UK weather - live: Heatwave set to get even hotter after warmest night on record

·28-min read

Britain is forecast to see its hottest day on record on Tuesday in the country’s first-ever national heat emergency.

Monday night was expected to be the warmest night ever with highs in the mid-20s in parts, while the rising sun is expected to bring temperatures up to 41C in Yorkshire and 40C in London.

The Met Office said some models even forecast highs of 43C – well above the previous record of 38.7C, recorded in 2019.

Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said: “I’ve been a qualified meteorologist for 10 years, and telling people about 41C in the UK doesn’t seem real ... It’s been quite an eye-opener to climate change with all these temperatures in the UK.”

Dozens of schools have closed for Tuesday while others cancelled sports days, school trips and detentions, and relaxed uniform codes.

Health authorities have urged people to stay inside during the hottest period of the day, between 11am and 4pm, and wear sun cream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated with water.

Key points

  • Wales records new highest temperature twice in one day

  • Schools report seeing attendance drop by a third due to heat

  • Heatwave could hit 43C, Met Office says

  • Flights suspended at Luton as high temperatures cause runway defect

  • More wildfires in 48 hours than in all of last July

  • Amber and red alerts warn of ‘potential health effects or danger to life’

  • Police warn against open water swimming after teen’s death

UK must ‘heat-proof’ itself against rising temperatures

06:34 , Stuti Mishra

Leading experts have said that this intense summer heat will only become more common in the near future, endangering lives and bringing parts of the UK to a halt, writes Saphora Smith.

More must be done to ‘heat-proof’ the country, which is “not built for 40C,” the scientists say.

Read more:

UK must ‘heat-proof’ itself amid warnings thousands could die this summer

Front pages carry dire warnings for what’s to come as UK swelters

06:15 , Stuti Mishra

The UK’s sweltering heatwave is on the front pages of almost every newspaper as Met offices warn of worse to come in the days ahead, as well as the Tory race for premiership after Tom Tugendhat’s exit.

Earth sends a warning,” the i says of temperatures which are expected to be even hotter on Tuesday, with a forecast map of Britain showing 41C in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and 40C in London.

The Independent reports that on the first day of Britain’s first ever red extreme temperature alert a court ruled that ministers have failed to outline exactly how their net zero strategy will achieve emissions targets, adding that this has dealt a “serious blow” to the government’s climate change credentials.

The Daily Telegraph, Metro and the Daily Star all feature the same image of a police officer giving water to one of Buckingham Palace’s iconic Irish Guards during Monday’s sweltering heat.

See more front pages here:

What the papers say – July 19

Legal setback for government over net zero plan

05:45 , Stuti Mishra

Ministers failed to outline exactly how their net zero strategy will achieve emissions targets, a court ruled on Monday – dealing the government’s climate change credentials a serious blow on the day Britain sweltered under its first ever red extreme temperature alert, writes Andrew Woodcock.

Proposals for meeting emission targets were too vague for business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to claim in parliament that the government was on track to fulfil its global warming promises, the High Court said.

Detailed analysis was omitted from the strategy even though “it is plain from the evidence before the court that the information existed at the time”, Mr Justice Holgate concluded.

Read more here:

Legal setback for government over net zero strategy as Britain swelters in heatwave

Monday was the hottest day of the year for Northern Ireland

05:29 , Stuti Mishra

Northern Ireland has recorded its hottest day of the year, with temperatures soaring above 30C in some areas.

People have been advised to stay out of the sun, despite there being no heat warning in place in the region.

In the Republic of Ireland, a yellow weather warning is in place and red and amber weather alerts for extreme heat have been issued across Great Britain.

The Met office recorded a temperature of 31.2C in Derrylin in Co Fermanagh at 3.55pm on Monday.

The next highest temperatures recorded were 30.8C in Armagh and Aldergrove, Co Antrim, 30.4C in Thomastown, Co Fermanagh and 29.8C in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Northern Ireland was 31.3C (88.3F) in Castlederg in County Tyrone last July.

