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The UK could be heading for a heatwave as soon as next week, meteorologists have said, with the country set to bask in the high 20s.

With today's summer equinox heralding the onset of the hottest season of the year, Met Office experts have predicted some balmy conditions may be coming our way.

Neil Armstrong, chief forecaster at the Met Office, has drawn attention to the prospect of much more seasonable weather for the UK after a dour late spring so far in 2024.

He said: "After a brief, less settled, interlude on Friday and Saturday, fine conditions will return by Sunday and into next week.

"For much of the UK, this will be accompanied by a boost in temperatures with many places reaching the mid-20s by the middle of next week.

"Some central and southern areas are likely to see temperatures approaching the values needed for heatwave conditions.

But Armstrong quelled concerns that the UK could see itself in an "official" heatwave, so to speak, so soon.

He continued: "Heatwave conditions need to remain in situ for three consecutive days, and by the middle of next week it is possible that some parts of the UK could be reaching heatwave thresholds.

MORE WEATHER NEWS:

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"However, whether or not everyone experiences heatwave thresholds, the majority of the UK will experience the finest conditions and highest temperatures so far this year."

Data from forecasters MetDesk has the UK depicted in deep red tones on its maps by as soon as Wednesday, June 26.

Cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds are set to swelter as thermometers pass 26 or even 28C - with swathes of England - particularly the East of England - Wales and Scotland coloured in orange in maps from WXCharts.

But the hot weather predicted to hit the UK has come alongside its fair share of warnings; Samantha Hughes, National Water Safety Partner at the RNLI said: "The forecasted warm weather will mean we'll see more visitors at the coast and we always want people to enjoy themselves safely.

"Entering the water during warm weather can increase the risk of cold water shock due to the sudden changes in skin temperatures. Enter the water gradually and avoid jumping or diving straight in to reduce your risk of cold-water shock.

"If you're planning on heading to the beach, we highly recommend you visit one that is lifeguarded and you swim between the red and yellow flags. This is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.

"If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can.

"In an emergency at the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard or ask for the fire service if you are near inland waters."

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