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UK weather: Heatwave ends in thunderstorms after temperature falls short of record

The Independent logo The Independent 27/07/2018 Peter Stubley
Children enjoy the sun at Ilkley Lido in Yorkshire as the heatwave continues in parts of the UK. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Children enjoy the sun at Ilkley Lido in Yorkshire as the heatwave continues in parts of the UK. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Predictions that Britain could enjoy its hottest day on record were dashed on Friday as thunderstorms brought an end to the heatwave.

Forecasters said there was a 20 per cent chance of beating the all-time UK high of 38.5C in Faversham, Kent, in August 2013.

The Met Office also claimed there was a 50 per cent chance that Friday could top the previous hottest July day of 36.7C at Heathrow in 2015.

It appeared to concede defeat shortly before 5pm when it revealed that the highest provisional temperature of 34.7C was reached at Tibenham Airfield in Norfolk.

The hottest day of the year remains Thursday, with a high of 35.3C recorded at Faversham in Kent.

Thunderstorms broke out in the east of England on Friday afternoon as the amber warnings were issued for East Anglia, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber.

a group of people walking down a street holding an umbrella © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Forecasters warned of torrential downpours, large hail, lightning and strong gusty winds leading to flooding of homes and businesses.

“Fast flowing or deep floodwater is likely, causing danger to life,” the Met Office said.

In pictures: How this year's heatwave compares to the summer of 1976 (Provided by House Beautiful UK)


Thousands of rail passengers suffered severe disruption due to a lightning strike which damaged signalling equipment in York.

Trains between Leeds and York were unable to run for several hours on Friday, leading to dozens of cancellations on one of the busiest days of the year for travel as many people begin summer holidays.

BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  People relax and soak up the sun on the North Pier on the promenade on July 27, 2018 in Blackpool, England. The heatwave continues across the United Kingdom with media outlets describing today as 'Furnace Friday' after all time record temperatures were predicted by forecasters. The unusual weather pattern is causing traffic and transport delays and is set to bring storms to eastern areas overnight.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) © Getty BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 27: People relax and soak up the sun on the North Pier on the promenade on July 27, 2018 in Blackpool, England. The heatwave continues across the United Kingdom with media outlets describing today as 'Furnace Friday' after all time record temperatures were predicted by forecasters. The unusual weather pattern is causing traffic and transport delays and is set to bring storms to eastern areas overnight. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) – which operates between London King’s Cross and northern Scotland – urged customers to postpone their journeys until the weekend, while Northern advised against travel in the Yorkshire area.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail, the Government-owned company responsible for Britain’s rail infrastructure, said: “Due to today’s severe weather, there is currently widespread disruption to services.

“Teams from Network Rail have been, and continue to be, on standby this morning and are out responding to issues and are working hard to restore services where possible.”

Hailstones measuring more than an inch in diameter were spotted in Norfolk and the county’s fire and police services reported a surge in flood-related calls.

Others celebrated the arrival of rain after days of uninterrupted hot weather.

Authorities said the heatwave was putting extra strain on parts of the NHS, while many nursing unions said the high temperatures had left some of their members dizzy and exhausted.

Cooler temperatures are expected over the weekend, with most places seeing temperatures closer to average for the time of the year – around the high teens to low 20s.

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