Millions of Britons are set to take advantage of the long weekend by getting on the road for a short break, with Met Office forecasters predicting 33C heat on Monday, smashing the 28.2C record. But bank holiday getaway travellers are being warned of a rising chance in car breakdowns due to the sizzling temperatures.
And Public Health England and the Met Office have put out health alerts for east and south-east England, where there is a 70 per cent chance of heatwave conditions between Saturday and Tuesday.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said with summer returning in time for the weekend those going out for day trips and short breaks should check their vehicle before setting out.
He said: “With summer returning in time for the weekend for many of us, it’s going to mean millions of us take to the road for day trips and short breaks.
“Unfortunately, as the temperature rises so can the chances of a breakdown – so it’s important drivers check over their vehicle before setting out.
“Tyre pressure and tread, as well as oil and coolant levels, should all be looked at and doing so can really cut the chances of breaking down.
“Hungry, thirsty or tired passengers can also be recipes for in-car irritability – and ‘carguments’ – so pack enough food and water to keep your passengers happy, and plan in enough breaks along the way.”
The Met Office have predicted the bank holiday heatwave could see record temperatures replace the wind and rain that has dogged August.
The news has triggered health alerts across some parts of the UK.
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A spokesman for Public Health England’s Heat Health Watch Service said: “High pressure will start to build over the south of England, allowing temperatures to gradually rise into the weekend, with the warmest temperatures in the south and east of England.
“Maximum temperatures on Saturday are likely to be near the threshold, but then a warm night is expected on Saturday night, with temperatures reaching thresholds from Saturday evening and onwards into the bank holiday weekend.
“Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease.”
From Friday, south-easterly winds will draw warm air from Europe towards the UK, bringing rising temperatures along with dry and settled weather.
And by Monday, temperatures may reach 33C (91.4F) – which would set a new record for the late bank holiday weekend.
Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “We’ve had a fairly wet and windy August so far, however that’s going to change this weekend as we see high temperatures, sunshine and light winds return.
“On Saturday and Sunday there’ll be plenty of sunshine across the country with temperatures reaching into the mid-20s Celsius for many – it’ll be warmest in south-eastern parts where 30C (86F) is possible.
“By bank holiday Monday itself temperatures will rise further with around 33 Celsius possible in the South East – which would set a new record for the coming bank holiday weekend.”
The highest record temperature for the late August bank holiday weekend is 31.5C (88.7F) at Heathrow Airport in 2001.
And the sunny spell could set a swathe of new records around the country, with the current hottest late summer bank holiday in Wales standing at 27.3C (81.1F) at Velindre, Powys, in 2013.
The Northern Ireland record is 27C (80.6F) recorded in Knockaraven, Co Fermanagh in 2003. Monday is not a bank holiday in Scotland.
Last month saw the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – with the mercury reaching 38.7C (101.7F) at Cambridge University Botanic Garden on July 25.
That exceeded the previous record of 38.5C (101.3F) set in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.
Public Health England said advice on how to reduce health risks in the heatwave can be found at NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/summerhealth , NHS 111 or from your local chemist.
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