The Goodwood Festival of Speed was cancelled for the first time in its 30-year history as strong winds lashed Britain on Saturday, even as a fierce heatwave swept Europe.
Yellow weather warnings, which are intended to alert the public to potential disruption caused by severe weather, were in place across large parts of southern England and Wales, with the Met Office predicting heavy rainfall and thunderstorms on Sunday.
Organisers of the Goodwood motorsport event said they had decided to cancel Saturday’s event on the advice of weather and health and safety authorities.
“On-site safety is our highest priority and the forecasted high winds will pose a serious risk to various temporary structures across the site,” they said, adding that Sunday’s event was going ahead as planned.
The annual festival draws motoring enthusiasts and car manufacturers from around the world, who often put on elaborate displays celebrating their vehicles.
Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the historic women’s final at Wimbledon were left disappointed after the tournament closed its famous queue.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced on Friday that the queue – a long-standing tradition whereby people camp overnight and stand in line for hours to buy on-the-day tickets – would not be operating because of the weather.
It remained shut despite the sun shining down on SW19 on Saturday morning, while some disappointed fans who had travelled for miles and spent hundreds of pounds on accommodation to visit the tournament were turned away on arrival.
Kathy Yates, 54, and her son Daniel Yates, 27, flew to London from Aberdeen but were turned away at the gates when they tried to queue for ground passes on Saturday.
Ms Yates said: “We have spent well over £300. Two of our other family members have got tickets in the ballot.
“We all came down together. We have been queuing since 7am this morning,” she added. “Half the family can get in and half the family can’t.”
Cancellations across the country
The weather also forced the cancellation of the Kaleidoscope Festival at London’s Alexandra Palace, where 11,000 people had been expected to gather.
And in West Dorset, the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival was cancelled due to heavy rain.
The festival, a favourite of Labour MPs, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, celebrates the legacy of the Tolpuddle Martyrs – six farm workers sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia for forming a union in the 19th century.
While Britons weathered high winds and heavy rain, Europe remained in the grip of a severe heatwave that could see record high temperatures set in the coming days.
In Italy, 16 cities, including Rome, Florence and Bologna, were under red alerts, with locals warned to seek shelter from the sun between 11am and 6pm.
Temperatures in Rome were expected to hit 37C on Sunday before rising to 40C on Monday and then 42C or 43C on Tuesday.
Heat records could fall
In Sardinia, Europe’s record of 48.8C, set in August 2021, could fall in the coming week, according to the European Space Agency.
The Italian Meteorological Society has named the heatwave Cerberus, after a three-headed dog that guards the underworld in Greek mythology.
In Greece, the Acropolis, its most famous tourist attraction, was closed to visitors during the hottest part of the day for the second day in a row.
Greece’s Ekathimerini newspaper reported that over nine million people experienced temperatures of over 39C during the “Kleon” heat wave on Friday, while around 350,000 were hit by temperatures of 43C or over.
Meanwhile, authorities in Spain evacuated 500 people after a forest fire broke out in the Spanish island of La Palma on Saturday.
The fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning in El Pinar de Puntagorda, a wooded area at the north of the island in the Canaries.
At least 11 houses were destroyed as the fire advanced, Fernando Clavijo, president of the Canary Islands, said.
“The number of people who need to be evacuated could reach 1,000. It depends on whether we can bring these strong winds under control,” Mr Clavijo told reporters in La Palma.