Heatwave intensifies in UK ahead of '˜Furnace Friday'

Sizzling temperatures across the UK could rise further still with southern England braced for what could be the hottest July day on record.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 12:11 am
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 10:59 am

Thursday’s high of 35.1C in Surrey made it the warmest day of the year so far, but forecasters are predicting that tomorrow – which has been dubbed ‘Furnace Friday’ – could be a sweltering 37C, with some areas expected to threaten the all-time UK record of 38.5C before the current heatwave ends.

Northern Ireland was much cooler than England today but reached a still warm 24.5 C in Castlederg. In the east of the Province it reached 22.4C in Helen’s Bay and 22.5C at Stormont Castle.

NI hasn’t missed out in recent weeks, with the province enjoying the hottest June since records began in 1910, and a glorious July.

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People sunbathing at the mixed bathing pond on Hampstead Heath, London on Thursday. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Temperatures in the low to mid-20s are expected to continue on Friday, with some sunny spells, but showers are expected in many areas later in the day.

Saturday will be cooler with outbreaks of occasionally heavy rain with a similar weather picture on Sunday.

The very high temperatures in GB has led to a warning that more must be done to protect vulnerable people.

Deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said: “These days there is no real let-up in the pressure on NHS services in summer in the way we used to see.

“But the heatwave has meant that in some places at least, we’re back to winter conditions – in hospitals, community, mental health and ambulance services – and although fewer staff are off sick there are more away on holiday.

“Some trusts are reporting record numbers of people coming in to A&E, with increased emergency admissions, often for respiratory problems and conditions made worse by dehydration.

“We have heard concerns about large numbers of people from care homes requiring treatment.”

Children, the elderly and people with lung or heart problems have been advised to reduce strenuous exercise and physical exertion.

Advice and warnings have been issued to those on the move in the heat. Drivers have been urged not to throw rubbish from vehicles amid a surge in grass fires near busy roads, and passengers using cross-Channel Eurotunnel services face delays of up to five hours yesterday after air conditioning units failed on trains.

In Greece, wildfires have claimed the lives of at least 80 people,