The hottest day of the year so far has been recorded in all four UK nations - and forecasters believe it could be even warmer today.
How hot has it been?
It was the hottest day on record on Saturday 17 July in Northern Ireland with 31.2C recorded in Ballywatticock, in County Down, at 3.40pm, beating the previous highest temperature of 30.8C, reached on July 12 1983 and June 30 1976.
In England, 30.3C was recorded in Coton In The Elms, Derbyshire, on Saturday, surpassing the 29.7C recorded in south-west London on June 14.
The year’s highest temperatures so far were also recorded in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales, at 29.6C, and in Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland, at 28.2C.
But the Met Office said that temperatures could get even higher in England and south Wales on Sunday as the summer heatwave continues.
‘Temperatures expected to increase’
Tom Morgan, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Temperatures are expected to increase even further on Sunday, reaching highs of 33C in the south of the UK.”
He added an extended hot spell of weather is expected to last for much of the week ahead, adding: “It’s going to mean that people are really going to feel the effects of the heat as we go through this week.”
Thousands have flocked to beaches across the country, including Bournemouth beach in Dorset with people seen cooling off on surf boards and inflatables in the sea.
Warnings for coping in hot weather
Public Health England (PHE) and the Met Office have warned people to take care during the hot spell, advising people to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen and not to leave children or pets in cars.
PHE urged people to look out for others who may struggle in the heat, such as older people and those who live alone.
The RAC has also warned drivers to be careful during a busy weekend on the roads and to check their car is road-ready before setting off.
What is the weather forecast like?
The Met Office says that for Sunday 18 July, it’ll be sunny and hot for most of the UK, especially in the south.
It’s looking to get a bit more cooler and cloudier across northern and western Scotland, with chances of light rain and drizzle.
On Sunday night it’ll be another warm night, again, especially in the south. Clear skies for most of the UK, but low cloud and possibly drizzle affects areas of the north and east.
On Monday, expect low clouds in the northeast, breaking to allow sunny spells, but cooler along North Sea coasts.
Hot sunshine for southern and western parts, but chance of the odd heavy shower later on.
The Met Office says that from Tuesday to Thursday, we can expect the weather to be “dry, very warm or hot, and sunny for most places”.
Isolated heavy showers are possible, and it’s set to be cloudier and cooler in the far north and at times along the east coast.
When will the heatwave end?
The Met Office says that between Thursday 22 July and Saturday 31 July, “high pressure will still be dominating much of the country to start this period, but will begin to drift away to east”.
Areas of showers and thunderstorms are likely to spread “erratically northeast” across the country over the weekend of that time period.
It will continue to be very warm, however conditions will continue to be cooler for some northern areas.
“For the rest of the period, spells of rain or showers are likely for many areas, with temperatures easing back closer to normal,” the Met Office says.
Additional reporting by PA