As people flocked to beaches across Northern Ireland, public transport operator Translink announced that train tickets to the popular Helen’s Bay in Co Down were being suspended.

Dr Brid Farrell, deputy director of public health at the Public Health Agency (PHA), urged people to stay out of the sun during the warmest hours.

“Actually, we are in a fortunate position that we are not going to reach the temperatures currently being seen in England, Wales and the south of Scotland.”

Dr Farrell added: “We are going to encounter more extremes of weather, both very hot and very cold in the next couple of decades.”

“That is all due to climate change.”

Scotland could see record temperatures

05:10 , Stuti Mishra

Temperatures could hit record highs in Scotland on Tuesday as the country looks set to continue sweltering in a heatwave.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning - for extreme heat in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland - which is in force until midnight on Wednesday.

Edinburgh is predicted to reach 31C, while Glasgow will see the mercury rise to around 28C.

But in Aboyne, thermometers could reach 32C, and in Coldstream, in the Scottish Borders, the mercury could soar to 34C.

Ahead of soaring temperatures, which weather experts believe could pass the August 2003 record of 32.9C at Greycrook in the Scottish Borders, Holyrood minister Keith Brown urged people “to think about whether they need to travel and, if they do, make sure they’re properly equipped and plan their journey in advance”.

On Monday, the mercury rose to 31.3C in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire and Leuchars in Fife, the Met Office said.

Meanwhile, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh recorded 30.8C and temperatures peaked at 29.9C in Aviemore.

Britons brace for hottest day on record

04:47 , Stuti Mishra

Britons are set to melt on the hottest UK day on record as temperatures are predicted to hit 40C today amid growing travel chaos.

It comes after the mercury peaked at 38.1C in Santon Downham, Suffolk on Monday, making it the hottest day of the year and the third hottest day on record, after 38.7C in Cambridge in 2019 and 38.5C in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.

The mercury will sizzle at possible highs of 41C in isolated areas today, making the country hotter than Jamaica, the Maldives and Barbados - with rail users warned of delays, cancellations and changes to train services.

Rachel Ayers, a Met Office forecaster, told the PA news agency that Britons “have a pretty unprecedented day” today as the temperature will be very hot throughout the day, before rising as high as 40C, maybe even 41C in isolated spots across England during the afternoon.

“This will make it the hottest day on record and the first time we have seen temperatures as high as 40C.”

Scotland and Wales could also see their hottest days on record.

Heatwave warnings for various regions (PA Graphics)
Heatwave warnings for various regions (PA Graphics)

Commuters keep away: Traffic and passenger numbers drop in extreme heat

03:00 , Liam James

Network Rail said the number of passengers using major stations across Britain on Monday was around 20 per cent down on one week ago, as people were warned to avoid public transport in the extreme heat.

Road traffic was also down, with location technology firm TomTom saying congestion at 9am was lower in most UK cities than at the same time last week.

In London, congestion levels fell from 53% on July 11 to 42% on Monday.

In Birmingham they were down from 46% to 43%, in Manchester they decreased from 45% to 37%, and in Glasgow they dropped from 17% to 12%.

Transport for London said fewer people were using the Tube and bus services, down 18 per cent and 10 per cent on last Monday respectively.

Train speed restrictions imposed by Network Rail to reduce the chances of tracks buckling in the heatwave caused delays and cancellations.

Many operators were running a heavily reduced timetable on Monday and will do so on Tuesday, including Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern and Thameslink.

London Victoria station was relatively empty during the morning rush hour on Monday (AFP/Getty)
London Victoria station was relatively empty during the morning rush hour on Monday (AFP/Getty)

RAF stops flights to Brize Norton as ‘runway has melted’

02:00 , Liam James

The RAF has halted flights in and out of its biggest airbase after the runway reportedly melted on a day of extremely hot weather.

RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire was forced to divert traffic to other airfields due to safety concerns, a spokesperson said.

A source told Sky News the decision was taken on Monday morning because the runway’s tarmac had melted in the heat.

In a statement the RAF confirmed flights were being sent elsewhere as they could not take off safely from Brize Norton.

The air force said the diversions had not interfered with military business.

“During this period of extreme temperature flight safety remains the RAF’s top priority, so aircraft are using alternative airfields in line with a long-established plan. This means there is no impact on RAF operations,” the statement said.

Brize Norton sits in the area of Britain on red alert for extreme heat on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures on Monday expected to peak at 35C.

RAF stops flights to Brize Norton as ‘runway has melted’

Met Office forecaster debunks ‘doctored’ weather map comparison

01:00 , Liam James

“Left – old school weather forecast, happy and sunshiny. Right – new style weather forecast, Designed to look like fear and destruction. It’s called summer.”

This is the caption of a post which has gone viral on social media showing two maps of the UK – one purportedly during a previous spell of hot weather, and one apparently ahead of the current record heatwave.

However, the comparison has drawn ire from the Met Office meteorologist who designed the current heat maps being used.

Aidan McGivern told The Independent the post was “incredibly frustrating”, and said the image on the right, supposedly of a recent forecast, was doctored.

“This misinformation detracts from the Met Office’s forecasts, warnings and advice on how to stay safe during what is actually an unprecedented spell of extreme temperatures,” he said.

He also explained why the heat scale colours had been updated last year.

Met Office forecaster debunks ‘doctored’ weather map comparison

Heatwaves could lead to devastating wildfires, experts fear

00:00 , Liam James

Experts are worried about the possibility of major wildfires tearing through the countryside as temperatures threaten to soar as high as 40C.

Wildlife would be “devastated” by such a blaze, with one expert suggesting Britain could face conditions similar to those taking hold in southern Europe.

Patches of England were at “exceptional risk” of wildfires on Monday, the Met Office said, with an alert spreading to most of the country for Tuesday.

“I haven’t even seen the exceptional category being used in the times I’ve looked at the Wildfire Index before,” Kathryn Brown, the Wildlife Trust’s director for climate action, said.

“In southern Europe, we’re seeing these stories of these horrendous wildfires taking hold all over the place and these are the conditions that we’re going to be more prone to.

“We need to be much more aware, and the public needs to be much more aware, of the wildfire risk.”

Blazes across France, Spain, Portugal and Greece have levelled thousands of acres of land and forced the evacuation of locals and holidaymakers.

The National Trust has warned against lighting barbecues or campfires in open countryside and dropping litter such as glass bottles.

Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Marie/SWNS)
Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Marie/SWNS)
Around 60 acres of dry straw in a Shrophsire field caught alight last Thursday (Shropshire Fire and Rescue)
Around 60 acres of dry straw in a Shrophsire field caught alight last Thursday (Shropshire Fire and Rescue)

Fourteen-year-old boy thought to have drowned in Thames

23:30 , Liam James

A 14-year-old boy is missing and is believed to have drowned after getting into difficulty in the River Thames in west London.

Emergency services and the government have reiterated urgent warnings about the dangers of trying to keep cool after several tragedies in waterways and reservoirs during the heatwave.

At just before 5pm on Monday, the Metropolitan Police were alerted by London Ambulance Service to reports that a child had entered the water at Tagg’s Island in Hampton, Richmond.

Despite a search by officers, paramedics, London Fire Brigade and members of the public, efforts to find the boy were unsuccessful and the rescue operation was brought to an end at 6.40pm.

Efforts to recover his body will continue into the evening, with the boy‘s next of kin aware and being supported by specialist officers.

Superintendent Richard Smith, from the South West Command Unit, said: “Despite the very best efforts of all involved, we must now sadly conclude that this young boy has died.

