Heatwave predicted with temperatures set to hit 32C at start of new school term

Temperatures could soar to 32C this week with a heatwave just as pupils across the country are returning to the classroom for the start of the new school year.

Forecasters are predicting a “last dose of summer”, with warm spells reaching 30C on Tuesday in southern areas of England, and 32C on Wednesday and Thursday in central and southern England.

The news will be welcomed by many Britons underwhelmed by one of the wettest July months on record, followed by a mixed bag of sunshine and rain in August.

Autumn weather September 3rd 2023
People enjoying the warm weather in Hyde Park in central London on Sunday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

But thousands of children in England and Wales will be back in uniform and returning to school this week as their six-week break comes to an end.

Beachgoers made the most of the warm weather on Sunday, enjoying the first weekend in September on the sands at Boscombe in Dorset, while people in London’s Hyde Park relaxed in deckchairs in the 26C sunshine.

Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said: “The last time we hit 30C in the UK was on July 7 so almost two months ago and 32C was all the way back to the end June.

“It is a late dose of summer but unfortunately not everyone might be able to make the most of it with school activities.

“Hopefully, for many it will just brighten things up a bit and people won’t be as disappointed with 2023 overall.”

Autumn weather September 3rd 2023
The boating late in Hyde Park in central London on the first weekend in September (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Vautrey warned of the health risks to the vulnerable, stressing the temperatures will be 10C above average for September.

He urged people to stay hydrated and use sunscreen, with UV levels being moderate to high.

“It does bring health risks to people who are vulnerable,” he added.

For the warm spell to be registered as an official heatwave, temperatures need to remain high for three days, with thresholds of 25C or higher, or in warmer regions, 28C or more, according to the Met Office.

Autumn weather September 3rd 2023
Visitors explore the sunflower fields at Becketts Farm in Wythall, south of Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

The change in weather is due to a flow of warm air between a high pressure area in continental Europe and low pressure in the Atlantic.

Mr Vautrey said the heat will affect southern England including London, with the highest temperatures on Tuesday expected to be seen in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the Bristol Channel, and then, later in the week, in Berkshire and southern areas of the Midlands.

Temperatures are expected to reach 29C in the south of England and 28C in Wales on Monday.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, where pupils are already back at school, temperatures could be around 25C in Scotland on Monday, and 23C in Northern Ireland.