Warnings over hottest day of year

Congleton Guardian: Sisters Abigail and Sarah Bell enjoy the hot weather at Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire Sisters Abigail and Sarah Bell enjoy the hot weather at Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire

England and Wales are preparing to bask in scorching temperatures as the hottest day of the year so far arrives.

But the heat has prompted warnings from health authorities urging the public to take care in the potentially "dangerous" heatwave conditions.

Temperatures are predicted to get as high as 32C (89.6F) in the south-east, with the majority of England and Wales still sizzling at between 28C (82.4F) and 31C (87.8F). The continued hot spell shows no sign of ending as temperatures are set to remain in the mid to high 20s well into next week.

A warning issued by the Met Office has been escalated to a level three alert for Yorkshire and the Humber after temperatures have already reached heatwave conditions. Level two alerts are in place across most of England preparing the public for the possibility of heatwave conditions, which it says can have a significant impact on health.

"Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases," the alert said.

A spokesman for Public Health England (PHE) said: "Level two alerts are triggered as soon as the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60% chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days to have a significant effect on health. This will normally happen two to three days before a heatwave is expected to occur. As most deaths occur in the first two days, this is an important stage at which to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave."

Dr Angie Bone, head of the PHE's Heatwave Plan, said: "Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. The elderly and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it's important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible."

Gareth Harvey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the top temperature of the day will probably be recorded west of London. He said: "The hottest part of the day will probably be around 3pm to 4pm. There heat will bring a chance of brief thunderstorms in the east of England but only a few areas will see showers. The temperature will drop slightly on Sunday but remain hot and dry."

The soaring summer temperatures have been a welcomed by tourism and business bosses in Wales, where trade has shot up dramatically. Llangollen's international eisteddfod, which runs until Sunday, has recorded a 40% rise in visitors. And department store John Lewis in Cardiff reported sales of outdoor furniture and barbecues tripling.

The clear skies and sunny weather also mean good news for the 120,000 people expected to turn out to watch the Wales National Air Show in Swansea - where the famous Red Arrows display team will show off their skills.

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