Brits have been flocking to UK beaches on Saturday despite warnings to stay away, with temperatures forecast to reach 36C.
For the second day in a row thousands of sunbathers descended on Bournemouth beach, where one woman, after visiting on Friday, complained she had to abandon her trip because people were ignoring social distancing rules.
She told Sky News: "People just aren't following rules, they're just coming on top of you. It's just too busy."
Elsewhere in Dorset, car parks and side roads near Sandbanks were reportedly packed with vehicles on Saturday morning as sun seekers sought a space on the sand.
Pictures from Southend beach in Essex showed crowds packed onto the seafront.
And Sussex Police officers were forced to turn cars away from Camber Sands as early as 10am, with the beach described on social media as "extremely busy".
It comes despite warnings to stay away from the beaches after Friday saw crowds of people heading to the coast, with images of packed beaches, traffic jams and full car parks shared widely on social media.
By Friday afternoon, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s beach check app showed 19 of its 24 beaches under red alert, warning people to avoid the areas because safe social distancing was not possible.
The Met Office said temperatures had already reached 34.5C at Frittenden in Kent early on Saturday afternoon, with a chance the mercury could rise as high as 36C in the South East later in the day.
It comes after Friday saw the hottest August day in 17 years, with the mercury hitting 36.4C at Heathrow and Kew Gardens.
Forecasters earlier said Saturday’s temperatures will “rise well above average once again, with a peak around 36C across south-east England”.
They added that temperatures will be around average for the time of year across northern parts of the UK.
Saturday started with an “impressive” 20C difference between parts of Scotland and south-east England, the Met Office pointed out.
Forecaster Marco Petagna said: “Temperatures will probably be peaking at 35C with a small chance of 36C – it is still very hot.”
He said there is a bit of cloud in the South East but there will be a lot of dry weather and plenty of sunshine around.
He added: “It will still be very hot in the South East but with the potential for an isolated shower to break out.”
A breeze along the North Sea coast will keep temperatures in the high teens there, while England and Wales will generally see the high 20Cs or low 30Cs – while it will be cooler in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Most areas dry with plenty of sunshine this afternoon ☀
Some cloud at times over England and Wales, and perhaps a few isolated showers also catching parts of eastern, central and southern England ⛅🌦
Very hot over southern UK, pleasantly warm in sunshine in the North 🌡 pic.twitter.com/y3aWe3uRdn— Met Office (@metoffice)August 8, 2020
There are some very hot and sticky nights on the way.
London and the South East have endured sweltering heat over the past few days, with no let-up expected until the middle of next week.
The record for the hottest August day is 38.5C, set at Faversham on August 10, 2003.
The current record maximum temperature for the UK is 38.7C, reached in Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25 last year.
The Met Office issued a level three heat-health warning for the South and South East, meaning the public should look out for others, particularly the elderly, children and people in poor health.
Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, consultant in public health at Public Health England, said: “This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to Covid-19.
“A lot of homes can overheat, so it’s important we continue to check on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they’re living alone and may be socially isolated.”
But dark clouds are gathering on the horizon.
Dan Harris, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said thunderstorms are on the way, with some places likely to be hit with up to 80mm of rain in just a few hours.
“We’ve issued a broad thunderstorm warning for Monday and Tuesday for all parts of the UK, since although the ingredients are there, it’s just too early to pinpoint the details of exactly where and when thunderstorms will occur,” he said.
“As such, we will be monitoring the developing signals closely and I urge people to keep a close eye on Met Office warnings and forecasts over the coming days.”