The UK is braced for temperatures as high as 41C today with increased travel chaos – after night-time record temperatures of 26C were provisionally reported in parts of West Yorkshire and London.

The Met Office has also provisionally reported last night was the warmest on record after temperatures didn’t fall below 25C (77F) in places.

If confirmed this would exceed the previous highest daily minimum record of 23.9°C (75F), which was recorded in Brighton on 3 August 1990.

The temperatures of 26C (78.8F) were reported in Emley Moor, West Yorkshire, and Heathrow, London.

Much of England remains under the Met Office’s first ever red warning as the country’s historic heatwave emergency continues amid stark warnings that we are seeing climate change in action.

How to stay safe in the heat – official advice

Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm and avoid physical exertion

Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol

Close curtains in rooms that face the sun

Never leave anyone in a parked car – and check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours

Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat

Check medicines can be stored according to instructions – and check that your fridges, freezers and fans are working properly

For more tips on how to stay cool click here

Trains cancelled and routes closed due to hot weather

Rail users have been warned of delays and cancellations as the heat takes its toll on the country’s infrastructure, while health worries remain amid the baking temperatures.

More on Climate Change

There will be no Thameslink or Great Northern trains running in any location north of London, from London Blackfriars via St Pancras, or from London King’s Cross or London Moorgate.

Merseyrail said the number of trains running and journey times will be “seriously affected” and some routes closed completely.

LNER will run no trains from south of York and south of Leeds to London King’s Cross.

Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are among the dozens of train companies running significantly reduced services across the country.

Transport for London (TfL) said London’s rail network would also be running a reduced service due to safety restrictions put into place to deal with the heat.

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Luton Airport runway damaged in heatwave

The searing heat this week had already caused significant travel disruption, with Luton Airport forced to suspend flights on Monday because of a defect in the runway caused by high temperatures.

Rachel Ayers, a Met Office forecaster, says Tuesday will be “a pretty unprecedented day”, with the mercury possibly reaching highs of 41C (105.8F) in spots in England.

“This will make it the hottest day on record and the first time we have seen temperatures as high as 40C,” she said.

Scotland and Wales could also see their hottest days on record.

Explainer: Heat exhaustion and heatstroke – what are the signs and symptoms and what’s the difference?

While Monday did not see a new UK heat record set – it was the third hottest ever – Wales did see a new high mark as temperatures hit 37.1C (98.8F) at Hawarden.

The potential for chaos on Britain’s roads and rails remains, with the public urged not to travel unless “absolutely necessary”.

Ms Ayers added: “There are likely to be delays on roads, with road closures, as well as possible delays and cancellations to trains and maybe issues with air travel.

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Sun rises on potentially UK’s hottest day

“This could pose a significant health risk to those stuck on services or roads during the heat.”

A national emergency was declared last week amid the threat of severe disruption as schools close, hospitals cancel appointments and events are scrapped.

Council gritters – awoken from their summer hibernation early – are on stand-by to spread a light dusting of sand on melting roads.

Read more: Fan sales up 1,300% – who else is cashing in on the heatwave?

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What were temperatures around UK today?

‘We are now a hot country’

Heatwaves like the one we are experiencing this week will “repeat themselves and get more severe going forward in time”, climate change expert Sir David King told Sky News.

Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, told Sky News that the UK “has got to stop thinking of itself as a cold country”.

“In the summer months, we are now a hot country,” he said.

“There is no excuse for the government’s lack of preparedness for this kind of extreme heat event.”

Boy, 14, missing and four others have died

The dangers of extreme temperatures were laid bare once again in tragic fashion, with at least four people losing their lives during the heatwave.

A 14-year-old boy is also missing and believed to have drowned after getting into difficulty in the River Thames in London on the hottest day of the year.

Emergency services have issued urgent appeals for people to stay out of dangerous waterways and reservoirs.

Net-zero ‘never been more important’

As the country roasts in the baking heat, the issue of the government’s commitment to achieving net-zero has been under scrutiny amid the Tory leadership race.

All four remaining candidates have now publicly backed net-zero, following an apparent U-turn by Kemi Badenoch when questioned by COP26 chief Alok Sharma on Monday.

Mr Sharma has threatened to quit if the new prime minister ditches the current commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles has also stressed the necessity of net-zero in light of the heatwave, saying it has “never been more vitally important”.

The outgoing PM Boris Johnson will discuss the heatwave at his last scheduled cabinet meeting today, having been criticised for skipping a COBRA summit over the weekend as he planned his farewell party.