Get ready for heat surge then deluge!

It was hot enough yesterday at Haigh Hall - from left: Ben Hilton, 12, Sharon Hilton, Vicky Bennett and Dylan Bennett, 12, chilled with lollies and ice creams
It was hot enough yesterday at Haigh Hall - from left: Ben Hilton, 12, Sharon Hilton, Vicky Bennett and Dylan Bennett, 12, chilled with lollies and ice creams

Wiganers were stealing themselves for tropical temperatures today as the mercury was set to go past the 30 degree mark again.

Latest forecasts suggest the borough may be spared the violent thunderstorms predicted to hit many parts of the country today although it will be very humid.

But tomorrow and Sunday are expected to see torrential deluges as the air clears - so good news for gardeners again - and the heat abates to a more customary 20 to 21 degrees.

Meteorologists, however, say that this does not mean the end of the North West heat wave, with temperatures gradually building again until it is very hot by the end of the coming week.

The rain will help to dampen local grasslands, including those at the Wigan Flashes nature reserve, which have been the subject of numerous fires in recent weeks, many of which are thought to have been deliberately started.

Meanwhile the Canal and River Trust has issued a safety warning about the dangers of risking a dip in the local waterways rather than sticking with the public baths.

Debbie Lumb, its national health and safety advisor, said: “Spending time on or by the water is a lovely way to spend a summer’s day and they are excellent places for families to explore during the holidays.

“But it’s also important that people, especially children and teenagers, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip. The consequences can be devastating.”

Mel Goodship’s 17-year-old son James drowned in June 2014 while swimming with friends in Foulridge Reservoir, Lancashire.

Mel said: “James used to mess around in the water with his friends; he was a strong swimmer so we just thought he’d be fine.

“We had never sat our children down and explained the dangers of the water, I didn’t really know what they were myself.

“The shock of the cold water paralyzed his muscles, took his energy and took his life.

“If you’re thinking about getting into any stretch of water which isn’t supervised, please don’t.”

Ms Lumb added: “Inland waterways, like canals, rivers and docks can look really inviting but you can’t tell what is below the surface.

“The water is often murky and you won’t be able to see the depth or any obstacles in the water.

“We’re asking people to find another way to cool off this summer – have an ice cream, stay in the shade, go for a swim in your local pool. Please don’t get in the water, it’s just not worth it.”

The trust’s Explorers water safety programme, focusing on junior school-aged children, aims to help them learn about and enjoy their local canal or river safely and can also be used towards a number of Cub Scout and Brownie badges.

For free resources or to volunteer to help the trust educate young people about their waterways, visit www.canalriverexplorers.org.uk