Risk of thunderstorms and rain on Thursday following hottest day of the year

21 May 2020, 08:09

The Met Office has warned there could be thunderstorms
The Met Office has warned there could be thunderstorms. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Strong winds and heavy rain could hit parts of the country later just one day after people flocked to beaches and parks to enjoy the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures topped 28.2C in Santon Downham, Suffolk, on Wednesday as the public enjoyed outdoor spaces following an easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Although forecasters suggest many parts of the UK will experience warm temperatures on Thursday there is warning Western regions of the country could see patchy rain which will push towards the north-east.

There have also been warnings from the Met Office of thunderstorms across the south-east of England following the hottest day of the year.

Read more: Brits head back to beaches in hot weather amid concerns over social distancing

Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said there was a risk of thunderstorms across the south east of England.

Heavy rain and gusty winds should generally clear by the afternoon, he added, leading to sunny spells and the potential for temperatures to reach 27C across south east England.

Balmy conditions have tested the nation's resolve in maintaining social distancing in parks and open spaces.

On Wednesday, police in North Devon said roads to the area's beaches were "gridlocked" despite pleas to the public from councils who advise against travelling to the south west.

Officers in Ilfracombe and Braunton said they had identified vehicles from "all over the country" in the local area, where toilets and other amenities remain closed.

One officer said "valuable resources" were being used to marshal traffic, adding that elderly people in the area would be "very anxious over the selfish actions of these individuals".

A slight easing of restrictions in England means people can drive to beaches and countryside beauty spots, where they are allowed to picnic and sunbathe.

But in response to the relaxation of measures, leaders in Devon and Cornwall warned second home owners and tourists to "think twice" about visiting the region.

Councils and tourism bodies encouraged people not to travel more than an hour from their local area to enjoy the outdoors and to avoid popular tourist locations, as the region's car parks, toilets and hotspots remain closed.

Temperatures are expected to cool on Friday, according to the Met Office.

"A deep area of low pressure moves in from the Atlantic and skirts the north-west of the UK, likely to bring strong winds across the country on Friday," Mr Dewhurt said.

"A band of heavy rain will push eastwards through the morning, which will then clear to sunshine and showers."

Winds will be strongest across the north-west of the UK, where gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour are likely, and temperatures should drop to normal for this time of year, at around 16C to 18C.

Mr Dewhurst predicted a windy start to the weekend with sunshine and showers for many, with the weather gradually turning drier from the south on Sunday and into bank holiday Monday.