The "Spanish plume" of warm air from the Costa beaches continues to provide warm weather to the UK – but storms are on the way.

According to forecasters, the earliest storms may reach the UK by this evening but similar predictions have proved premature during the mini-heatwave.

Predicted showers did not materialise, except in a handful of outlying places.

Temperatures hit 84F (29C) in places yesterday, while the mercury

could rise as high as 91F (33C) today in south east England – making it

hotter than the Caribbean.

However, forecasters warn that cooler air pushing in from the

Atlantic is likely to cause thunderstorms and heavy downpours tonight,

raising the risk of flash flooding.

Before the sunshine goes, the Met Office expects to see temperatures reach 31C (88F) in London and along the hinterland of the Channel coast, with cloud cover pushed well towards the Scottish border.

The plume is continuing to flow to the west and north, sheltering most of the British Isles in the crook of a gentle curve and warding off colder temperatures to the north.

Paul Michaelwhite, a forecaster for Netweather, told the Telegraph: "Conditions are likely to support organised and severe storms with large-sized hail, gusting winds, torrential rain and even tornadoes.

"People will have images of huge tornadoes in the USA, but we get smaller ones here – although they do can still cause damage, as we have seen in recent years.”

Mark Seltzer, a Met Office forecaster, added: “You need just the right conditions to spin them up, but the weather situation could support mini tornadoes.

“You need a lot of energy in the atmosphere and that’s exactly what we’ve got in the south east.

“As cooler weather comes in from the Atlantic and collides with all this hot air, we will see some severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours in places.”

The hot spell will give way to cooler conditions for the rest of the week, once the storms have passed tomorrow morning.

The Met Office predicts mild temperatures and dry weather for most of the country with occasional scattered showers in northern areas throughout the week.