Britain’s week of glorious sunshine came to a crushing end today as the south was battered by rain and hit with milder temperatures – ahead of another scorching weekend with 75F (24C) highs.
Yesterday marked the eighth day in a row that the mercury soared over the 70F (21C) mark somewhere in the UK – with Wednesday being the hottest day of the year so far.
Both Ladies Day at Epsom Racecourse and day three at Lords were washouts, with pictures showing dolled-up racegoers and suit-clad cricket fans clutching onto umbrellas as they made their way inside.
Some of the less all-weather prepared were forced to use empty goodie-bags to shield from the rain as they dashed along the tarmac at the races – while others had their umbrellas blown inside out with the increasing winds.
The M25 in Swanley, Kent, looked nearly impassible with heavy fog and persistent rain, meanwhile pictures taken in Brighton showed locals battling to traverse deep puddles.
Other areas, such as Wales and northern England, are expected to see ‘sunny spells’ and will remain ‘warm in sunshine’ throughout Friday, the forecast said.
The mercury is set to soar again this weekend, with the capital welcoming highs of 75F (24C) on Saturday and 74F (23C) on Sunday.
The recent spate of heat sending crowds of Britons flocking to the outdoors comes amid a spike in cases of the Indian ‘Delta’ Covid variant.
Today, ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson warned the Indian ‘Delta’ variant could be 100 per cent more infectious than the Kent one as official data showed it’s also twice as likely to put unvaccinated patients in hospital.
Both Ladies Day at Epsom Racecourse and day three at Lords were washouts, with pictures showing dolled-up racegoers and suit-clad cricket fans clutching onto umbrellas as they made their way inside
On Wednesday, temperatures peaked at 82.9F (28.3C) in Northolt, West
In contrast, Malaga in
Looking ahead, the Met Office forecast said this weekend will be ‘mostly fine and dry with sunny spells and only a few showers’ and temperatures will be ‘around or above average in light winds’ with chilly nights in some areas.
It added that next week, ‘temperatures will trend towards the warmer side of average’, while the following week from June 14 will see the mercury ‘remain average to warmer than average’ and the rest of June ‘average or above’.
However, the Met Office said parts of the UK will just miss out on an official heatwave despite temperatures remaining high. To meet the definition of a heatwave, areas must see three days in a row of high temperatures.
Three women struggled through the rain – with one using a scarf to protect her hair from the downpour
Not put off: It might have been raining but that didn’t stop many racegoers from ramping up the glamour
Love Island’s Francesca Allen put on an elegant display in a black and white floral patterned dress as she arrived with a friend as they prepared to kickstart the weekend celebrations in style
Staff arriving at Ladies Day at the start of the Epsom Derby Festival wore plastic ponchos as they battled through the rain
Day three at Lords was a washout today. Two spectators were seen sheltering under a bench before the game began
A woman with duck umbrella ran through the heavy rain in Brighton this morning
The M25 in Swanley, Kent, looked nearly impassible with heavy fog and persistent rain today
Cars were forced to drive slowly and carefully as they battled through thick fog and pouring rain in Swanley
Women were seen smiling during Ladies Day at Epsom Racecourse today. The event was cancelled last year due to Covid
A woman was seen sheltering under a jumper as she battled through the rain in Epsom today
A racegoer coordinated her umbrella with her outfit at Epsom today. She looked chic in a black and white ensemble
Strike a pose! Epsom racegoers didn’t let the rainy weather conditions stop them from putting on a glamorous display as they arrived at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey for Derby day. Pictured, front centre, British former professional boxer Nicola Adams’ girlfriend Ella Baig
Elaborate headwear was the order of the day for many, with oversized hats and flamboyant fascinators adorned with feathers, flowers and frills spotted in the enclosure
Glamorous female racegoers didn’t let the rainy weather conditions stop them from putting their best fashion foot forward as they arrived for Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey
Some braved the downpour in bare legs and open toe heels while trying desperately to keep their hair dry by taking cover underneath an umbrella
Racegoers may have opted for sunny outfits, but the weather was far from bright on the course today
From white dresses to skyscraper heels, revellers who attended Epsom’s ladies day didn’t let a touch of rain stop them from wearing their prepared outfits
Racegoers were all smiles as the heavens opened on Epsom racecourse during Ladies Day today
Spectators shield themselves from the rain ahead of day three of the first LV= Insurance Test match at Lord’s in London
Looking all white! Another glamorous reveller looked the picture of sophistication as she arrived in a cream embellished frock complete with matching feather fascinator
It’s a washout! One reveller refused to let the rainy weather conditions dampen her spirits as she battled with her umbrella against the wind
Britain’s week of glorious sunshine came to a crushing end today as the south (London, pictured) was battered by rain and hit with milder temperatures – ahead of another scorching weekend with 75F (24C) highs
But Britons should pack away the sun-cream for today at least as the Met Office predicts heavy rain for parts of the east and south east of England, including in the formerly-sweltering London (pictured)
The mercury is set to soar again this weekend, with the capital welcoming highs of 75F (24C) on Saturday and 74F (23C) on Sunday. Pictured: Rainy London today
On Wednesday, temperatures peaked at 82.9F (28.3C) in Northolt, West London – after hitting previous 2021 highs on Tuesday with 79F (26.1C) in Cardiff and 77.2F (25.1C) at Kinlochewe in the Highlands on bank holiday Monday. Pictured: Rainy London today
Looking ahead, the Met Office forecast said this weekend will be ‘mostly fine and dry with sunny spells and only a few showers’ and temperatures will be ‘around or above average in light winds’ with chilly nights in some areas. Pictured: Rainy London today
It added that next week, ‘temperatures will trend towards the warmer side of average’, while the following week from June 14 will see the mercury ‘remain average to warmer than average’ and the rest of June ‘average or above’. Pictured: Rainy London today
Lady in red! The ladies arriving for the races appeared intent on upholding Epsom’s long-standing reputation for glamour
Summer dreaming: Popular strappy dress styles allowed many women to flash a hint of skin without putting too much on display.
