Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
UK weather: Mini-heatwave brings hottest day of the year
17 July 2021, 16:50 | Updated: 18 July 2021, 09:55
A mini-heatwave appears to have brought the UK its hottest day of the year so far after the mercury hit 31.2C in Northern Ireland - which maybe its highest ever temperature on record.
The UK has provisionally recorded the hottest day of the year in all four nations, the Met Office said.
Ballywatticock, in County Down, Northern Ireland, reached 31.2C while temperatures of 30.3C were recorded in Coton In The Elms, Derbyshire - with temperatures potentially rising further this afternoon.
Usk, in Monmouthshire, Wales, reached 29C, while 28.2C was recorded in Threave, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
The summer skies have finally cleared this weekend to likely bring parts of the UK a mini-heatwave - defined as a period of three days or more above a certain temperature.
Health officials have issued warnings about the dangers of extreme heat as mild weather is brought to the UK via warm air from the Azores in the North Atlantic.
The sunshine is expected to last until "Freedom Day" on Monday, when the last of England's Covid restrictions are due to be lifted.
With Saturday already the hottest day of the year, forecasters say Sunday could be even warmer - with up to 33C possible in England and south Wales.
Hot and #sunny for many this #weekend ☀️— Met Office (@metoffice) July 16, 2021
Cloudier and cooler in parts of northern and western Scotland with light rain and drizzle at times 🌧️
Here's a look at the #4cast for #Saturday 👇#heatwave pic.twitter.com/Dj5uUPgEC3
Blue skies and highs of 29C brought joy to those in London and the South East on Saturday, with that set to rise to between 31C and 32C on Sunday.
The hottest day of the year until now was 29.7C recorded at Teddington in south-west London on 14 June.
However, the country is still far off the record temperatures for the time of year, which was when 38.7C was recorded at Cambridge Botanical Gardens on 25 July 2019.
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said the weather may take people by surprise "because so far this summer has not been that great".
"Temperatures have generally been below average for quite a while - it's the difference in temperature in such a short space of time that is the most noticeable."
The Met Office said a mini-heatwave is on the cards over the coming days before things turn cooler and thundery from the middle of next week.
For London and the South East to record a heatwave, temperatures must exceed 28C for at least three days, while this drops to 27C in the Midlands and 26C in the South West.
In Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Devon and Cornwall and the North East it is 25C.
Warnings about the extreme heat have been issued by both medical authorities and vets, urging people to keep the vulnerable and animals safe.
PHE advised people to look out for those who may struggle to keep cool and hydrated, such as older people and those who live alone.
Emergency animal care provider Vets Now also warned rising temperatures could increase the risk of heatstroke in dogs.
The vet service sees a spike in callouts as the weather warms up and has warned that temperatures above 20C put dogs at risk, and that the survival rate for dogs with heatstroke is just 50 per cent.
Warnings come after a week of flash flooding in the South East of England, causing disruption to transport in London.