Who needs a foreign holiday? Beaches are packed again as temperatures soar past 91F today on hottest day of year and Brits prepare for ‘Freedom Day’
- Sun seekers have been flocking to the nation’s beaches as the country prepares to bask in highs of 91F
- Temperatures set to climb to 86F in Cardiff, 89.6F in London and a scorching 91.4F in the south of the UK
- Comes as Ballywatticock in County Down, Northern Ireland, saw temperature soar to 88.2F (31.2C) yesterday
- Sunshine to last until so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday – day when last of the restrictions due to be lifted
Tens of thousands of sun-starved Britons descended upon the nation’s beaches and parks today as the country basked in temperatures of up to 89F making it the hottest day of the year.
As a wet and windy week came to an end, families packed out the country’s beaches to enjoy the clear skies and scorching sunshine.
The Met Office confirmed Sunday is officially the new hottest day of the year so far in both England and Wales, with both countries recording temperatures higher than 86F.
According to the Met Office, the mercury reached 88.9F at Heathrow and 30.2C 86.4F in Cardiff.
In Bournemouth, sun-seekers flocked to the beach this morning to enjoy the warm weather while others poured onto Branksome beach in Poole, Dorset, to take in the sea air.
Meanwhile in Weymouth, scores of visitors were seen flocking to the beach as mercury levels continued to soar.
Elsewhere, the authorities were forced to block access to Durdle Door and the Sandbanks Peninsula as hundreds flocked to the beauty spots in Dorset.
In a tweet Travel Dorset said: ‘Access road to Durdle Door will be closed shortly due to car parks at full capacity. Please avoid the area.’
Elsewhere, roads around the south coast were congested this afternoon as families made their way home after spending the day at the beach.
It comes as Northern Ireland saw its highest temperature on record yesterday, with Ballywatticock in County Down getting to 88.2F (31.2C), beating the previous high of 87.4F (30.8C) reached on both July 12, 1983 and June 30, 1976.
The sizzling weather, driven by a blast of warm air coming in from the Azores in the North Atlantic, has prompted health officials to issue warnings about the dangers of extreme heat and high UV ray levels – especially to the elderly and vulnerable.
The sweltering heat is due to last until the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday, the day when the last of the restrictions are due to be lifted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Northern Ireland experienced its hottest day ever on Saturday afternoon with 88.2F (31.2C) recorded in Ballywatticock, in County Down, beating the previous highest temperature which was reached on July 12, 1983 and June 30, 1976.
All four nations recorded their highest temperature for the year so far on Saturday, with 86.5F (30.3C) recorded in Coton In The Elms, Derbyshire, 85.28F (29.6C) reached in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales and 82.76F (28.2C) in Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland.
A Met Office spokesperson said: ‘We are expecting temperatures to continue on the high side right through until Thursday, although the day-to-day detail will change and there is a tendency for the highest maximum temperatures to migrate west.
‘So, we are expecting Monday and Tuesday for the maximum temperatures to be in the South West and in South Wales, and then later in the week temperatures climbing across Northern Ireland and the North West.’
Meanwhile, in Greater Manchester, a huge emergency service operation is underway after reports a missing 19-year-old man was struggling in Salford Quay.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘At about 4.40pm on Sunday 18 July, officers were called over concerns for a man in the water at Salford Quays.
‘North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are also in attendance and the scene is ongoing.’
Pictures from the scene show police, ambulance and fire crews working to find the struggling swimmer.
A statement from the fire service said: ‘At 4.35pm we received the first of several 999 calls in relation to a person needing to be rescued from water in Salford Quays.
‘We have been searching the water for more than 30 minutes using fire service boats, divers and under water cameras – but we have not yet found the person.
‘We continue to search the water supported by colleagues from Greater Manchester Poliec and North West Ambulance Service.’
In Wales, a cricket player collapsed and died on the field after suffering a suspected heart attack during the heatwave.
Maqsood Anwar, 45, fell ill while bowling in the 80.6F (27C) weather on Saturday and believed he was suffering heat stroke before he collapsed.
Maqsood’s team Sully Centurions dialled 999 but the father-of-two, known as ‘Max’, could not be revived at the sports ground near Barry, South Wales.
The match against Monkswood CC was abandoned following the tragedy and friends have called for grassroots sports grounds across the UK to be fitted with defibrillators.
Friend Zia Gelhan said: ‘Max bowled four overs, got a bit of pain in his chest and said he didn’t feel well – he thought he had heat stroke and an ambulance was called.
‘Then he collapsed, if he had known the symptoms it would have been different.
‘Maqsood was one of the tallest and friendliest of men – he didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, he was just one of the kindest of men.
