Pitsford climate station recorded a maximum of 40.2°C — topping Monday’s 38.2°C and nearly four degrees higher than the record 36.7°C at Raunds in 1911 which had stood as the county’s hottest day for 111 years.
It was just 0.1°C below the UK’s provisional new record temperature at Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
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Met Office chief of science and technology, Professor Stephen Belcher, warned the UK could see record temperatures every three years.
He added: "Research here at the Met Office has demonstrated it is virtually impossible for the UK to see 40°C in an undisrupted climate. Climate change driven by greenhouse gases has made that possible.”
Firefighters in Northamptonshire dealt with six times as many calls as normal as extreme heat sparked a series of fires across the county.
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “It’s one of the busiest days I can remember in my career, which goes back to 1987.
“The fact that things were going on all at the same time made things especially difficult and we needed to have relief crews available to protect firefighters working in those conditions.”
All trains were cancelled on both major rail routes through Northamptonshire leaving some passengers stranded after they ignored pleas to only make essential journeys.
Temperatures dropped by around 10°C overnight although a Met Office yellow warning for thunderstorms has been issued from 1pm on Wednesday (July 20).