Many Britons are basking in sunshine with temperatures soaring to over 32C as the UK recorded the hottest day of the year so far for the third day in a row.
The Met Office said the mercury reached 32.4C (90F) at Heathrow just after midday on Friday, and could climb still further to 34C (93F) for parts of the South East, where the Met Office predicts there could be “the hottest Royal Ascot on record” in Berkshire.
The temperature record for the year has been broken for the third consecutive day, with the previous high of 29.5C (85.1F) recorded at Northolt in west London on Thursday, which surpassed the high of 28.2C (82.76F) recorded at Kew Gardens on Wednesday.
The Met Office pointed out a marked difference in temperature further north though, with Glasgow recording a temperature of 13.7C by the same point.
Although some in Wales are also enjoying sweltering heat as Cardiff recorded 28.4C (83F), it is a similar picture in Northern Ireland with the warmest temperature recorded hovering at 17.5C (63F) in Glennane, County Amargh.
As the mercury soared in England, heat-health alerts were issued for parts of the nation, and Network Rail warned services could be disrupted by the warm weather.
Stephen Dixon, spokesman for the Met Office, said: “One thing we are keeping an eye on is Royal Ascot.
“The highest maximum temperature we’ve had on a day is 32.8 degrees, which is taken from a nearby station in Reading near Royal Ascot.”
That temperature was recorded on June 21 2017.
He added: “It’s looking like it could be around 31 degrees in Reading today, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it perhaps rising into 32, and then obviously getting closer to that record, but it’s something that might be quite close to being the hottest Royal Ascot on record.”
Predicted high temperatures have meant men in all enclosures at Ascot were allowed to remove their jackets and ties once the traditional royal carriage procession had ended.
The UK Health Security Agency has issued a Level 3 heat-health alert for London, the East of England and the South East in order to protect health services.
Agostinho Sousa of the UKHSA told BBC Breakfast that the alert “is to inform our partners that they should prepare their services for possible increases in demand due to increases in temperatures.
“We also have a Level 2 that is currently active in the South West and East of England that is to inform our partners that they should prepare their services in case they need to enter into action in case we see an increase in temperatures.
“Right now the situation is stable, and we expect the temperatures to drop tomorrow.”
Network Rail warned services may experience delays and disruption on Friday because of the heat, which can cause overhead wires to sag and the steel rails to buckle, and advises citizens to check before they travel.
“We can’t change the weather, but it can change your plans,” the organisation said on its website.
Sun worshippers may not have long left to enjoy the balmy weather.
Mr Dixon said the heatwave is due to end shortly, as a cold front coming in from the North will bring with it “a drop in temperatures” and “a spell of some rain through the day on Saturday for much of central England and Wales”.
But those still hoping to chase the sun as the heatwave comes to an end can expect hot temperatures to remain on the south coast.
“The far south coast of England will hold on to the highest temperatures the longest, possibly up to 31 degrees across some of that far southern coast of England tomorrow,” Mr Dixon added.
Coral Bookmakers have slashed the odds to 1-2 (from evens) on this month ending as the hottest June on record in the UK.
The highest recorded June temperature in the UK was 35.6C (95F) at Southampton Mayflower Park in June 1976, and forecasters do not expect the record to be surpassed this week.