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Met Office warns UV levels will reach their UK maximum on hottest day of the year

A warning that UV levels will reach their maximum in the UK today has been issued by the Met Office on what is due to be the hottest day of the year so far.

Wear a cream and a sunhat - and avoid being outside for the midday hours (37244279)
Wear a cream and a sunhat - and avoid being outside for the midday hours (37244279)

Temperatures are expected to hit 30C by 1pm in Cambridge as the heatwave continues.

The Met Office’s UV index forecast identifies the strength of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and is ranked from 1 (no risk) to 11 (extreme).

Today, Cambridgeshire is forecast to reach 8 (very high) on the index - the highest it ever reaches in the UK.

UV levels are affected by the position of the sun in the sky, cloud cover and levels of ozone in the stratosphere. They are typically highest in late June in this country.

The Met Office advises people to avoid being out in the midday hours and to wear sunscreen, a shirt and a hat to avoid being burned.

While small amounts of sunlight are important for our health, as it enables our bodies to make vitamin D, repeated exposure to too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds causes damage to the DNA in skin cells. If too much damage builds up, it can cause these cells to grow out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.

It could be an uncomfortable night, with temperatures only expected to dip to 17C.

Some respite from the heat is on the way, however, with thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow.

Yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms are in place across the Cambridge region for Friday and Saturday.

Temperatures could still climb to 27C on Friday, but a maximum of 21C is forecast for Saturday, while Sunday is due to be cooler still, reaching 19C.

The UK’s highest temperature was recorded at Cambidge University Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019, when temperatures soared to 38.7C.

The Environment Agency has warned that Cambridgeshire is heading for a drought.

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