Roasting temperatures blamed for spike in death rates as heatwave continues to bake South-East
Britain faced more sweltering temperatures today amid health warnings about the heatwave gripping the South-East.
The hottest temperature today was reached in Norfolk and some other parts of East Anglia at 31C. The hottest day of the year so far was on Friday when 31.7C was recorded in Gravesend, Kent.
Temperatures hovered around 20C in London and in the high teens in large towns and cities overnight - with many suffering an uncomfortable and restless sleep.
Golden brown: A sunbather on a dry, drought-scorched Wimbledon Common enjoys one of the hottest days of the year so far
An official heat-health alert remained in place with reminders the roasting weather posed a risk to the elderly and vulnerable.
The Health Protection Agency said there had been a rise in deaths over the past two weeks, according to its analysis of government data on death rates.
Albert Jones, managing director of the Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, said: "Although the weather is lovely, it is a bit too hot for us. We have got the sea breeze so it is bearable but it is exceptional for this time of year."
Norfolk Police had to give out bottled water to motorists caught up in a two-and-a-half mile traffic jam after a six-car crash this afternoon.
A spokeswoman said one person died in the collision on the A47 near to Norwich, which also involved a lorry.
On the water: Visitors to Hyde Park take advantage of the warm weather by swimming and boating at the Serpentine. More warm weather is predicted for today, tonight and tomorrow
Preliminary figures show that hundreds more people may have died as a result of the hot weather - which shows no signs of abating.
'Younger people see the hot weather as a cause for celebration, but for older people and those with long-term health problems it can be serious and cause unnecessary deaths,' Yvonne Doyle, the Government's heath-wave advisor, told the Times.
'If you have elderly neighbours or relatives, check on them and make sure they're prepared and can manage.'
Scorcher: Big Brother housemates enjoy using the swimming pool to cool off
Parts of the South-East are expected to see maximums of at least 31C today before dropping to 28C tomorrow.
It is expected to become more humid as the weekend continues, which will make it feel a bit more uncomfortable.
all of the UK has been blanketed in sun however, as the North and
North-West have seen an influx of rain - even though some parts of the
region have seen the introduction of a hose-pipe ban this weekend.
Shimmering in the heat: A street entertainer makes giant bubbles against the backdrop of the Houses of Parliament. A heat-health alert was issued Friday as parts Britain faced several days of sweltering conditions
Three men and a beach: Early morning sunbathers soak up the sun in Brighton
The annual T in the Park festival in Kinross-shire, Scotland, was hit by a deluge of rain last night as festival-goers were warned to expect 'welly weather'. Heavy rainfalls have been predicted for the rest of the day, tonight and tomorrow.
Previously the highest temperature reached this year was 30.9C (87.6F) in Gravesend on June 27.
Heat can be particularly dangerous for the elderly, young children and those with serious illnesses.
In London participants in the Big World Dance performed a choreographed routine along a pre-arranged route through the capital.
The throng of dancers finished the procession in Trafalgar Square, where DJ Walde played a specially created soundtrack.
Participants in the T-Mobile Big World Dance 2010 sweat in Trafalgar Square earlier today
Organisers said the event transformed London into "a giant open air stage". Dancers were taught the routine, directed by Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Protein Dance, at free workshops across the city.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "The past week has once again underlined the extraordinary power of dance.
"With thousands upon thousands of Londoners - of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities - taking part, Big Dance has been a foot-stomping, toe-tapping, high kicking triumph."
The dance was the climax of the nine-day T-Mobile Big Dance 2010 event. The programme has featured more than 850 dance events, including Tea Dances in Trafalgar Square.
Cooling down: An adult and baby meerkat tuck into a summery treat at ZSL London Zoo. The Met Office has predicted temperatures as high as 31C today
Soaked: Not everywhere in the UK has been roasting in sunshine, festival-goers at T in the Park, in Kinross-shire, Scotland, battled through mud today after rain hit the festival
Yvonne Doyle, regional director of
public health and heatwave adviser to the Government, said: 'Younger
people see the hot weather as a cause for celebration, tanning and
barbecues - but for older people and those with long-term health
problems it can be very serious and cause unnecessary deaths.
'If you have elderly neighbours or relatives, check on them and make sure they're prepared and can manage. Keep curtains and windows closed during the day, when the outside temperature is hotter than indoors.
'Plenty of cool drinks are important for everyone - water is best, and avoid excess alcohol or hot drinks.'
The Met Office's heat warning is level two on its four level warning scale. It relates to how likely temperatures are to exceed 'threshold' levels that trigger health concerns - typically 30C during the day and 15C at night.
It forecasts another warm night tonight, with the chance of showers in Essex and Kent. Another sunny, dry and hot day is forecast for tomorrow.
Meanwhile in Scotland... Spectators brave the rain at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Golf Club. While the south-east of England bakes in the heat, the north of the country, Scottland and Wales are being drenched
Breakdowns also increase in hot weather and the AA today reminded motorists to check their car's cooling system.
Steve Dewey, AA road operations director, said: 'For every degree above 23C there is a noticeable increase in our breakdown workload, so very warm weather like this can sometimes double it.
'Overheating is a big risk, especially if you encounter any slow-moving traffic.'
The AA is putting on extra patrols on routes to the coast and to major events like the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on Sunday.
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