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Packed beaches and traffic jams as thousands flock to the coast amid heatwave

Written by on 08/08/2020

Thousands of people have once again flocked to the UK’s beaches to enjoy scorching temperatures, but there are further appeals to the public to avoid some of them due to coronavirus concerns.

Friday was the hottest day in August for 17 years, with the Met Office issuing health warnings as the mercury hit 36.4C (97.5F) at Heathrow and Kew Gardens in London.

But the record for the hottest day ever in August was set in Faversham, Kent, on 10 August 2003, when temperatures there reached 38.5C (101.3F).

A birds-eye view of people enjoying a day out at the beach in Bournemouth
Image: A birds-eye view of people enjoying a day out at the beach in Bournemouth
People have once again flocked to beaches in Bournemouth
Image: In many beaches in Bournemouth social distancing was not possible

The Coastguard said 70 callouts had been made across Britain by midday yesterday, and urged the public to stay safe as crowds gathered on beaches in the likes of Bournemouth, Margate and Brighton.

On Saturday, police in Bournemouth said “nearly all of the beaches” were on red, meaning “safe social distancing is not possible”, and asked people to “please avoid the area”.

Images of packed beaches, traffic jams and full car parks were shared widely on social media.

It comes as the UK’s R number – a crucial measure of how much COVID-19 is spreading – rose slightly in the past week.

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The rate went up from an estimated range of 0.8-0.9 last week, to 0.8-1.0 as of Friday.

The Met Office has said that Saturday started with an “impressive” 20-degree difference between parts of Scotland and South East England.

It said a breeze along the North Sea coast would keep temperatures in the high teens there, while England and Wales would generally see the high 20Cs or low 30Cs – with cooler temperatures in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

And there are more very hot and sticky nights on the way, with the heatwave in London and the South East set to continue until the middle of next week, before thunderstorms hit.

On Saturday, police in Bournemouth urged people to avoid packed beaches
Image: The heatwave is expected to continue until next week in some parts of the country
People enjoying the hot weather at Southend beach in Essex
Image: People enjoying the hot weather at Southend beach in Essex

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Dan Harris from the Met Office says some places are likely to see up to 3.4in (8.8cm) of rain in just a few hours.

He said: “We’ve issued a broad thunderstorm warning for Monday and Tuesday for all parts of the UK, since although the ingredients are there, it’s just too early to pinpoint the details of exactly where and when thunderstorms will occur.

“As such, we will be monitoring the developing signals closely and I urge people to keep a close eye on Met Office warnings and forecasts over the coming days.”

 Sky News

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