Temperatures soaring close to 37°C in what could be longest heatwave on record

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Temperatures have soared above 35°C for the second Friday in a row in the Anglia region and with the heatwave set to last into next week there are fears for the health of vulnerable people.

It could be the longest extended period with sustained maximum temperatures into the mid 30s Celsius the UK has ever experienced with the heatwave set into last in East Anglia and South East England over the weekend and into next week.

There have only been three occasions when the temperature has reached 35°C for three consecutive days in the UK - twice in the famous heatwave summer of 1976 and once in August 1990. That record could be broken over the next few days.

People are being warned not to be "caught out" by soaring temperatures expected to be hotter than some of Europe's top holiday destinations, including Ibiza and Tenerife.

It has been confirmed that Friday was the hottest August day since 2003 with a temperature of 36.4°C (97.5°F) recorded at both Kew Gardens and Heathrow airport in London. The highest temperature seen so far in the Anglia region was 35.3°C (95.5°F) at Santon Downham in Suffolk. Final maximum temperatures won't be confirmed until Friday evening.

The temperature reached 29°C at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk by 10am.

Holidaymakers cooling off in the sea at Southwold in Suffolk Credit: ITV News Anglia

Forecasters believe Friday could even surpass the 35.9°C (96.6°F) recorded inBedford on Friday 31 July. That was the third hottest day on record in the UK as Heathrow airport recorded a maximum of 37.8°C (100°F).

But the Met Office has warned that after a slightly cooler week people couldunderestimate the heat, which could cause dehydration and sunburn, especiallyamong the most vulnerable.

Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said: "Everyone needs to be carefulduring this heatwave, especially on Friday, where we are going to see a dramaticrise in temperature in some parts, exceeding the heatwave threshold."

The Norfolk Broads at Wroxham is a popular destinations for holidaymakers. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A UK heatwave threshold is met when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold.

The threshold varies by UK county - for the East of England that threshold is 27°C (81°F).Despite the ideal conditions for cooling off in an outdoor pool, Woburn Lido in Bedfordshire has had to limit the numbers of swimmers to just 40-60, which is less than half the usual number.

Murray Heining of Woburn Lido said: "It is disappointing but on the other hand we are open and we are providing some service for the community so it’s good in that respect but disappointing."

Mr Heining added: "For today’s sessions we had over 500 enquiries about bookings and that's for six sessions available that shows the interest."

Woburn Lido in Bedfordshire has had 500 inquiries from swimmers but is limited to 40-60 per session. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a heat-health warning, with people advised to stay cool indoors by closing curtains that face the sun and ensuring pets or children are not kept in vehicles.

Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, consultant in public health at Public Health England, said: "This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to Covid-19.

"A lot of homes can overheat, so it's important we continue to check on olderpeople and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they'reliving alone and may be socially isolated."

Elderly people are among the most vulnerable to hot weather, with advice telling them to contact neighbours if they are living alone, to try to stay indoors during the afternoon and to carry a bottle of water when out.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "We want older people to continue to enjoy the warm weather but, if it becomes uncomfortably hot, we advise some sensible precautions, particularly for anyone who has breathing problems or a heart condition.

"It's a good idea to remain indoors during the worst of the heat during the day."

Motorists looking to travel to seaside locations have been urged to ensure cooling systems are filled to the correct level, to look at the coolant date and to not overload their vehicle with luggage.

Breakdown experts Green Flag has predicted just under 127,000 breakdowns to occur between Friday and Wednesday, which translates to 15 breakdowns every minute.