By COLIN FERNANDEZ
In the shade: Umbrellas were swapped for parasols at Glastonbury yesterday afternoon as Britain enjoyed the hottest day of the year
Britain will be warmer than Miami and Barbados today, but as you lap up the sunshine, don't forget to take care.
The scorching conditions have prompted health officials to issue a heat warning.
After a dreary June marred by frequent downpours, parts of the country will bathe in the hottest weather for five years with the mercury forecast to reach 33c (91.4f) today.
Classic combination: This festival-go suitably dressed for the hot weather - but was playing safe by keeping her wellies on
Meanwhile Caribbean hot-spot Barbados and Miami, Florida, are only expected to have temperatures of 29c amid light showers.
But make the most of the heatwave while it lasts as weather experts predict heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight.
Forecasters said the spike in temperatures was due to an event called the 'Spanish plume' – hot air blowing into the UK from Spain.
The Met Office and Department of Health issued a level-2 heat-health alert – advising the very young, elderly and the ill to take special precautions to deal with the heat, such as drinking more water and ensuring their homes are kept cool.
I didn't know The Police were playing at Glastonbury: Even officers on duty at the Glastonbury music festival were feeling the heat
From mudbath to sun cream: The rain and mud of the opening days of the open-air festival at Glastonbury seemed a distance memory for festival-goers yesterday
Bikini babes: Fans of The Wombles, who performed at Glastonbury, get into the spirit while enjoying the sun
Cleaning up their act: Veteran rockers The Wombles were one of the acts on stage at Glastonbury
Patrick Sachon, head of health forecasting at the Met Office, said: 'There is the possibility of daytime and night-time temperatures reaching trigger thresholds.
'These temperatures, together with high humidity, pose a risk to vulnerable people, such as those with underlying health problems.'
Britain's highest temperatures ever recorded were in Faversham, Kent, in 2003, when the temperature reached 38.5c (101.3f).
The heatwave that year resulted in an estimated 2,000 extra deaths in the UK, when deaths among Britons aged 75 and over rose by 60 per cent.
The hottest temperatures are forecast for the 'M11 corridor' between East Anglia and London and parts of the east Midlands. Met Office forecaster Byron Chalcraft said: 'We're expecting highs of 32c or quite possibly 33c on Monday between London and Cambridgeshire.
Let's hope it lasts: The Met Office has predicted Monday will be the hottest day of the year
Early: Maria Hunter picks Lavender, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, which has bloomed early because of the sunnier weather
Worried: Farmers were concerned the high rise in temperatures this year would mean a shorter season for Lavender but the recent rain might help it to keep growing until the end of July
'They will be the highest temperatures since 2006, although the West will be more cloudy.
'Thunderstorms are increasingly likely just about anywhere, arriving in the West earlier and the East in the evening, and there will be heavy rain in some places.'
Weather in northern England is likely to be cooler today – in the mid-to-high 20s.
Yesterday, thermometers hit 30c (86f) in Cambridge, 28.4c (83.1f) in St James's Park in central London and 28.3c (82.9f) in Northolt, Middlesex.
Sun-lovers packed beaches and parks across the country yesterday, with an estimated 100,000 people on Bournemouth's seven miles of sand and another 20,000 on the shingle beach in Brighton.
Relax: Two people relax in the sunshine at Brighton beach as parts of the UK nearly reached temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius
Busy: Brighton sea front was buzzing with people who were keen to make the most of the sunshine
Covered: This young woman makes sure she doesn't get too much sun by using an umbrella
The heatwave helped to dry out a soaking Glastonbury where fans saw Beyonce close the music festival in Somerset last night.
But some reported that the heat actually made the site's infamous quagmire even worse – as it turned the mud to a thicker treacle-like consistency.
Fan Steve Jameson, 35, from Essex, said: 'Everyone thought it was great when the sun came out – but it actually turned the mud thicker and people's wellies were getting stuck in the mud.'
The Met Office said high day and night-time temperatures in 2003 caused 22,000 deaths in Europe, with the weather believed to have caused an extra 15,000 deaths in France, 3,100 in Italy, 2,100 in Portugal, 1,500 in Holland and 300 in Germany.
Sizzling: Thousands of people at Glastonbury will be relieved the sun has finally come out after days of heavy rain
Warning: The Met Office has said the weather is unpredictable and there could be thunder storms later this week
The heatwave follows a month of mostly rain and cloud, with a wet start to both Glastonbury and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Earlier this month, parts of Britain saw a fortnight of rain in just one weekend – and temperatures eight degrees below the June average of a warm 20c.
Popular beach town Bournemouth took the title of the wettest place in England, with 57mm of rain lashing down..
I don't want to be in goal: Footballer Myriam Vogt, from France, was competing in the Swamp Soccer World Cup being held at Hunters Hall Park in Edinburgh
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
By COLIN FERNANDEZ