“His death is a tragedy and I cannot begin to imagine what his family will be going through. All our thoughts are with them.

“I know that on days like today when temperatures are at a record high, it might look appealing to jump in and cool off in rivers, reservoirs, lakes or other open water.

“Please don’t. The dangers are real and this evening in Richmond we have seen the terrible consequences of what happens when it goes wrong.”

All Tory leadership candidates confirm commitment to net zero

23:00 , Liam James

All five of the remaining Conservative leadership contenders have committed to meeting net zero by 2050 (Christopher McKeon writes).

At a well-attended hustings organised by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) and chaired by Cop26 President Alok Sharma, the candidates confirmed their commitment to the UK’s net zero target.

Prior to the hustings, all the candidates except Kemi Badenoch had signed the CEN’s pledge to maintain the 2050 target.

As recently as July 12, the former equalities minister had described net zero policies as “unilateral economic disarmament”, while she has previously called the 2050 target “arbitrary”.

But as Britain saw its hottest day of the year on Monday and temperatures approached 40C, Ms Badenoch joined her fellow candidates in committing to the 2050 target.

All Tory leadership candidates confirm commitment to net zero

Ireland records hottest temperature in more than a century

22:15 , Liam James

Ireland has recorded its hottest temperature in more than a century as parts of Dublin reached 33C, according to Met Eireann.

A status yellow high temperature warning remains in place across the country as it faces another day of high heat.

Data from Met Eireann shows that temperatures soared to 33C at Phoenix Park in the capital on Monday, making it provisionally the hottest day ever recorded in July.

It also breaks the high temperature record for the 21st and 20th century.

It said: “Phoenix Park has broken the highest 21st temperature record with 33C which is Ireland’s highest of 2022 so far and 12.8C above normal.

“This is only 0.3C below the all-time 135-year-old record set at Kilkenny Castle in 1887. Temperatures may still rise further.”

An ice cream melts in the heat at Phoenix Park in Dublin (PA)
An ice cream melts in the heat at Phoenix Park in Dublin (PA)

Hottest spots in all four UK nations

21:35 , Liam James

Monday was exceptionally hot despite failing to live up to forecast that it would see the UK temperature record broken.

Wales recorded its hottest day ever at 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire, beating the previous record for the country which has been in place since 1990 by almost 2C.

Northern Ireland saw its hottest day of the year so far, with 3.1C at Derrylin. Scotland hit 31.3C at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.

While England saw 38.1C at Santon Downham, Suffolk – just 0.6C shy of the UK record.

Tuesday is expected to be hotter still and all four UK nations are forecast to see temperature records shattered, with potential for 41C in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and 40C in London.

Health secretary says 999 calls up but paramedics say they are coping

21:00 , Liam James

Emergency services are experiencing a rise in 999 calls as a heatwave sweeps Britain, according to Steve Barclay, the health secretary.

Mr Barclay said: “We’re seeing an increase in calls and the extra resource we have put in place is to manage that. But there’s also a time lag in the data because the highest point of the expected heatwave is actually going to be tomorrow afternoon.

“So that’s the point of maximum concern, but we’re seeing an increase in calls.”

Despite Mr barclay’s claim, three major ambulance services said they were operating as usual.

Brian Jordan, director of 999 operations at London Ambulance Service, urged people to only dial 999 in an emergency as he told the BBC a busy day would see 5,500 emergency calls to the service but he was anticipating up to 8,000 calls on Monday.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it was operating as usual with nothing out of the ordinary to report as yet.

A spokesman for North East Ambulance Service said the service remains busy “but so far today there has been no significant heat-related issues”.

Government’s net zero climate strategy ‘unlawful’ as heatwave temperatures soar

20:35 , Liam James

The government has been ordered to redraw its net zero strategy after the High Court ruled it failed to effectively outline how it would limit carbon emissions, as the country swelters in record-breaking heat (Saphora Smith writes).

