the summer solstice, when the sun is almost directly overhead at one o'clock.

"UV levels this high are rare in the UK, so people with light skin should be very careful to avoid getting burnt.

"While UV is important for getting vitamin D and keeping us healthy, too much of it can cause skin cancer or eye cataracts."

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.

"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."

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."

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.

And dog owners have been urged to avoid exercising their pets during the hottest part of the day.

Vets Now, a provider of emergency veterinary care, warned that the average survival rate of a dog diagnosed with heatstroke was 50%.

The RSPCA said it had received 330 calls in regard to animal welfare and the hot weather since March 23, adding it was expecting "hundreds more" as temperatures increase this week.

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.

And London Fire Brigade 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.

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