Yellow weather warnings of intense thunderstorms and possible flooding have been issued by the UK Met Office for the period following the extreme heat. The UK remains in the grip of extreme heat, with amber warnings in place until Sunday for much of England and Wales.
On Friday the Met Office added yellow storm warnings for most of the UK, beginning in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Sunday afternoon and spreading to England and Wales on Monday.
Forecasters said the storms were likely to be isolated and intense bringing 50mm of rain in some places and the possibility of hail and frequent lightning.
There is a small chance that some homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, the Met Office warned,“with damage to some buildings from floodwater, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds”.
Jason Kelly, deputy chief meteorologist, said: “We’re continuing to monitor how these thundery showers develop on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. There’s a chance of some quite intense downpours at times for some areas and we’re refining the likely location of these in the coming days.”
The Met Office acknowledged that some places farther south would be grateful for any rain at all, with England having had its driest July since 1935.
But it may be the wrong type of rain: “Intense and thundery showers bring with them the chance of some surface water flooding, falling on to dry ground and often failing to be absorbed.”
Warnings about the extreme heat, which is expected to last all weekend, remained in place, with people cautioned on the health impacts and the risk of wildfires. In southern parts of England, temperatures were expected to rise as high as 35C.
In Dorset on Friday afternoon fire crews were called to a blaze on Studland Heath, the internationally important lowland heathland looked after by the National Trust.
“We are dealing with a large fire on Studland,” Dorset and Wiltshire fire and rescue service said. “Please avoid the area, especially Ferry Road, and stay off the heath. We have multiple appliances in attendance.” The Sandbanks ferry service was also suspended.
Mark Hardingham, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), said many of the incidents that services were attending were preventable.
“In this heat please don’t use barbecues when out in the countryside or at local parks. Be careful not discard cigarettes without making sure they are fully stubbed out and don’t drop litter. In these tinder-dry conditions, it is very easy for a fire to start and spread quickly.”
He also warned about jumping in to rivers and lakes, which can still be very cold despite the hot weather. “Jumping in for a swim can lead to cold water shock and accidental drowning, regardless of swimming ability,” he said. “Unfortunately, this year we have seen a number of fatalities.”
Drivers have been reminded to check their vehicles and take plenty of water on journeys, and pet owners were asked to make sure their animals had access to water and shade at all times.
“Dogs especially can overheat easily, so make sure they aren’t walked or exercised in the hottest parts of the day or left inside a hot car or conservatory for even a little while,” said Justine Shotton, the president of the British Veterinary Association.