Climate campaigners won a legal challenge claiming the government’s plan was in breach of climate law as it omitted vital details to show how targets to bring down the level of harmful gases being pumped into the atmosphere would be met.

“Government’s strategy for getting to net zero is inadequate and unlawful, the High Court has found, following a successful legal challenge,” the Good Law Project said on Monday.

Cases brought by Friends of the Earth, environmental law charity ClientEarth and legal campaign group the Good Law Project were heard together at the High Court of Justice in London last month.

Lawyers for the claimants argued that the policies for emissions reduction targets only added up to around 95 per cent of the carbon reductions needed to be achieved.

Government’s net zero strategy ‘unlawful’ as heatwave temperatures soar

Commuters keep away: Traffic and passenger numbers drop in extreme heat

20:03 , Liam James

Network Rail said the number of passengers using major stations across Britain on Monday was around 20 per cent down on one week ago, as people were warned to avoid public transport in the extreme heat.

Road traffic was also down, with location technology firm TomTom saying congestion at 9am was lower in most UK cities than at the same time last week.

In London, congestion levels fell from 53% on July 11 to 42% on Monday.

In Birmingham they were down from 46% to 43%, in Manchester they decreased from 45% to 37%, and in Glasgow they dropped from 17% to 12%.

Transport for London said fewer people were using the Tube and bus services, down 18 per cent and 10 per cent on last Monday respectively.

Train speed restrictions imposed by Network Rail to reduce the chances of tracks buckling in the heatwave caused delays and cancellations.

Many operators were running a heavily reduced timetable on Monday and will do so on Tuesday, including Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern and Thameslink.

London Victoria station was relatively empty during the morning rush hour (AFP/Getty)
London Victoria station was relatively empty during the morning rush hour (AFP/Getty)

Swan uppers cut corners to keep cygnets cool

19:54 , Liam James

Adjustments were made to the ancient tradition of Swan Upping – the annual census of the swan population along the River Thames – to help cygnets in the extreme heat.

The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber, accompanied by his team of Swan Uppers, took to the water in traditional rowing skiffs at Sunbury Lock Cut in Middlesex today as the five-day count and check got under way despite the heatwave.

Mr Barber told the PA news agency the baby swans were not taken ashore to be weighed and measured, and were checked in the boats instead and promptly returned to the river to keep them cool.

“The cygnets do have an issue of going into fishing lines because they’re not streetwise or riverwise so you have to check those over,” he said.

“Normally we would take them out of the water, ashore and weigh each cygnet and measure each cygnet for our data.

“Today we took them out of the water, checked them over, put a ring on them and then they went back in the water.”

Mr Barber, who has been the Queen’s Swan Marker for 29 years, said it was the hottest Swan Upping he had experienced, prompting him to dispense with his traditional heavy scarlet blazer, which is decorated with embroidered gold thread and royal insignia.

“The only time I put my blazer on was in Romney Lock when we gave a toast to Her Majesty the Queen. I just had to do that,” he said.

Swan Uppers check over a cygnet near Chertsey in Surrey (PA)
Swan Uppers check over a cygnet near Chertsey in Surrey (PA)
Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber checks over a cygnet near Chertsey in Surrey (PA)
Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber checks over a cygnet near Chertsey in Surrey (PA)
Barber carries an injured mute swan during the count in Shepperton (Getty)
Barber carries an injured mute swan during the count in Shepperton (Getty)

Temperature tops 30C in Scotland

19:32 , Liam James

Temperatures have soared above 30C in Scotland as the country swelters in a heatwave.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning of “extreme heat” in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland which is in force until midnight on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon the mercury rose to 30.8C in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh, and reached 29.9C at Aviemore, the Met Office said.

Scotland‘s 9 August 2003 record of 32.9C at Greyrcrook in the Scottish Borders has yet to be broken but forecasters said that may happen on Tuesday.