Glamour girls: This trio of ladies oozed style with their chic dresses and matching accessories
Chilly: A couple of ladies chose to brave the cold weather in bare legs and heels, even leaving warm coats at home
Watch the hair! Others took shelter beneath large hats but those wearing fascinators had no choice but to carry a brolly
Racegoers arriving for Ladies Day queued in the rain as they awaited to enter the enclosure for a day of festivities in the rain
Glamorous racegoers dressed for a heatwave were spotted traipsing through the wet and muddy grass as they made their way to the enclosure
These range from around 77F (25C) to 82F (28C) – depending on location. Although temperatures around the country are expected to stay in the high-70Fs (mid-20Cs) today, most places will not ‘tick the box’ for a heatwave.
It comes as temperature records for the year were smashed on Wednesday with the high in the capital, while parts of Surrey and Kent also saw temperatures of between 81F (27C) and 82F (28C).
The village of Hawarden in Flintshire reached 79.9F (26.5C) to become Wales’ own warmest day of the year.
Scotland also recorded its hottest days of 2021 with Achnagart reaching 75.9F (25.4C).
And the 73.9F (23.3C) in Ballywatticock, Northern Ireland, matched its previous warmest day of the year.
The warm weather has been a welcome break for people following a washout May, which brought heavy downpours and prolonged spells of rain for much of the UK – but it is ‘unlikely’ to be an official heatwave, according to the Met Office.
YESTERDAY: Holidaymakers and sunbathers flock to the beach to enjoy the sunshine at the Dorset seaside resort of Lyme Regis
YESTERDAY: Tourists enjoy the good weather on a City Cruises boat on the River Thames in London
YESTERDAY: Ziggy Starkey, aged 16 months, swims with his mother Clem Malpas at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park
Its meteorologist Steven Keates said: ‘We define a heatwave depending on three consecutive days meeting certain temperature thresholds and it depends where you are in the UK – it ranges from about 25 to 28 degrees.
‘My suspicion is that a handful of places will come close to meeting the thresholds but not many will tick the box for a heatwave. I think it’s going to be a bit of a near miss for most places.
‘It’s been a lovely warm spell but if we’re using the strict criteria we use to measure it then I don’t think anywhere is going to quite get it this time.’
He added: ‘Nonetheless we’re going to see several very warm days up and down the country which will be welcome for a lot of people after what has been a pretty cool, damp, disappointing May.
Professor Ferguson – a senior SAGE modeller dubbed Professor Lockdown for his terrifying death predictions that prompted the first shutdown last March – today warned the emerging evidence about the Indian ‘Delta’ variant was not positive ‘in any respect’.
He said the mutant Covid strain was between 30 and 100 per cent more virulent than the previously dominant Kent variant and that ‘a good central estimate’ would be 60 per cent.
A study published last night also suggested that the Pfizer vaccine works less well at preventing infections of the Indian version, with people given that jab producing fewer antibodies targeting the virus compared to other strains.
Public Health England for the first time last night confirmed the new variant was dominant in the UK, replacing the Kent version. And Britain’s daily infections also rose above 5,000 yesterday for the first time since the country was still in lockdown in late March, with cases of the Indian variant doubling every nine days.
Asked about whether the new evidence would put England’s June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ in jeopardy, Professor Ferguson said the data ‘is pointing in a more negative direction than it was last week.’
This Public Health England graph shows how the number of cases of the Indian variant (dark green line) has exploded since it was first found, spreading faster than any other strain did over the same time after its discovery
Britain’s daily infections also breached 5,000 yesterday for the first time since the country was still in lockdown in late March, with cases of the Indian variant doubling every nine days
There were also 18 more deaths recorded yesterday, which was up 80 per cent on the 10 the week before, and may have been higher than normal due to a reporting lag over the bank holiday weekend
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It points towards the direction of being cautious. I think balancing, clearly, people’s desire – and there clearly is a built-up desire to get back to normal – against the potential risk is a very difficult judgment call.’
But former Tory Chief Whip Mark Harper challenged the Prime Minister to push ahead with the final unlocking to prove Dominic Cummings wrong and show his Government is not an out-of-control ‘shopping trolley’. Mr Harper used the astonishing criticism levelled at Boris Johnson by his former top aide to put pressure on the PM not to delay.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said today there was ‘nothing at the moment’ to suggest the June 21 unlocking could not go ahead. But he added there were still another 10 days before the final decision is taken.
‘So during that period we’ll see where we are with hospitalisations, with deaths, where we are with the vaccine rollout — we’re doing everything we possibly can to expedite that — and then at that point, we’ll make our final decision,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Matt Hancock said yesterday it was a ‘good sign’ that vaccinated people were making up only a minority of hospital admissions.
The Health Secretary added the government is keeping a close eye on daily case levels but stressed what ‘really matters’ is how many people end up in hospital and die from the disease and how well the jabs keep numbers down.
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