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The warning comes ahead of temperatures rocketing into the high 30Cs with baking, rainless sunshine forecast beyond mid-month. Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services and expert in weather safety and impacts, said: “It will turn very hot through the coming days, and there is still no sign of rain where it is most needed.
“This brings the real risk that the country is facing a week of dust and wildfires.
“If winds pick up at any point during the heatwave, we could see some dangerous wildfires.
“Across southern Britain, for the next week at least, there is no sign of any significant rainfall to east this situation.”
Temperatures this week could be among the highest seen in the UK during August for more than a century.
Highs of 35C or above are forecast through the end of the week and into the weekend.
A raft of daily records is under threat, including the current maximum of 35.6C for August 13, recorded at Salisbury-Wilton House, Wiltshire, in 1911; 35C recorded on August 14, 1876, at Cambridge Observatory; 33.6C recorded at Stratfield Turgis, Hampshire, on August 15,1876, and 33.9C captured in Southampton, on August 16, 1947.
Weather models show temperatures hitting 36C across southern Britain by the end of the week with 20C to 30C forecast across Scotland and northern England.
Meteorologist Marco Petagna said: “[It is] Worth just keeping an eye on some of the mid-August UK daily maximum temperature records as we head through the next couple of weeks.”
Heat spreads northwards on Saturday with 35C showing in the charts across southern and central Britain.
Sunday could again hit 36C in southern and southwestern Britain with widespread highs across England between 30C and 35C.
The northern tip of Scotland will dodge the worst of the heatwave and is more likely to see showers, forecasters say.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat across southern and central England between Thursday and Sunday.
It is the second to be issued this summer, the first during last month’s historic heatwave when thermometers surged to 40.3C.
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Dan Rudman said: “Thanks to persistent high pressure over the UK, temperatures will be rising day-on-day through this week and an Extreme heat warning has been issued.
“Temperatures are expected to peak at 35C on Friday and Saturday, or even an isolated 36C on Saturday.
“Elsewhere will see temperatures widely into the high 20Cs and low 30Cs.
“Coupled with the high daytime temperatures there will be some warm nights, with temperatures expected not to drop below the low 20Cs for some areas in the south.”
As temperatures rise, experts have warned Britons to avoid excess alcohol and stay out of direct sunlight.
Runners and keep-fitters should exercise during cooler periods of the day and drink plenty of water.
Health and wellness coach Ryan French, founder of Military Outdoor Fitness (MOFit), based in Blackheath, London, said: “Keeping hydrated is key to safely exercising during very high temperatures, so it is important to drink around three to five litres a day.
“Also, avoid direct sunshine and if you exercise outdoors, aim to do this early before it gets too hot.”
High pressure will compress air as it heats under blazing sunshine forcing it to warm into the high-30Cs, according to some forecasters.
Exacta Weather’s James Madden said: “Most sources show maximum temps just below the mid-30Cs as the week progresses.
“However, there is a good chance maximum temperatures could exceed the mid-30Cs as high pressure compresses the heat.”
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