The Met Office has issued its first ever "extreme heat" warning as the scorching temperatures across the UK are set to remain for a number of days.
The warning – which is similar to those issued when heavy rain or snow is forecast – covers a large part of Wales, all of south-west England and parts of southern and central England, and will remain in force until the end of Thursday.
It is the first time the warning has been issued since the Met Office said last month that it would launch weather warnings for extreme heat after a record-breaking number of heatwave deaths were recorded in England last summer.
Temperatures are expected to reach 33C in some western areas later this week, with high 20s and low 30s expected elsewhere.
⚠️⚠️ Amber Weather Warning issued ⚠️⚠️
Extreme Heat across parts of South Wales, West Midlands, southern and southwestern England
Valid until 23:59 Thursday
This is the first ever Extreme Heat Warning issued#Heatwave
Latest info 👉 https://t.co/QwDLMfRBfs
Stay #WeatherAware pic.twitter.com/bTHUyFL6uL
— Met Office (@metoffice) July 19, 2021
Chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office, Steven Ramsdale, said: "The high temperatures are going to continue through a large part of this week. Many areas will continue to reach heatwave thresholds but the amber extreme heat warning focuses on western areas where the most unusually high temperatures are likely to persist.
"There’s a continuing risk of isolated thundery downpours late in the afternoons but most areas will stay dry until later in the week. Temperatures should begin to fall for most areas heading into the weekend, with some more unsettled conditions looking to develop."
What to expect and what should you do?
Why did the Met Office introduce new heat warning?
In a press release last month, the Met Office said: "The impacts of extreme heat can be many and varied. It can have health consequences, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable, and it can impact infrastructure, including transport and energy, as well as the wider business community.
"During hot weather we often see increased traffic near coastal areas, increased use of open water by the public, and an increase in wildfire risk.
"The Met Office launched a new Extreme Heat National Severe Weather Warning at the start of June 2021, with warnings to be issued based on the impacts of extreme heat. Amber and red warnings can now be issued to inform the public of potential widespread disruption and adverse health effects."