Birmingham park burns in extreme heat

19:13 , Liam James

A large fire erupted at a park on the outskirts of Birmingham this afternoon.

Around 4,305 square feet of land was alight and more than 60 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze.

A spokesperson for Hereford & Worcester Fire Service said: “HWFRS and West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service crews are currently fighting a fire in the open in the area of Rose Hill in Rednal in the Lickey Hills.

“People are asked to stay away from the area – residents are asked to keep their doors and windows closed.”

Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Marie/SWNS)
Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Marie/SWNS)
Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Maric/SWNS)
Firefighter at the scene in Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham (Anita Maric/SWNS)
Locals watch as Lickey Hills burns (Anita Maric/SWNS)
Locals watch as Lickey Hills burns (Anita Maric/SWNS)

Centuries-old meteorological station records highest ever temperature

18:55 , Liam James

A centuries-old meterorological station in Oxford has recorded its highest ever temperature.

The Radcliffe Observatory recorded 36.5C today as temperature records were broken all around the UK.

Meteorological records commenced at the observatory in 1772, an unbroken daily air temperature record exists from November 1813, with daily rainfall records from January 1827 and sunshine records from February 1880.

The University of Oxford site is the longest continous climate record in the UK and one of the longest in the world.

The previous highest daily temperature was recorded in 2019.

PhD Geography student Matt Clements checks the Radcliffe Met Station (Tom Wren/SWNS)
PhD Geography student Matt Clements checks the Radcliffe Met Station (Tom Wren/SWNS)
The Radcliffe Met Station is on the University of Oxford campus (Tom Wren SWNS)
The Radcliffe Met Station is on the University of Oxford campus (Tom Wren SWNS)

Fears of ‘leaf scorch’ for Kew Gardens plants

18:35 , Liam James

Rainforest plants housed in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew could be scorched in the extreme heat this week, one of its executives has said.

Richard Barley, director of gardens, said the Palm House was kept cooler than the outside temperature but “leaf scorch” was still a risk.

“A building like the Palm House doesn’t have structural shading or anything of that sort, so scorching is a possibility,” he said.

“If there’s no cloud cover and if the air temperature is high and there’s sunshine in mid-summer conditions, we can get leaf scorch, particularly of plants that have their foliage up close to the glass.

“Usually, the plants will withstand reasonably high temperatures, although if they got to be extreme, we’d be in uncharted territory.”

Visitors appeared to be put off by the temperatures as they soared into the high 30s, with Mr Barley suggesting most had “sensibly stayed” in the “comparative cool” of their homes.

However, the Palm House was cooler than the outside conditions thanks to its humidity, which is maintained at around 75 per cent.

Kew Diploma student Elizabeth Mansfield waters the plants in the Palm House on Monday (PA)
Kew Diploma student Elizabeth Mansfield waters the plants in the Palm House on Monday (PA)
Horticulturist Carlos Magdalena removes a Victoria cruziana waterlily from the Palm House pond to create room for a new species of giant waterlily (PA)
Horticulturist Carlos Magdalena removes a Victoria cruziana waterlily from the Palm House pond to create room for a new species of giant waterlily (PA)
Magdalena examines the leaves of the new giant waterlily species, Victoria boliviana, in the Palm House (PA)
Magdalena examines the leaves of the new giant waterlily species, Victoria boliviana, in the Palm House (PA)

More wildfires in 48 hours than in all of last July

18:19 , Liam James

In the last 48 hours England and Wales have recorded at least two dozen wildfires, double the number recorded in all of July last year (Saphora Smith writes).

Paul Hedley, the lead on wildfires for the National Fire Chiefs Council, toldThe Independent that by around 4pm on Monday fire and rescue services across England and Wales had recorded at least 24 fires since Sunday morning at 7 am.

By comparison in July last year, 11 wildfires were recorded across both countries, he added.

“Everything is just tinder dry right across the country,” he said. “It’s certainly a lot more thant we’ll be expecting to get on a daily basis.”

