TEMPERATURES soared to a scorching 28.6C in Dorset today with people flocking to the beach to cool off in the heat. 

The official reading at Hurn was the second highest in the country and beat the previous temperature record set there this year on July 17, when the mercury climbed to 27.1C.

Only the Met Office’s Solent weather station in Hampshire recorded a higher temperature, hitting 29.6C at its peak. 

People flocked to the beaches across the region to enjoy the warm weather, with anyone tempted by a dip in the sea at Bournemouth enjoying positively balmy conditions. 

The display outside the seafront office boasted the water had hit 20C and according to surf forecasting site Surf-Forecast.com, the sea temperature was 20.1C, which is 4.2C above average.

With the summer holidays underway for many already, long queues for ice-cream were forming and children played and made sandcastles on the beach in the glorious sunshine. 

Bournemouth Echo:  Stour Valley Nature Reserve today in the sunshine.  Click to see a larger version  

Among those enjoying the sizzling conditions were friends Barbra Allam-Rummery and Michelle Howell, who tucked into a picnic at Bournemouth beach and joked that they were enjoying their last two days of freedom before their children finish school. 

Barbra said: “We only moved here last September, from Hastings, but Bournemouth is far better. It is absolutely perfect.”

Dirk Viehofer, visiting from Germany, said: “We are here for a week and this is our second day on the beach. It is very beautiful, very nice weather. It is lovely.” 

The Met Office says there is a risk for thundery downpours on Wednesday night, while the outlook for Thursday to Saturday says some showers could develop most days, these could be perhaps slow-moving, locally intense and thundery at times. However there will be some good dry and sunny spells.

Last week the warm weather came to a dramatic climax when thunderstorms rolled across Dorset with lightning illuminating the skies on Thursday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Met Office had issued an amber warning for lightning, hail and gusty winds for Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole on Saturday but the storms failed to materalise with much of the county basking in sunshine. 

The Met Office is predicting the warm weather will continue, with the temperature in Bournemouth expected to be around 27C at its peak on Wednesday.

Dry and hot conditions are forecast with sunny spells, but it will be cooler closer to the coast.

However, it will not all be sunshine, with isolated heavy and thundery showers expected to develop later in the evening.

Although the temperatures are expected to remain between 25C and 27C heading into the weekend, it is forecast that there will be some showers each day, but with some pleasant dry and sunny spells in between.