Leeds heatwave: Leeds sees hottest day as UK temperature hits 40C for first time on record

It is officially the hottest day on record in Leeds.

Temperatures reached 39C by 3pm, beating highs of 35C yesterday, and far above the city's previous hottest temperature of 34.4C, set in 1990.

And the mercury has hit 40C for the first time on record in the UK, with 40.2C provisionally recorded at Heathrow Airport, the Met Office said.

The threshold was hit at 12.50pm as much of the UK sweltered in a heatwave, with parts of England and Wales under a red warning for extreme heat, posing a danger to life, pressure on the NHS and disruption across transport networks.

Leeds has seen its hottest day on record (Photo: James Hardisty)

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The extreme heat is fuelled by climate change, which is making every heatwave more intense, frequent and likely, scientists warn.

The new high for daytime temperatures came after the UK experienced its warmest night on record on Monday, with temperatures remaining in the mid-20s.

The 40.2C recorded at Heathrow beats the previous record for the UK of 38.7C in Cambridge three years ago, by 1.5C, and the Met Office warned temperatures were still climbing early on Tuesday afternoon.

The Met Office had predicted a thunderstorm would hit Leeds at 4pm - but the forecast later changed to sunny.

Temperatures are now beginning to fall, dropping to the mid-20s for the rest of the week.