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Heatwave or no heatwave?

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It's already been a warm start to the week. The thermometer had reached 22 celsius by 9am Monday morning with the hot and humid air continuing to seep in from the near continent as we head though into Tuesday.

Temperatures will generally climb over the next few days, potentially reaching record breaking levels in some parts of the UK by Thursday.

Heatwave thresholds are expected to be met in wide parts of central and eastern England and may even be experienced here in the North West.

SO WHAT IS A HEATWAVE?

Until recently the UK hasn't had an official definition, but the Met Office have now agreed on a temperature and time threshold for different parts of the UK that now indicate heatwave conditions.

For most parts of the North West we would have to reach 25ºC (26ºC for Cheshire) for three consecutive days to signal a heatwave.

For more information on Met Office Heatwave Thresholds: Heatwave thresholds

New Met Office official definition for a Heatwave in North West England Credit: Met Office/ ITV

This is certainly possible. Thursday's forecast daytime temperatures are expected to exceed the UK's highest July recorded daytime temperature of 36.7ºC. For the North West we would have to beat Crosby's 34.3ºC in July of 2006.

If parts of the southeast exceed 38.5ºC then we are looking at the warmest UK day ever.

July records for day and night temperature - UK Credit: Met Office/ ITV
July records for day and night temperature - North West Credit: Met Office/ ITV

In addition, nights will be very warm and muggy. Tuesday night for some parts of the UK could be the warmest night on record. If a Met Office data site stays above 23.3ºC it will be the warmest July night on record. The North West's warmest night was way back in 1948 in Morecambe bay at 20.6ºC

There will be plenty of hot sunshine over the coming few days but, as is often the case with heat rising, thunderstorms are also likely. These are more probable Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon.