FORECASTERS are warning thunderstorms could hit Essex over the next 48 hours as temperatures continue to soar.

Essex Weather Centre said highs of 25c were expected in some parts of the county today during what is the hottest spell of the summer so far.

But the warmer temperatures are bringing an increased threat of thunderstorms in Essex over the coming days, with forecasters warning they could even hit tonight.

The Essex Weather Centre said: Slight risk of thunderstorms this evening and the first part of Tuesday night.

“Heavy showers are most likely.

“There is a greater risk of thunderstorms on Wednesday night, with the potential of widespread thundery downpours across South East England.”

The Met Office has also stated there is a threat of thundery showers over the coming nights in Essex and Eastern England.

Parts of the country were expected to be warmer than some Greek islands such as Santorini, Crete and Mykonos by this afternoon.

The Met Office said this is the result of an air mass from the south bringing up mild air, particularly impacting areas in the South East.

However, temperatures will slowly decline as the week goes on and the air mass moves, bringing in fresher air and temperatures closer to the average for this time of year.

Met Office forecaster Oli Claydon told the PA news agency: “We’ve got an air mass moving up from the south which is helping to bring some warm air with it and why we’re seeing some of the highest temperatures of the year.

“It’s the same reason why we’ve been seeing the thunderstorms over the past few days as well. That will change as we go through the week, with fronts moving in and bringing ever so slightly fresher air.

“One thing to note is that the particular high of 26C is quite confined to the South East.

“For example, in Northern Ireland, temperatures will be stuck in the mid teens. Belfast today will see 15C as its high today, so there is quite a contrast across the UK.”