Thunderstorm warning but temperatures still set to soar to 36C

The weather warning applies to much of the east of the county Met Office

The weather warning applies to much of the east of the county Met Office

Thunderstorms forecast for Friday in parts of the United Kingdom have prompted the Met Office to release a yellow weather alert, warning of transport delays, roads closures and power cuts.

There is a slight chance that power cuts could occur and other services to some homes and businesses could be lost.

Where these take place, torrential downpours with a much as 30 mm of rainfall in 1 hour and 60 mm in 3 hours could occur.

According to the Met Office, there is a 20% chance that Friday could have the highest temperature since records began.

The amber weather warning, which covers large swathes of England, advised people to avoid lengthy periods of sun exposure between Monday and Friday.

It has warned people in Reading, Berkshire and the south east to stay out of the sun and keep their homes as cool as possible.

Temperatures will be very warm or hot, locally very hot in the east.

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Temperatures are predicted to reach 35C midweek, threatening the record for the hottest July day, which was set at Heathrow in 2015 with 36.7C.

Rail journeys are being disrupted by the hot weather as train speeds are reduced to stop tracks from buckling, with trains on Chiltern Railways between London and Oxford are being rescheduled because of high track temperatures.

Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Apati said: "The sun just won't go away and the odds suggest we'll see record-breaking temperatures over the next few weeks".

Following the driest first half of summer on record, farming leaders warned crops are being hit and livestock are having to be fed with feed that should be held for winter as grasslands are parched.

The amber heatwave alert will be in place until Friday, when rain and thundery showers are forecast in parts of the UK.

While the United Kingdom is sometimes mocked for being bad at dealing with hot weather, these heat health warnings are far from UK-exclusive.

Conditions this week have been nearer normal for the time of year in Northern Ireland and western Scotland, which are seeing lower temperatures and rainy spells.

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