Mr Hedley said the uptick in fires was linked to the extreme heat engulfing the country.

More wildfires in 48 hours than in all of last July

Another grass fire sparked in London

18:03 , Liam James

Eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters have been sent to tackle a grass fire in London.

Around two acres of shrubland was on fire on Woolwich Common, London Fire Brigade said.

Barely one hour earlier, a grass area the size of three football fields set alight in nearby Bexleyheath.

Watch: Wildfire breaks out in Birmingham country park following UK heatwave

18:02 , Liam James

A fire has broken out at a popular beauty spot near Birmingham just yards away from a historic golf club as heatwave temperatures top 40C.

More than 60 firefighters are battling the flames which broke out at Lickey Hills Country Park in Rednal at 1.15pm today.

Residents living nearby have been advised to close all doors and windows.

Flights suspended at Luton as high temperatures cause runway defect

17:42 , Liam James

Flights have been suspended at Luton Airport due to a runway defect caused by Monday’s high temperatures (Lucy Thackray writes).

A statement posted to the airport’s Twitter account shortly after 4.20pm reads: “Following today’s high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway.

“Engineers were called immediately to site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

At least 14 incoming passenger flights have so far been diverted – mainly to nearby Stansted. They include Ryanair flights from Athens, Zante and Las Palmas, easyJet from Catania and Tui from Skiathos.

Flights suspended at Luton as high temperatures cause runway defect

Grass fire sparked in London

17:26 , Liam James

Firefighters are tackling a fire on a field in a London suburb.

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze by Halcot Avenue in Bexleyheath, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

An area the size of three football pitches was in flames, LFB added.

The fire service said it had attended more than 800 grass fires in the last six weeks and reminded people it is illegal to light barbecues in London parks.

Wales records highest temperature ever for second time today

17:15 , Liam James

The temperature record for Wales has been broken again, hours after the last record was set.

The Met Office reported the temperature reached 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire shortly before 4pm.

Just two hours before, 35.3C was recorded some 80 miles southwest in Gogerddan near Aberystwyth.

This earlier temperature was the highest since August 1990 when 35.2C was recorded at Hawarden.

Thermometer records 40C in London

17:04 , Liam James

A thermometer recorded a temperature of 40C at Oxford Circus in London at 3.45pm today.

If confirmed by the Met Office, this would be the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK by some way.

The current record of 38.7C was set in 2019 and was expected to be surpassed today, with another new record expected on Tuesday.

 (PA)
(PA)

Cobra meets to co-ordinate ‘extensive preparation and mitigation measures’ for next 36 hours

16:30 , Chiara Giordano

Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse has said the NHS has all of its operational capacity and capability available in the heatwave after chairing Cobra meeting.

He said the meeting was the latest in a series to co-ordinate the “extensive preparation and mitigation measures being taken across the government to face the next 36 hours”.

Responding to an urgent question in the Commons, he said: "Temperatures are forecast to reach the low 40s centigrade, it looks probably they will break the current UK record of 38.7C recorded in Cambridge in 2019 - they currently stand at 37.5C in Suffolk."

 (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)
(Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

He added: "While we hope people will take notice of the advice on how to keep safe in the high temperatures, the NHS has made sure all its operational capacity and capability are available in the heatwave."

The minister said there are now more than 2,400 call handlers for 999, an increase of around 500 since September last year.

 (Yui Mok/PA)
(Yui Mok/PA)

More wildfires in 48 hours than in all of last July

16:10 , Chiara Giordano

In the last 48 hours England and Wales have recorded at least two dozen wildfires, double the number recorded in all of July last year.

Paul Hedley, the lead on wildfires for the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), toldThe Independent fire and rescue services across England and Wales have recorded at least 24 fires since Sunday morning at 7am.

