Hottest day of the year officially declared as temperatures hit 31C

Wednesday is officially the hottest day of the year so far in the UK after temperatures rose to 31C.

The new high was recorded at London’s Heathrow Airport, the Met Office confirmed.

The previous record was 28.2C and was set in Suffolk on 20 May.

The Met Office has issued a hot weather warning as the temperature soars.

It raised the level to 3 on Wednesday as health authorities encouraged the most vulnerable – many of whom have been shielding during the coronavirus lockdown – to protect themselves amid the “exceptionally hot weather forecast this week”.

Read more: Hand sanitiser left in cars during heatwave may burst into flames, warn rescuers

Wednesday is the hottest day of the year so far. (Getty)

The hot weather and the prospect of further easing of lockdown restrictions meant plenty of people were out enjoying the conditions as the June heatwave continued.

Social distancing was still in evidence, however, as people enjoyed the sunny conditions on beaches, in parks and near rivers,.

Public Health England (PHE) said older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children were all more at risk from the higher temperatures.

The amber level 3, which is currently in place for the West and East Midlands, requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups, according to the Met Office website.

People have been advised to keep cool and stay hydrated where possible.

Read more: Pubs 'should be shut down' if they are linked to small coronavirus outbreaks

Visitors enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Weymouth (Picture: Getty)

The mercury is expected to hit the low-30s in the south of England before Friday and warnings have been issued about UV levels, which are going to be “exceptionally high” over the next few days.

Emer O’Connell, consultant in public health at PHE, said it was important for people to keep checking on the vulnerable, as many continue to spend more time at home due to coronavirus.

“You will need to do things differently this year, for example keeping in touch by phone,” she said.

“If you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from hot weather, follow government guidance on how to do this safely.

“The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and know how to keep their homes cool.”

The heatwave will continue until the end of the week. (Getty Images)

Shoppers have been advised to be aware they could be forced to spend extra time in the sun as a result of social distancing measures.

Drivers have also been urged to remove hand sanitiser from their cars during the heatwave as it could set their vehicle on fire.

Surrey Fire and Rescue said alcohol-based gels may become heated when temperatures rise over the next few days and result in “flammable vapours being released”.

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