IT has been a long wait after a washout June and dreary May. 

But now it looks like summer is finally here after temperatures are set to rise later this week. 

Temperatures will hit 24 and 26 degrees on Friday and Saturday with the outlook for the start of July also looking good. 

A Met Office spokesman added: "The outlook for Thursday to Saturday is largely dry and sunny and becoming very warm, especially on Thursday and Friday.

"As we go into early July the most likely scenario is for a continuation for warm or very warm, perhaps locally hot, and potentially thundery, weather possible for parts of the UK.

"There is likely to be occasional spells of dry and fine weather though.

"Temperatures will return closer to normal after a potentially very warm or hot spell of weather at the start of the period."

Forecasters warn it could feel muggy for large parts of the country at night this week. 

And if you're jetting off to Europe this week, brace yourself for an extreme heatwave. 

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Temperatures are predicted to hit 43 and 41 degrees in Spain and France. 

Nicola Maxey, from the Met Office, said: "The continent is seeing some very high temperatures, with record-breaking temperatures expected across France, Spain and Belgium.

"We are not seeing temperatures as hot as Europe, but it will be warm for the UK."