Weather watch: Humid in Ireland, heatwave in Europe
UK all-time record temperature could be broken on Thursday
People enjoy the sun and the sea on a beach in Antibes, France. Photograph: EPA/SEBASTIEN NOGIER
The humid pleasant conditions of recent days are set to continue into the weekend, but temperatures will be nothing like the record-breaking highs elsewhere in Europe.
Temperatures will reach a high of 25 degrees on Thursday in eastern areas when the sun breaks out. It will be overcast but warm across the country.
Friday will be a similar day – although less warm than of late with highs of 22.
It will stay mostly dry and sunny for the weekend across the country and any showers will be isolated. The recent dry spell will end on Monday with rain in the south and southeast, and Tuesday is forecast to be a blustery and showery day.
Thursday could be a record-breaking day across much of Europe as a band of scorching hot air from the Sahara crosses the continent. It has been labelled the Omega block because it resembles that Greek letter.
There is a strong possibility the UK’s highest temperature on record will be broken on Thursday. The current high of 38.5 was set in Faversham, Kent, during a heat wave in August 2003.
The UK Met Office estimates a 70 per cent possibility this will be surpassed on Thursday with London likely to beat its own high of 38.4 degrees.
Paris is likely to also smash records with an expected high of 42C, well above the previous record set in 1947.
“It will get into the 30s across the country and reach the mid-30s in the southeast,” Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said. “If it is to get to 39 degrees, it will happen somewhere between London and Cambridge. Temperatures locally could also break July or all-time records.”
Lightning storms have already caused fires and rail disruption this week during the heatwave. Network Rail warned speed restrictions may be introduced in areas where tracks are at risk of buckling.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the industry, advised passengers in London and the South East to consider changing their travel plans on Thursday owing to the heat.
Those making long car journeys cannot rely on the radio for company — FM and AM radio signals can be disrupted in hot weather because signals from local stations can travel further and cause interference outside their usual range.
The Met Office has warned heatwaves are on the increase as a result of climate change. It is even possible the mercury could climb to 40 degrees, which would be “unprecedented” for the UK climate, weather forecasters said.
Parts of Europe are bracing for record temperatures as the second heatwave of the summer bakes the continent.
The Paris area could be as hot as 42 degrees as a result of hot, dry air coming from northern Africa.
Climate scientists have warned this could become the new normal. But temperate Europe — where air conditioning is rare — is not equipped for the kind of temperatures in the region this week.
Tourists have been jumping in fountains in a bid to cool down, while authorities are looking to help those such as the elderly, who are often hit hardest by the heat.