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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
England hotter than Rio
Margate in Kent
Sun lovers have flocked to the beach
London is enjoying one of the UK's hottest days of the year so far, putting Lisbon and Rio in the shade.

Temperatures are expected to reach 28C (82.4F) in the capital on Monday and 26C in the Midlands.

The BBC Weather Centre confirmed the previous year-high in the UK was 29.1C in central London on 31 May.

London's heat wave is shared by most of western Europe, with Rome basking in 40C.

Spring 2003 in England and Wales
Sunniest since 1990
27% above normal sunshine
24% less normal rainfall
Temperature 1.5C above average
Wolverhampton enjoyed 27.3C on April 16

But Lisbon is only 21C and Brazil's famous Copacabana beach a wintry 22C.

London's heat wave did not extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although temperatures were above their June average.

But the hot spell is not set to last, with temperatures falling during the week amid accompanying thunderstorms.

BBC meteorologist Peter Gibb said: "It is set to change.

"The hottest day will be today, before temperatures edge down, taking a little while in the South East before the fresher weather sets in.

"You'll start feeling that change by the end of the week."

The heat also comes at a price, with a high pollution index in the South East.

The hottest day ever recorded in the UK was in August 1990, where Cheltenham sweltered in 37.1C.

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