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The Met Office has issued a thunderstorm warning as swathes of England and Wales brace for severe weather following sizzling heat.
As much as 2ins of rain could fall in some places in a span of just two to three hours, while hail, frequent lightning and strong gusty winds are among the other threats.
The warning area covers most of England save for parts of the north and South West, and much of southern, central and eastern Wales between 6pm on Wednesday and 6am on Friday.
The Met Office warned there is a small chance that some communities become cut off by flooded roads, or homes and businesses could be flooded quickly.
The thunderstorm warning will be in effect from 6pm on Wednesday to 6am on Friday
(Image: Met Office)
Other risks include power cuts, hazardous driving conditions and damage caused by lightning strikes, hail or strong winds,
The Met Office said: "Although there remains significant uncertainty in location and timing, areas of thunderstorms are expected to move northeast across parts of England and Wales from late Wednesday through to Friday morning.
"Whilst not all locations will be affected, some intense thunderstorms may occur during this period with torrential rain, hail, frequent lightning and strong gusty winds possible.
A woman tries to shield herself from heavy rain during a storm last summer
"Rainfall totals of around 30mm could fall in an hour, with some locations potentially receiving around 50mm in 2-3 hours, although these will be fairly isolated."
Temperatures will be about 10 degrees cooler later in the week, though normal for this time of year, as they return to the low 20s in the south of the UK and the mid teens in north.
Which areas are included in the warning?
The following areas are included in the warning, as of 11am on Sunday.
London and South East England: Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Greater London, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Medway, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton, Surrey, West Berkshire, West Sussex, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Wokingham.
South West England: Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Plymouth, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire.
East: Bedford, Cambridgeshire, Central, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea, Suffolk and Thurrock.
East Midlands: Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.
West Midlands: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford and Wrekin, Warwickshire, West Midlands Conurbation and Worcestershire.
Yorkshire and Humber: East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and York.
North East England: Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees.
North West England: Blackburn with Darwen, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Greater Manchester, Halton, Lancashire, Merseyside and Warrington.
Wales: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Flintshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.
UK set for hottest day of year
People enjoy the recent hot weather at Brighton beach in East Sussex
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)
The UK could see the hottest day of the year so far on Sunday as temperatures are expected to continue to climb to almost 30C.
If the mercury climbs above 28.3C it will make it the hottest day of 2021 so far as well as the hottest June 13 on record, said meteorologist Alex Burkill.
The hottest temperature recorded so far this year was 28.3C (82.94F) in Northolt, north-west London, on June 2.
Mr Burkill said 29C or 30C is also expected on Monday.
He added: “The top temperatures are going to be towards the London area, but the heat is going to be widespread, it’s not just confined to the South East.”
But Mr Burkill said that while most of the country will have a hot day, the north-west of Scotland will have temperatures in the high teens and it will be cloudier with some outbreaks of rain.
Into Monday, he said the weather will split, with the south continuing to see hot temperatures while the north will be cooler.
Mr Burkill added: “We are going to have more of a north-south split.
“On Monday the heat is going to be largely confined to southern and south-eastern parts of the UK.
“Further north and in Scotland it will be high teens at best. There could be some showers but on the whole it is looking largely dry.”
It will stay warm in many places until the weather takes a turn for the worse on Wednesday, as rain moves in and temperatures begin to return closer to normal.