The Extreme heat warning is in place until Sunday and covers much of the southern half of England as well as parts of eastern Wales, highlighting the potential impacts these levels of heat can have on health, transport and infrastructure.

Thanks to the influence of high pressure positioned over the UK the heat will continue to build through the rest of week, peaking over the weekend. Although we will see the mid-30s Celsius, especially within the warning area, temperatures are not expected to be as extreme as those experienced in July when new national records were set.

Heatwave criteria is being met, with temperatures widely into the high 20s Celsius low 30s Celsius across England. Scotland and Northern Ireland could reach official heatwave criteria by Saturday.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “Persistent high pressure over the UK means temperatures have been rising day-on-day through this week and it is important people plan for the heat. Temperatures are expected to peak at 35C on Friday and possibly 36C over the weekend.

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“We will also see increasingly warm nights, with temperatures expected not to drop below the low 20s Celsius for some places in the south.”

“Temperatures will drop early next week as the weather becomes more changeable. Heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely in some areas, but there is low confidence in the details at this time and it is impossible to say yet exactly where and when they will occur”.

Mark Hardingham, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) said “The increase in temperatures has seen fire services respond to a large number of fire and water rescue incidents. Many are preventable so we are asking the public to take steps to ensure they are keeping themselves and their communities safe.

“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.

“Rivers, lakes and other water can still be very cold even in this hot weather. Jumping in for a swim can lead to cold water shock and accidental drowning, regardless of swimming ability. Unfortunately, this year we have seen a number of fatalities.

“If you see a fire in the open, even a small one, or someone in trouble in the water call 999 and ask for the fire service so we can respond quickly, but we urge people to help us prevent incidents, so we all remain safe. ”

•  Heat-health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency