Thunderstorms are sweeping the country as lighting-scorched skies replace the sweltering sunshine that gave Britain its second-hottest day in history.
Storms have already hit the east of England and the Met Office is warning that thundery conditions are set to worsen.
After highs of 100.6F (38C) in London yesterday, temperatures will plummet to 73.4F (23C) in the capital this morning at the top of the scale.
Belfast, Glasgow and Stornoway are set to plunge as low as 63F (17C) following what has become known as Tropical Thursday.
Pictured: Lighting bursts from the sky in Southwold, Suffolk, as the heatwave conditions of Tropical Thursday make way for a humid and stormy start to Friday
Pictured: Lightning forks in Chippenham as Britain prepares for a deluge of thunderstorms and temperatures plunge after Tropical Thursday
Great Yarmouth is hit by lightning following the Tropical Thursday heatwave yesterday as scorching weather creates the perfect condition for thunder storms
Lightning storms are battering the east of England this morning as temperatures plummet following Great Britain’s second-hottest day on record
Storms were also pictured over Great Yarmouth as lightning forked across the sky, replacing the scorching sunshine of recent hours as we head into Friday
Pictured: Lighting strikes over Southwold in Suffolk as thunderstorms sweep across the nation this morning following the second hottest day in UK history
Stunning footage showed storms across the skies of Suffolk and Great Yarmouth as well as Norwich late into last night.
It follows chaos for commuters up and down the country with hundreds stranded on sweltering services while they struggle to get home from work.
Sparks from overheated cables caused a trackside fire this evening while police hauled trapped passengers off a sweltering train in two separate incidents.
Britain endured temperatures hitting 100.6F (38C) amid health warnings, melting pavements and major train disruption today. One household in the capital recorded temperatures of 107.6F (42C) earlier today.
Hundreds of commuters were stuck on two trains after damaged overhead electrical cables caused a grass fire on a railway embankment at Finchley Road station in Hampstead, North London.
Up to 600 passengers were trapped as the blaze took hold, buckling rails and causing chaos for commuters struggling to get home.
Meanwhile, near Peterborough, rescue teams were pictured freeing trapped passengers – including a pregnant woman – who were stranded for two hours without air conditioning. London North Eastern Rail cancelled all services in and out of Kings Cross following the incident.
Pictured: Passengers are evacuated near Peterborough today after they were trapped without air conditioning for two hours
Pictured: Commuters face a gruelling journey home this evening on the central line in London as the UK had its second-hottest day on record
Pictured: Passengers gather in the sweltering heat at Kings Cross St Pancras station in central London as temperatures soared today
Commuters are stripping to the waist on the London Underground this evening as temperatures soar across the country
Pictured: Commuters trapped on a train halfway between Newark and Kings Cross as chaos spreads across UK travel networks in the blistering heat
Rail workers are pictured stranded near Peterborough today as passengers had to be rescued from a carriage with no air conditioning
Pictured: Fire breaks out in Hampstead, melting rails and causing chaos for up to 600 commuters in the capital this evening
Police are pictured at Hampstead this evening after fire broke out trackside on the UK’s second-hottest day in history
Police scrambled to Hampstead in north London after a blaze broke out trackside when cables overheated in the sweltering temperatures today
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It follows last night’s disruption of Britain’s busiest station after man was seen chasing a dog along electrified tracks. All lines in and out of London Waterloo were blocked at about 7pm due to trespass, South Western Railway said. Video shared on social media showed a man running along the tracks at the approach to the station.
‘We saw a dog running down the track and then, 20 seconds later, a man running after it,’ said passenger Adam Willmott, 23. ‘The dog was much faster and the man was looking rather tired.’
He said his London-bound train had been stationary for more than 20 minutes with no power. ‘We have no air conditioning and it is just getting hotter and hotter,’ he said. ‘The train manager said he doesn’t know when we will move.’
A spokesman for South Western Railway said: ‘I can confirm that the trespass incident involves an individual chasing a dog down the rail lines and that services have been held between Waterloo and Vauxhall stations. The British Transport Police have been called to handle the incident.’
It follows earlier disruption at London Euston and London St Pancras because of heat-related problems on tracks. Commuters are stripping to the waist on the London Underground and other services as they face arduous journeys home in baking heat.
Commuters were stuck at St Pancras railway station after overhead cables were damaged, severely disrupting East Midlands and Thameslink services.
Boards displayed at the station announced most trains had been cancelled with others delayed. Two rail workers said the wires had been damaged by fire.
Pictured: A man runs along the track near Waterloo last night as he frantically chased after his dog, bringing disruption ahead of today’s heatwave
Gary Freeman, 56, a senior worker in the construction industry, faced an unknown delay for his train back to St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
Wiping his forehead repeatedly with a handkerchief, he said: ‘This week it’s been crazy, last Friday this happened as well. On the hottest day of the year it adds insult to injury.
‘I’m debating whether to keep standing here sweating or to go and get a nice cold beer. There are people sitting in trains not moving on the tracks apparently.’
Network Rail’s network services director Nick King said: ‘We have a number of heat-related incidents across the rail network this evening that are causing disruption to services. We are sorry that some passengers are experiencing uncomfortable conditions and inconvenience.
‘Our teams are working flat-out to fix the issues as quickly as possible and get people on the move. We’re asking anyone travelling this evening to check with their train operators or visit the National Rail Enquiries website to see how their journey is affected.’
