Scorching temperatures were felt across Britain and Europe once again, following a Friday that saw the hottest August in 17 years.
The Met Office said temperatures had already reached 34.5C at in Kent early on Saturday afternoon, adding there was a chance it could reach up to 36C in the south east later in the day.
On Friday thousands flocked to the UK’s beaches including in Brighton, Bournemouth and Southend, with pictures showing hundreds of people packed on the sand despite warnings that social distancing guidelines should be respected.
Temperatures are expected to remain high until the middle of next week, but the Met Office has warned thunderstorms could be on the way for Monday and Tuesday.
On Saturday it issued a level three heat-level warning for the south and south east, meaning the public should look out particularly for the elderly, children and people in poor health.
Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, a public health consultant at Public Health England (PHE), said: “This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to Covid-19.
“A lot of homes can overheat, so it’s important we continue to check on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they’re living alone and may be socially isolated.”
Studies have shown that the vast majority of Covid-19 transmissions occurred indoors, while outdoor transmission was scarce.
The current record maximum temperature for the UK is 38.7C, set last year on July 25 in Cambridge Botanic Garden.
The record for the hottest August day is 38.5C, set at Faversham on August 10 2003.
Experts have warned record-breaking summers will “absolutely” keep happening unless we take “drastic” action against climate change.
Michael Byrne, lecturer in earth and environmental sciences at the University of St Andrews, said two near-record temperatures so closely spaced is “unusual”.
He told the PA news agency: “But it’s not surprising given climate change is happening and accelerating.
“Breaking temperature records year-on-year will absolutely keep happening, unless we take drastic action against climate change that’s a certainty.
“We think in 50-100 years we’ll see 2-3C of surface warming, with more over land and over the Arctic, which will present huge challenges and implications for people’s health.
“Parts of the Middle East won’t be habitable, which I find quite terrifying,” he added.
The 10 hottest years in the UK all occurred since 2002, according to the Met Office.
Ilan Kelman, professor of disasters and health at University College London, said rising temperatures will make it “highly dangerous” for people to be outside.
He said: “These temperatures are unfortunately in line with the expectations for heat under climate change, which is one of the most concerning health impacts.”
“Without stopping human-caused climate change, these levels of summer heat and humidity will become regular, making it highly dangerous for us to be outdoors and even indoors without continual cooling.
“Air pollution can also worsen under heat with its knock-on health effects, such as for cancer and asthma.”
Elderly people are considered the most vulnerable to hot weather, and have been advised to try to stay indoors during the afternoon and to take a bottle of water when they are out.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “We want older people to continue to enjoy the warm weather but, if it becomes uncomfortably hot, we advise some sensible precautions, particularly for anyone who has breathing problems or a heart condition.
“It’s a good idea to remain indoors during the worst of the heat during the day. It’s also advised to wear thin, light clothing, drink plenty of fluids and to eat normally, but perhaps more cold food than usual, particularly salads and fruit which contain a lot of water and help us stay hydrated.
“We know that extreme heat can aggravate lung and heart conditions so our advice is to take care and if you are breathless, even after you have rested, to seek medical advice.”