An amber weather warning of 'extreme heat' has been issued by the Met Office, in a historic first.

The warning covers most of the South West, including the entirety of Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

It is in place from now until the end of Thursday, with temperatures forecast to be slightly cooler from Friday.

Until then, high temperatures of up to 30°C will continue.

The Met Office launched a new Extreme Heat National Severe Weather Warning at the start of June, with warnings ready to be issued based on the effects of extreme heat on parts of the country. 

Amber and red warnings can now be issued to inform the public of potential widespread disruption and health effects. This is the first time such a warned has been issued.

What to expect over the next few days, according to the Met Office:

  • Adverse health effects are likely to be experienced by those vulnerable to extreme heat
  • The wider population are likely to experience some adverse health effects including sunburn or heat exhaustion (dehydration, nausea, fatigue) and other heat related illnesses
  • More people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents
  • Some changes in working practices and daily routines likely to be required
  • An increased chance that some heat-sensitive systems and equipment may fail, leading to power cuts and the loss of other services to some homes and businesses
  • Some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays

Dr Will Lang from the Met Office said: “We know that the impacts of climate change are resulting in an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme heat events. 

“The extreme heat warning joins our other warnings to ensure that no matter what the weather conditions, we at the Met Office have a method of communicating these impacts to the public in as efficient a way as possible. 

“Extreme heat has obvious potential consequences health in the UK, especially for vulnerable groups, but continued impacts around transport infrastructure, energy consumption and coastal areas will also inform when extreme heat warnings are issued.”