The heatwave sweeping across Britain and continental Europe has continued to smash UK records, with a new July high temperature of 38.1 degrees being reached at Cambridge.
The Met Office said there is a 60 per cent chance today’s temperature could pass the all-time UK record of 38.5C, set in 2003.
Spokesman Peter Stott said climate change means such heatwaves could become a regular fixture of the British summer.
“There's no doubt that climate change is playing a role here because of the elevated temperatures and that's related to the fact we've got this weather pattern being drawn up from North Africa,” he said.
Forecasters have also warned the heat could spark thunderstorms from Thursday afternoon until early Friday morning.
South-east England is bearing the brunt of the heat.
The Society for Acute Medicine president Nick Scriven said hospitals were ill-prepared for such heat, and “exhausted staff” were at greater risk of making errors.
“Last year, hospitals hired in large fans and coolers for a week or so but have got nothing long-term in place - they are purely reactive not proactive,” he said.
Thousands of people have been left without water on Bristol's hottest day of the year after a water main burst.
Bristol Water said a pipe has suffered a “full-length split” but it hoped to restore water to homes in two to three hours. The city is expected to top 30C today.
Western Europe is also suffering in the heat, with areas of France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland facing temperatures exceeding 40C.
There has been a tragic death in Austria when a two-year-old boy died after getting into an overheated car at a family farm in the south of the country.