Further travel disruption could be caused by thundery downpours prompted by the sweltering temperatures, with flash flooding and even power cuts possible.
A yellow warning for thunderstorms has been issued for most of England except the South West, and parts of Scotland until 4am on Friday.
A shirtless passenger on a rush-hour Victoria line train on the sweltering London Underground this morning
A man rides shirtless on an air-conditioned Great Northern train from London King’s Cross to Ely in Cambridgeshire today
Pictured: A fire breaks out on the line between London and Luton today, cancelling trains as the wires above the track overheated
Trains in and out of Manchester Piccadilly have been delayed as problems on the West Coast Main Line are expected until the end of the day.
This is understood to be after a number of overhead wires on the network were damaged by the heat. A spokeperson for Manchester Piccadilly said: ‘Due to numerous heat related issues across the network we have widespread delays and cancellations.
‘We are doing everything we can to keep trains moving. All but essential travel advised. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this will obviously cause.’
Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: ‘We’re already seeing thunderstorms being triggered by today’s hot weather and we’ll continue to see thunderstorms breaking out this evening and overnight across wide areas of the UK.
‘Also tonight it’s going to be very warm across central, eastern and south-eastern parts in particular as temperatures fall no lower than 23C to 24C in places, which could see further temperature records broken.’
A fire broke out near the tracks of the London to Luton main line this afternoon after the soaring temperatures reportedly caused cables to overheat.
A rambler collapsed in the heat in Dorset, surfaces melted in Grimsby and Londoners faced searing heat on the Tube with the high humidity expected to make temperatures feel like 109F (43C) in the South East this afternoon.
Temperatures hit 100.6F (38.1C) in Cambridge at 3.30pm – making it the warmest July day on record and the second hottest day in UK history behind the 101.3F (38.5C) in August 2003 – with the mercury still set to rise.
East Midlands Trains urged passengers ‘do not travel’, while Thameslink said ‘you are strongly advised not to travel’, after the heat caused damage to overhead electric wires between London St Pancras and Luton. In Greater Manchester, firefighters hosed down Barton swing bridge in Salford to avoid it buckling in the heat.
Pictured: Today’s hottest temperatures at major bình đựng nước ép trái cây hà nội cities across the UK, with London coming out on top with highs of 99.9F
Hundreds of thousands of commuters who use Southeastern, Greater Anglia, Southern, Gatwick Express, London North Eastern, West Midlands and Great Northern trains also faced delays, cancellations and overcrowding today. The West Coast main line in Greater Manchester along with other services in the county are facing major disruption.
Police were called after scuffles broke out at the Brockwell and Parliament Hill lidos in London as hundreds of people tried to get in, while food was removed from the shelves of a Sainsbury’s in Bolton after its fridges broke.
As hundreds of thousands of people sunbathed in beaches and parks, fan sales rose 200 per cent at some stores and bosses at Madame Tussauds Blackpool had to move waxworks out of direct sunlight to avoid them melting.
Police warned people over swimming in the heatwave after three men drowned and another was reported missing, while racing at Southwell was abandoned with two races remaining due to the ‘extreme temperatures’.
A reduced service is operating on commuter train routes and between London and Scotland, with trains running as slowly as 20mph to protect the tracks. Rail operators said delays could last well into this evening.
The heat was all too much for some men, who took off their shirts as they rode public transport. One shirtless man was seen working on his laptop on an air-conditioned train from London King’s Cross to Ely in Cambridgeshire.
The heat also affected mainland Europe, with Paris recording its hottest day ever as temperatures topped 109F (42.6C) – smashing a 70-year-old record – while Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also set all-time records.
Tonight, the Met Office has issued a warning for thunderstorms in the east of the country including 1.2in (30mm) of rain in less than an hour plus frequent lightning, hail and gusty winds from 3pm today until early tomorrow.
Pictured: Sunbathers make the most of today’s sweltering weather as they relax on the beach in Margate, Kent, as Great Britain melts
Pictured: A Queen’s Life Guard braves the soaring heat as he stands to attention at Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall in London this afternoon
A shirtless man walks along Regent Street in Central London today as the capital endures the heatwave
One Londoner beat the scorching temperatures by creating his own beach in the middle of Blackfriars Bridge yesterday. The scene was photographed by holidaymaker Tom Evison, 44, who is visiting the UK from Australia, and posted on Facebook
Steps appear to have melted in the heat outside a house in Ladbroke Grove, West London, pictured at 8.30am today. The photo was taken by Mouki Koutouki, of Hammersmith, who said on Facebook: ‘Tales of heatwave madness – the floor is lava’
The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) – and it will be even hotter on the continent
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Forecasters warned that flooding and lightning strikes could affect driving conditions, disrupt train services and lead to power cuts, although temperatures are expected to become much cooler from tomorrow onwards.
There is then a further warning for heavy rain in northern England and southern Scotland from 12pm Saturday until 3pm Sunday, with up to 4.7in (120mm) expected over the Pennines and North York Moors plus a flooding risk.
Meanwhile, in Liverpool: Showers have started sweeping across the city in the north-west, while temperatures remain on the brink of record-breaking in the south-east
Liverpudlians brave the downpour in Merseyside as sunbathers hit the beach in the south-east of England as much of Britain swelters today
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