The tropical temperatures that dazzled Britain in sunshine yesterday have turned to rain today as a ‘Saharan bubble’ brings widespread storms to the UK.
Torrential downpours could see up to a month’s rain fall in some places over a 60-hour period of wind, with Met Office ‘danger to life’ warnings in place for almost all of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Homes and businesses could be flooded amid warnings of lightning strikes and gale-force winds. Thunderstorms are likely to mean travel chaos for large swathes of the country, with train and bus services delayed or cancelled and driving conditions treacherous.
Some communities could experience power cuts, with severe weather warnings in place for all of today and part of tomorrow.
But later in the week Britain could break its 35C (95F) June temperature record as the 2,000-mile wide African air plume brings a heatwave to Europe following the grim Sunday-to-Tuesday period.
UK temperatures will be hotter than Egypt and Thailand – but sweltering humidity could also mean more thunderstorms, floods and a muddy Glastonbury this week.
Festival-goers in Somerset refuse to let rain dampen their spirits as showers descend on the Weston Air Festival today
Fans wait as rain is expected to delay play at the Hampshire Bowl before the Cricket World Cup match between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Southampton
Rain descends on Liverpool after a weekend of sunshine as thunderstorm warnings are rolled out across the UK
All good things come to an end: People in Liverpool cling on to their umbrellas as they walk the soaked streets this morning
Most of England and part of Scotland and Wales are covered by a thunderstorm warning for Monday, with warnings still in place for the south east on Tuesday
A 2,000-mile wide African air plume called the Saharan Bubble is expected to bring Europe a record heatwave – with Britain expected to break through its 35C (95F) June temperature record. Temperatures for today pictured above
What is the ‘Saharan bubble’?
Britain could break its 35C (95F) June temperature record this week with the arrival of a 2,000-mile wide African plume in continental Europe.
But it will begin with humid thunderstorms and severe weather warnings covering the majority of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
A huge bubble of hot air from northern Africa will move north of Algeria towards Italy and Spain on Monday.
High pressure will mean the mercury is still high, but tropical thunderstorms will also bring rain, wind and hail.
The grim spell of showers and storms will last until Wednesday, when conditions will start to improve.
The Met Office forecast UK temperature highs building from 28C on Monday to nearly 30C by Thursday and potential for 34C – and possibly hotter if less cloud – on Friday and Saturday.
Met Office experts are warning of more floods from almost a month’s rain in one day 50mm (1.97in) in England and 100mm (3.94in) in Scotland today
A yellow thunderstorm warning is in place until midnight on Monday for the vast majority of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and almost half of Wales.
Another one continues for the south east of England, midlands and parts of the north east, as well as Liverpool, Manchester and northern Wales.
As the week goes on and the rain falls away, temperature highs of 30C (86F) are expected Thursday and potential for 34C (93F) – and possibly hotter if less cloud – on Friday and Saturday.
MeteoGroup said there is a chance of up to 35C (95F). Bookmakers Coral cut odds to 4/5 on breaking the 35.6C (96.1F) June record that was set on June 29, 1957, in London, and June 28, 1976, in Southampton.
Britain will be hotter than Alexandria, Egypt, and Phuket, Thailand, both only due temperatures of 30C (86F).
This week the UK is also expected smash the hottest day of 2019, the 28.8C (83.9F) on June 2, at Weybourne, Norfolk. Northern England, which typically sees cooler temperatures than London and the south is expected to hit 28C (82F).
The first Government heat health warning of the year put hospitals on alert for an increase in admissions and ordered health and social workers to prepare to make daily contact with the ill, vulnerable and elderly.
Glastonbury, which begins on Wednesday, faces a humid bath bath, after double the amount of usual rainfall, 91mm (3.6in), soaked Somerset so far this month.
Despite a wet start, the Met Office said summer is ten times more likely to be much-hotter-than- average than much-cooler-than-average across June, July and August.
Much-hotter-than-usual UK average temperatures are up to 50 per cent probability. Much-cooler-than-normal conditions are just a five per cent chance.
Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: ‘Warm air from north Africa will bring an extensive heatwave to large parts of western and central Europe, with highs into the 40s (104F) in Germany and France.
‘The UK will see highs build through the week after 28C (82.4F) on Monday and Tuesday. By Friday and Saturday sees the chance of 34C (93.2F), and possibly warmer if there is more sunshine and less cloud in the west, which is forecast to be the hottest area.
‘It will be very humid, with thunderstorms until Tuesday bringing the risk of localised flooding, and showers popping up later in the week.
‘Glastonbury has wet ground and risks thundery showers before the festival and occasional showers during the event, but will be in the region with the hottest temperatures – so pack wellies and sun cream.’
Mr Partridge continued: ‘An extensive heatwave is on the way for much of the UK for the best part of a week. ‘Heat from north Africa will cover a big area of Europe, with up to 41C (106F) in western Germany and France.’
MeteoGroup forecaster Mario Cuellar said: ’35C (95F) is a low chance and 33C (91F) is a good chance, with the hottest days on Friday and Saturday.’
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: ‘One of Europe’s biggest heat plumes for many years will arrive in the UK, with temperatures possibly over 30C (86F) early in the week, with the hottest conditions later in the week.
An aerial view of the Glastonbury Festival site, which is expected to be hit by heavy rain, which could mean the ground is wet for the first arrivals on Wednesday morning
‘But thunderstorms are expected to be real firecrackers, with flooding expected. Glastonbury risks quagmire conditions.’
Ex-Biorports and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: ‘Blistering heat from near 40C (104F) temperatures in Europe look like wafting our way.’
The Met Office three-month forecast said: ‘For June-August as a whole, the probability UK average temperatures will fall into the warmest of our five categories is 45-50 per cent. The coldest category is five per cent.
‘The probability of higher-than-average pressure, associated with warmer-than-average conditions, is increased by North Atlantic sea surface temperature patterns. These are similar to, but not as marked, as last year.’
The Met Office 30-day outlook said: ‘Temperatures will continue to feel warm. Temperatures during July 6-20 are likely to be slightly above average.’
The wet weather over the next few days could turn tranquil areas of the festival site like this makeshift shelter into mud baths