Temperatures in Essex will continue to climb this week and could reach as high as 26c - but forecaster have warned of the threat of thunderstorms. 

A warm and sunny bank holiday weekend has been followed by yet more clear skies and warmth today, with temperatures expected to peak at around 22c/ 23c in parts of the county today.

The Essex Weather Centre says more sunshine is forecast tomorrow and Thursday – when temperatures could hit 26c.

That would beat the highest temperature recorded in the UK this year, which was set in Kinloss in Scotland yesterday.

Inland parts of Essex are expected to be warmer than coastal areas throughout the week, but the threat of showers and thunderstorms will grow by Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures are expected to drop off slightly on Friday, when more cloud cover is forecast for much of the county.

The Met Office says there is a risk of showers in the East of England towards the end of the week, but Saturday will be largely dry, with temperatures showing little sign of dipping lower than 20c across all parts of Essex.

In its long-range forecast for next week, the Met Office adds: “A good deal of fine weather around, although equally cloud and outbreaks of rain tending to gradually work its way in from the west.

“There also remains a risk of thunderstorms, especially in the far east and south-east, accompanied by very warm or hot conditions.

Temperatures will trend towards nearer the seasonal average, warm in the sunnier spots.

“Into the following week, a trend towards more settled and dry conditions overall, however this accompanied by a risk of some showers and longer spells of light rain.”