Britain enjoyed the hottest day for three years today as forecasters warn of even warmer conditions to come.
The Met Office recorded a temperature of 86.7F (30.4C) at St James's Park in London, levels not seen since July 2006.
The Federation of Small businesses sounded a warning that heatwave conditions could spark a wave of absences as workers feign illness to enjoy the sunshine.
Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, urged bosses to consider allowing staff to swap their shirt and tie for shorts and T-shirts.
Meanwhile officials at Wimbledon discussed whether to introduce extra breaks for players because of the hot weather as the number of spectators needing medical attention for heat related conditions during the tournament passed 1,000.
The Met Office is forecasting that temperatures in southern England will top that level for much of the week, potentially reaching 91.4F (33C) by Wednesday or Thursday.
Although thunderstorms are expected to bring cooler temperatures by the end of the week, the long range forecast for a hotter than average summer remains and some bookmakers have reduced the odds on the record of 101.3F (38.5C) seen in August 2003 being broken.
"There is a completely different feel to the summer to what we had last year, the temperatures we are getting are the warmest since July 2006," said John Hammond, a Met office forecaster.
Wimbledon organisers said that 2,500 hats had been sold in under four hours on Monday while stocks of sun lotion began to run low.
In the first week, where temperatures of 106F (41C) were recorded on Centre Court at one point, 95,000 ice-creams were sold, alongside 37,000lb of strawberries, 93,000 glasses of Pimms and 12,000 bottles and half bottles of champagne.
Several players referred to the heat, particularly the women.
Russian Elena Dementieva said: "I was trying to be aggressive, not to go for the long rallies because of the weather conditions." Source