Our climate correspondent Saphora Smith has this exclusive report:

More wildfires in 48 hours than in all of last July

Highs of 37C recorded in England

15:57 , Chiara Giordano

Temperatures across much of England and Wales were in the mid to high 30s by 3pm.

The highest recorded temperature so far today was 37.5C at Cavendish in Suffolk, according to the Met Office.

Kew Gardens, in London, has reached 37.4C, while both Santon Downham, in Suffolk, and Wisley, Surrey, saw temperatures of 37.2C.

Cambridge Niab and Heathrow both saw highs of 37.1C.

More record temperatures expected to be set

15:46 , Chiara Giordano

The UK record is not the only one likely to be broken during the extreme heat today and tomorrow, the Met office has said.

Wales has already set a new provisional record of 35.3C at Gogerddan today. It surpasses the 35.2C recorded at Hawarden Bridge, Flintshire, on 2 August 1990.

Scotland is also expected to see some exceptionally high temperatures that could come close to the record as well.

An infographic shared by the Met Office shows there is a 95 per cent possibility of the England record of 38.7C set in Cambridge Botanic Garden being broken.

There is also a 70 per cent chance the 32.9C recorded at Greycrook on the Scottish borders on 9 August 2003 will be surpassed.

Women rest on a bench and drink water in Canary Wharf, London (Kevin Coombs/Reuters)
Women rest on a bench and drink water in Canary Wharf, London (Kevin Coombs/Reuters)
A woman uses an umbrella to shelter from the sun near Hammersmith, London (Frank Augstein/AP)
A woman uses an umbrella to shelter from the sun near Hammersmith, London (Frank Augstein/AP)

Urgent warning over open water swimming as four people die

15:29 , Chiara Giordano

Many people have flocked to beaches and swimming pools in an effort to cool down as temperatures continue to soar today.

Cabinet minister Kit Malthouse suggested people should "just take it easy" during the heatwave, and could go to the beach to avoid the worst of the "ferocious" heat.

However people are being urged to stay away from dangerous waterways and reservoirs as a fourth person has died since the beginning of the heatwave.

A 16-year-old boy was pronounced dead after getting into difficulty in Bray Lake in Berkshire on Monday morning.

A 13-year-old boy was also found dead after getting into difficulty in a river in Northumberland, while a 16-year-old and a 50-year-old both died in Yorkshire.

A couple keep cool in the River Thames near Chertsey in Surrey (Steve Parsons/PA)
A couple keep cool in the River Thames near Chertsey in Surrey (Steve Parsons/PA)
Two women bathe in the River Thames near Windsor (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Two women bathe in the River Thames near Windsor (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
People swim and relax in a dinghy on the River Thames at Shepperton (Toby Melville/Reuters)
People swim and relax in a dinghy on the River Thames at Shepperton (Toby Melville/Reuters)
People enjoy the hot weather at Jesus Green Lido in Cambridge (Jacob King/PA)
People enjoy the hot weather at Jesus Green Lido in Cambridge (Jacob King/PA)

Pictures show firefighters battling grass and field blazes near Chesterfield

15:05 , Chiara Giordano

Firefighters have been busy battling grass and field fires near the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield.

These dramatic pictures show the extent of the fire.

 (Tom Maddick/SWNS)
(Tom Maddick/SWNS)
 (Tom Maddick/SWNS)
(Tom Maddick/SWNS)
 (Tom Maddick/SWNS)
(Tom Maddick/SWNS)

Boy, 16, pronounced dead after body found in Berkshire lake

14:38 , Chiara Giordano

A 16-year-old boy has died after getting into difficulty in Bray Lake, near Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Thames Valley Police said officers were called at 11.45am today and a body was located at just after 1.30pm, when he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Three other people have died will swiming during the UK heatwave.

A 13-year-old boy was found dead after getting into difficult in a river in Northumberland, while a 16-year-old and a 50-year-old both died in Yorkshire.

Andy Gregory has more details:

Boy, 16, pronounced dead after body found in Berkshire lake

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