UK weather – live: 'Unprecedented' heatwave sees sixth day above 34C for first time since 1961 as thunderstorm warnings remain in place

A historic heatwave has seen temperatures exceed 34C for the sixth day in a row for the first time since 1961.

The high temperatures have lasted well into the evening, creating “tropical nights” which are uncomfortable for many as temperatures do not fall below 20C as we sleep.

But in other parts of the country, heavy rainfall has already caused some flooding in Lancashire, where 10 properties were affected on Tuesday.

The Environment Agency said rainfall caused the Burrow Beck waterway in Scotforth, south Lancaster, to rise by nearly a metre in less than three hours.

Further heavy showers could cause more flooding in “mostly urban areas” of England until Friday, said the agency. Yellow thunderstorm warnings issued by the Met Office remain in place for all of England and the eastern half of Scotland.

A more serious amber warning was issued across much of England, Wales and parts of Scotland, which resulted in flash flooding amid warnings of possible building damage from lightning strikes and hailstones.

You can read how we covered the day’s events below:

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog on all things heatwave and thunderstorms in the UK today.

Thunderstorm warnings in place for most of UK

The Met Office’s thunderstorm warnings remained in place for most of the UK on Wednesday.

But the heatwave in central and southern England shows no sign of abating, and the storms will do little to temper the heatwave as highs in the low- to mid-30s are expected, reports Emily Goddard.

Flooding and travel disruption across central and eastern Scotland overnight

Flooding in Perth, Scotland (PA)
Homes and roads in Scotland have been flooded due to torrential rain overnight and on Wednesday morning.

Scotrail also reported services being disrupted as lightning strikes caused power outages.

(PA)
Perth and Kinross, the Lothians, Forth Valley and the north east experienced many lightning strikes and heavy downpour overnight.

More rainfall brought localised flooding in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on Wednesday morning.

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Roads flooded in Edinburgh as thunderstorm warnings remain in place

It’s #toohottosleep, complain Britons struggling with tropical nights

The hashtag #toohottosleep is trending on Twitter, as many in the UK struggled to get any shuteye last night.

The ongoing heatwave has led to tropical nights, which means the temperature does not drop below 20C at nighttime.

Unable to get comfortable, Britons turned to Twitter to join their comrades in sleepless, sweaty nights spent laying on top of the sheets.

Thankfully, our lifestyle reporter Sarah Young has some great tips for sleeping during a heatwave:

‘Where is this fabled rain?’ Londoners wonder

Londoners are wondering where the rain and thunderstorms are, after several days and nights of sweltering heat.

While some parts of the UK, especially Scotland and north west England, have been inundated with torrential downpours, temperatures in central and southern England continue to stay within heatwave conditions.

On Tuesday night, temperatures in London stayed above 20C for most of the night.

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Hey Siri, what are the best fans to buy right now?

Siri, Alexa and Google can’t save you from this heatwave, but Indybest can help.

Here is Kate Hilpern‘s list of the best fans to keep you cool:

Huge bolts of lightning spotted across England

Some parts of the country were treated to fantastic displays of lightning crackling across the skies on Tuesday night.
 

Lightning is seen over Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire (Reuters)
Lightning is seen over Mow Cop, Staffordshire (Reuters)

Flooding in hospital car park and landslip at caravan park in Fife

(PA)
Hospital staff at Queen Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy found their cars submerged in floodwaters after downpours overnight.

Some cars were carried away by the floodwaters and sustained damage.

NHS Fife chief executive Carol Potter thanked local businesses, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue for “working through the night” to help those affected.

(PA)

Elsewhere in Fife, a landslide at the Pettycur Bay Holiday Park prompted police to evacuate caravans there.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told The Courier that emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 11.35pm on Tuesday after a landslide blocked part of the railway line and closed the A921 between Kinghorn and Burntisland.

“Adverse weather conditions in the area of Pettycur Bay Caravan Park, Kinghorn, has caused a landslide,” they said.

