How to stay cool in hot weather as the heatwave continues into the weekend

ITV News Central's weather presenter Des Coleman explains why temperatures are so high, and how to stay safe in the heat

As summer draws to a close, temperatures would typically be going down - but not this year.

It has been a week of high temperatures, with Thursday reaching 32.6 degrees, making it the hottest day of the year so far.

This weather is set to continue throughout the weekend and Saturday is likely to beat Thursday's temperature, according to the Met Office.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued an amber warning for heat, which will last until 9pm on Sunday evening (10 September).

Despite warm and humid conditions, a thunderstorm warning is in force across the Midlands from 3pm on Saturday afternoon (9 September).

Average temperatures are set to be around 30 degrees - warmer than those on Friday (8 September).

Thunderstorms are also expected on Sunday, clearing the way for cooler air on Monday.

Although temperatures have risen this high before in September, it is unusual for the heat to last so long, with the Met Office predicting five to six days above 30C for some areas.

Temperatures are due to drop to 20 degrees on Tuesday, with rain and sunny spells expected.

Why is there a heatwave?

The heatwave is being driven by tropical storms pushing a high pressure system over the UK, with the jet stream having moved to the north and bending into what is known as an omega blocking pattern.

This system occurs when an area of high pressure gets stuck between two areas of low-pressure to the west and east and also slightly south.

This has brought torrential rain and flooding for Spain and Greece but hot, dry and clear conditions for the UK and central Europe.

High temperatures are set to stay in the Midlands until Monday. Credit: ITV News Central

What should you do during a heatwave?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and instead drink plenty of water

  • Never leave children, pets or anyone else in a closed, parked vehicle

  • Apply suncream, and wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your skin

  • Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day

Should you go outside during a heatwave?

  • Stay indoors where possible, as your home will be cooler than outside

  • Close curtains in rooms that face the Sun, this will keep your house cooler

  • If you go outside, walk in the shade

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am-3pm, which is the hottest part of the day

What are the dangers of heatwaves?

  • Don't go into open water like rivers or reservoirs to cool down

  • People who live alone, elderly people and those with underlying health conditions may struggle to keep cool and hydrated, so make sure to help them

How can I stay safe in a heatwave?

During the soaring temperatures, it's vital people drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, use sun cream.

And if you're thinking of getting the barbecue out, make sure food is cooked properly.

People are urged to avoid swimming in rivers and reservoirs to cool off. If you want to cool off, do so at a supervised pool, like those at a leisure centres.

What is a heatwave?

In the Midlands, a heatwave occurs when there is at least three consecutive days of 26 degrees.

In comparison, London needs at least three consecutive days of 28 degrees.

Areas in the North of England like Manchester and Yorkshire would need to reach 25 degrees for at least three consecutive days to have a heatwave.

People, along with their furry friends, have been enjoying the sun in Birmingham's Centenary Square. Credit: ITV Central

Pollen warnings:

With warmer weather comes warnings of higher pollen levels across the Midlands.

Hay fever advice:

St Johns Ambulance service has issued advice to the roughly 10 million people who suffer with hay fever in England.

1) It is recommended to start taking hay fever medications a few weeks before the pollen season starts. Use a pollen calendar as a tool to guide you.

2) Speak to your pharmacist for the best advice on treatments, for example, whether to take oral medication or put treatments directly on the eyes or nose.

3) Regular vacuuming and damp-dusting can help keep the levels of pollen down in your home.

4) Some vacuum cleaners come with a HEPA filter that can reduce the levels even more.

5) Putting vaseline around your nostrils can help trap pollen.

6) Wear wrap-around sunglasses, since this can prevent the pollen getting to your eyes and irritating them. 

When should I see my GP? 

St Johns Ambulance says you should see your GP if your symptoms are not responding to the treatments advised by a pharmacist.

You should also consult your doctor if you're asthmatic and noticing your chest is tight and you have a persistent cough.

A GP may also prescribe other treatments such as a steroid nasal spray. You may be referred to an allergy specialist in some severe cases.

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