THUNDERSTORMS struck yesterday with more on the way today after the hottest day of the year at 33.3C.
Storms erupted across the South West at 4.30pm bringing to an end the sweltering summer temperatures which tempted thousands of Brits to beaches across the country.
The scorching sunshine is expected to give way to sweeping thunderstormsbringing heavy rain, lightning and hail.
And a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in place for much of the country from Thursday to Saturday, warning of disruption due to flooding, lightning strikes, hail and wind.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Steve Willington, said: “Although many areas will enjoy dry and sunny weather over the next few days, the high temperatures will trigger thunderstorms which may cause flooding and disruption in a few places."
The temperature in London around 3pm on Thursday hit 33.3C, breaking the record set the day before, the Met Office said.
"Heathrow has matched yesterday's 32.6C and is likely to rise further this afternoon," the Met Office tweeted at 2pm.
The temperature then climbed to 33.3C an hour later.
Beachgoers travelled to the water in huge numbers again on Thursday.
Camber Sands beach was so popular that police were forced to close the road leading to the shore at 10.30am due to heavy traffic.
In Bournemouth, a major incident was declared as thousands defied advice and flocked to beaches.
Emergency crews were left "completely overstretched" by Brits packing out the shoreline.
The public have been slammed by the local council for blocking roads, boozing and dumping rubbish at Bournemouth beach.
Meanwhile, a thrillseeker brazenly ignored warning signs and barged threw a safety fence before flinging himself off the top of Durdle Door on the Dorset coast – just weeks after three men were seriously injured doing the same.
In Cornwall, an urgent warning was issued after five popular holiday beaches were swamped by raw sewage.
A woman died on the beach at Worthing in West Sussex, after desperate attempts to save her life were unsuccessful.
An air ambulance helicopter landed on the beach around noon after the woman suffered a "medical episode" according to police.
The Met Office raised its heat alert level to three and health authorities urged sun seekers to protect themselves amid the "exceptionally hot weather forecast this week".
Forecaster also warned people can get sunburnt in just 15 minutes.
Public Health England said older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children were all more at risk from the higher temperatures.
People have been advised to keep cool and stay hydrated where possible.
The UK faced its highest-ever UV levels due to the lack of pollution from planes.
Ultra-violet rays were expected to reach level nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said that UV levels would "reach eight across many places and would reach nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall".
He said: "That's about as high as it gets really in the UK. The sun is as strong as it gets at the moment because we're so close to the solstice.
"We've got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine – they're the perfect ingredients for high UV."
Emer O'Connell, consultant in public health at PHE, said it was important that people kept checking on the vulnerable, as many continued to spend more time at home due to coronavirus.
"You will need to do things differently this year, for example keeping in touch by phone," she said.
"If you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from hot weather, follow Government guidance on how to do this safely."
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