“A number of properties on site have been evacuated as a safety precaution while emergency services can survey damage in the area. No one has been injured during this incident.”

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How much sunscreen do you need?

Heading out into the sun? Make sure you heed the advice of dermatologists on how much sunscreen you should apply to protect your skin.

Chelsea Ritschel spoke to dermatologists to find out:

Which sunscreen should you use?

Following our previous post, Sabrina Barr has the lowdown on what type of sunscreen you should use, and what are the differences between them all?
 

How to work from home in a heatwave

With many of us still working from home as the pandemic continues, we may long for the air conditioning some of us are lucky enough to have in the office.

People have turned to Twitter to ask others what they’re doing to make the heat more bearable and keep productivity levels up.

Short of parking yourself in front of an open fridge door, Louise Whitbread has picked a few things that will make working from home in a heatwave a more pleasant experience:

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Gardeners hopeful for rain after dry spell

The heavy rain forecast to hit England is good news for gardeners throughout the country, whose landscapes and borders rely on rainfall and harvested rainwater.

Assistant Head Gardener, Nick Delves at the National Trust’s Nymans Gardens in West Sussex, where the forecast of rain is good news for the gardeners (PA)
(PA)
(PA)

Can you leave work in a heatwave?

As the temperatures climb, you may be wondering if you are allowed to leave work if conditions become unbearable in your workplace.

As employers have a legal obligation to ensure temperatures in the workplace are “reasonable”, you should know your rights.

Sabrina Barr outlines what you need to know:

‘Terrible weather’ at same time as train derailment at Stonehaven, says MP

Flooding in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire in Scotland, where a nearby train is reported to have derailed (PA)
Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said the town of Stonehaven has been hit by flooding after heavy rain fell overnight and caused the River Carron to burst its banks.

He had been in the town surveying the flood damage earlier on Wednesday when news of a ScotRail train that derailed near Stonehaven broke.

Serious injuries were reported after emergency services as well as fire crews and police responded to the incident on Wednesday morning.

Mr Bowie said: “The situation was really bad this morning, the River Carron, the main river which flows through [Stonehaven], had burst its banks and the heavy rain had caused flooding in the centre of Stonehaven and lots of the side streets leading off it.

“Luckily, the water receded incredibly quickly and the river has peaked and is going down.

“Obviously none of us expected there to be such a serious incident as a rail derailment at the same time, but it just goes to show how damaging the bad weather can be.”

He added: “I don’t think speculation is helpful at this stage. We obviously don’t know why the derailment took place, but obviously we have suffered terrible weather here.”

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Could a heatwave kill off coronavirus?

Reports during the early stages of the pandemic said warmer climates may see fewer cases and it was hoped the summer heat would reduce the risk of spreading or catching the coronavirus.

But whether or not a heatwave could kill off or slow Covid-19 remains to be seen.

Sabrina Barr reports:

Best paddling pools for kids in a heatwave

Keep kids cool and entertained on hot afternoons with these fun inflatable paddling pools. You probably would not be able to resist a paddle yourself.
 

Drivers warned of delays on road due to flooding

Motoring association AA has warned drivers to be aware of standing water on roads causing delays and slippery surfaces.

Ben Sheridan, a spokesperson for AA, told the PA news agency: “Rain, thunder and lightning combined with the hot weather will make for some challenging driving conditions.

“Don’t be misled by the sunshine – if you ignore flood warning signs, there’s a real risk of aquaplaning or causing serious damage to your car.

“Drivers need to be wary of slippery road surfaces when approaching junctions and roundabouts.

“When it first rains during dry periods, build-up of deposits such as oil and rubber on the road which haven’t been washed away makes the road surface greasy and harder to stop on.”

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What is heatstroke and how can it be treated?

The high temperatures could put vulnerable people at risk of heatstroke, particularly if they are dehydrated.

Find out what the symptoms of heatstroke are and how it can be treated:

Lightning strikes Scotland and northern England during dramatic thunderstorm

Watch below:


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