UK temperatures could peak at 30C (86F) this weekend as public health experts warn the heat poses a threat to the wellbeing of the wider population.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Thursday upgraded an alert for hot weather in five regions of England as warnings were also issued for thunderstorms.
Parts of the country are predicted to be hotter than Marbella, Ibiza and Tenerife in the coming days as a plume of warm air moves in from the south, with temperatures likely to reach 28C and possibly peak at 30C.
The UKHSA initially issued yellow warnings for parts of England on Wednesday but on Thursday raised the level to amber for the West Midlands, east Midlands, east of England, south-east and south-west.
It means the effect of the heat is “likely to be felt across the whole health service … and the wider population, not just the most vulnerable”.
Yellow alerts are less serious and are used to warn that there may be some disruption to services due to weather conditions.
A further yellow alert was issued by the UKHSA on Thursday for the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire and Humber regions of England, while a yellow alert for London issued on Wednesday remains in place.
All alerts come into force from 9am on Friday until 9am on Monday.
A yellow alert was also issued by the Met Office on Thursday for thunderstorms, covering Wales and south and western England, between 2pm and 9pm on Saturday.
The weekend’s high temperatures were expected to trigger showers, the Met Office said, some of which could be torrential and thundery, with more than 30mm-40mm potentially falling within an hour. Rain, hail, wind and lightning were also predicted to hit some areas, although other parts of the country would have no rain at all.
Oliver Clayden, from the Met Office, said there could be some travel disruption over the weekend. “After a prolonged dry spell there is a chance of surface water flooding,” he said. “There could be some surface water issues that could cause travel disruptions as well as the high gusts across parts of the country.”
He added: “This is going to be the warmest weekend of the year, which is to be expected as we go into summer. This weekend will also see hail mixed in with strong gusts of wind and rain hit parts of the country.”