All-time UK heat record could be broken: Here's how to stay safe during a heatwave

This youngster found a fountain to stay cool under. Credit: PA

Thursday could see the UK's all-time record temperature broken, as temperatures could reach as high as 39C.

In central and eastern parts of England, heatwave thresholds are expected to be met as high temperatures last throughout the middle part of this week.

Highs of nearly 39C mean that a Heat Health Alert level 3 (the second highest level warning) is in force across the UK.

Tuesday’s hotspots were published by the Met Office with Cardiff and Watnall, Nottinghamshire at 30C (86F), while Frittenden, Kent soared to 32C (89.2F).

  • Important advice from Public Health England and Port of London

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said temperatures in London are expected to reach 38C (100.4F) on Thursday and which would pass the current record for a day in July which stands at 36.7C (98.1F) recorded at Heathrow Airport in 2015.

He added: “There is now a 40% chance of going over the UK temperature record of 38.5C (101.3F) which was recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.”

Overnight temperature were around 24C overnight on Wednesday, making it difficult for some to sleep.

Here's what you need to know about how to cope in the unseasonably hot weather.

  • What's the best ways to stay cool and safe during a heatwave?

NHS UK has published a number of tips which you can utilise to keep cool.

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it's hotter outside

  • Open windows when cooler to allow for ventilation

  • Avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (usually between 11am and 3pm)

  • Have cool baths or showers

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Wearing a hat in the sun can help keep you cool and help you avoid getting heatstroke

  • Cars can get hot so try to ventilate them

  • Wear sunscreen with a higher SPF factor to avoid sunburn

  • Stay tuned to weather forecasts

  • When planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination

Sunbathers apply sunscreen during the hot sunshine on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall, the week before school holidays, as more hot weather is due to hit the UK this week. Credit: PA
  • Who is most at risk during the hot weather?

Some people are more susceptible to a heatwave than others.

Those more able are encouraged to check up on loved ones who may struggle during a heatwave.

Among the most vulnerable include:

  • Older people, particularly those over 75

  • Babies and young children

  • People with long-term health conditions, particular those who have heart or breathing problems

  • Those with mobility issues

  • People who suffer with mental health problems

  • People who abuse drugs or alcohol

  • Physically active people or those in the sun - for example, labourers and people doing sport

  • Animals can also be at high risk. Pet owners are urged not leave dogs in cars as sweltering temperatures can kill

  • Isn't the weather supposed to be like this?

Typically in July, London would be seeing temperatures of 23C - so forecast highs of 36C would be 13C higher than average.

Scotland averages 17C, while Wales typically is about 19.2C.

Northern Ireland may also be basking in above average temperatures, rather than the July norm of 18.5C.

  • Remember to stay safe

It can be tempting to go for a swim in a local lake or river to cool down during a heatwave.

As the heatwave hit on Tuesday, a swimmer went missing at The Cotswold Water Park.

Hundreds of visitors were evacuated from the family attraction just outside Cirencester as police, fire and ambulance crews search the water.

Police divers recovered a body at about 8.50pm.

A man cycles past beach huts in Herne Bay, Kent, during the morning sunshine. Credit: PA

Swimmers have been advised to remember to beware the dangers of drowning during what could seem like a casual dip.

Last year, 255 people died as a result of accidental drowning, including seven children under the age of nine.

A particular risk can be cold water shock, which is one of the biggest causes of drowning – temperatures in seas, rivers, canals and lakes can be a low as 15C in summer, around half that of swimming pools.

The Local Government Association says people should only swim in water “that is clearly marked as safe and under the control of a lifeguard”.