‘The ambulance was there and they confirmed it was a heart attack, they tried to revive him but if was too late.
‘He passed away doing what he loved doing – playing cricket. If only Max knew what was happening but it would be two thumbs up and ‘I’m fine, just give me water.’
‘There should be a defibrillator on site, they could have had the machine on him. If clubs can afford covers this should be funded too.’
Nathan Baker said: ‘I think it’s now time for all sporting venues to be provided with defibrillators! A true gentleman was taken away far too soon today at cricket, a man who I had the pleasure to call a friend. RIP Maqsood Anwar.
Sully Centurions said: ‘Sully Centurions Cricket Club is mourning the passing of one of our players yesterday afternoon.
‘Both the family and members of the club are grieving and we would ask all to respect their privacy at this difficult time.’
It also comes just days after Londoners were left battling ‘biblical storms’ as flash floods hit the capital this week and left a trail of destruction across the city, with rescue teams evacuating properties amid fears of collapsing ceilings and several tube stations forced to close.
As the summer heatwave continues 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.’
Yesterday in England, 86.5F was recorded in Coton In The Elms, Derbyshire, surpassing the 85.4F recorded in south-west London on June 14.
The year’s highest temperatures so far were also recorded in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales, at 85.2F, and in Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland, at 82.7F.
The heat yesterday beat the previous 2021 high of 85.5F (29.7C) which had stood for more than a month after being set on June 14 in Teddington, South West London.
On Saturday, thousands descended upon a seaside in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, as temperatures soared to 87.2F.
Hundreds of drivers were stuck in hour-long queues the M5 towards the South West from Bristol as holidaymakers rushed to enjoy the three-day heatwave.
Bournemouth also saw slow moving traffic jams as thousands of people flocked to the city’s beaches.
The M11 saw hours of standstill traffic build up after a fatal accident forced the closure of both sides of the motorway between junction eight for Bishop’s Stortford and junction nine for Newmarket.
On Saturday, a woman died during an incident on Croyde beach in Devon after being pulled from the sea shortly after 10.30am.
Croyde RNLI Lifeguards, Croyde, Ilfracombe and Mortehoe and the South West Ambulance Service were called to the scene but later confirmed the person had died.
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘A body was located in the water. Non-suspicious circumstances.’
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said the weather may take people by surprise ‘because so far this summer has not been that great’.
He added: ‘Temperatures have generally been below average for quite a while – it’s the difference in temperature in such a short space of time that is the most noticeable.’
Mr Partridge continued: ‘But it will affect most of the UK and that is a little bit more unusual – Scotland and Northern Ireland just got their warmest day of the year.
‘Northern Ireland might get closer to its highest-ever temperature, which to be fair is only just above 30C.’
It came as hundreds of revellers were seen taking to the streets of Soho in London, Manchester and Leeds to enjoy a night out on Saturday.
The RNLI – which provides the mostly paid lifeguards across the UK – is predicting this summer will be the busiest ever with up to 30million visitors heading to the beach – a rise of 36 per cent.
Gareth Morrison, RNLI’s Head of Water Safety, said: ‘We are expecting this summer to be the busiest ever for our lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews.
‘RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.
‘Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.’
In Brighton and Hove dozens of lifeguards have been recruited and trained in preparation for the summer holidays.
One lifeguard said: ‘It’s going to be a very busy summer and we’re taking on many more so we can cope.’
They have also built elevated look-out towers to give lifeguards a clear view of the sea over crowds of sunbathers.
The towers allow the lifeguards to monitor the beaches and bathing areas without coming into contact with people on the packed beaches.
Claire Hughes of HM Coastguard, said: ‘2020 was an exceptionally busy year and we’re expecting more people to take their holidays around our wonderful coasts this summer.’
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Council said: ‘The reason we have had to employ more lifeguards than usual this year is to be able to operate and provide emergency response in a Covid-safe way.
‘Rescues require a different approach to minimise the risk to the rescuer and casualty. So this means we need more staff on each post to facilitate this.’
‘The towers also allow the lifeguards to keep a safe distance from the public when the beaches are filling up. This is important during the pandemic for staff safety.’
A survey commissioned by the RNLI found record numbers of holidaymakers aged between 16-64 expect to visit a UK beach or the coast between April and September.
Last summer, RNLI lifeguards recorded more than 15million visitors on the beaches the lifesaving charity was patrolling on.
In 2020, RNLI lifeguards saved 110 lives, aided 25,172 people – including 1,908 involving bodyboards and 348 with inflatables – responded to 10,687 incidents and made more than 2.2million preventative actions.