The UK is bracing for the hottest day of the year so far on Sunday (9 April) as temperatures rise to a high of 80F (26C) to kick off an upcoming summer of scorching heat.

The Met Office has predicted a particularly dry climate, which could result in more occurrences of fires across the country.

Hosepipe bans and food shortages could be possibilities – the drier conditions set to create problems for farmers, who may not be able to water their crops.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said they were "monitoring the situation" and "encouraging farmers to register for Environment Agency updates covering local prospects for irrigation and local monthly water situation reports".

Throughout the week the heat is expected to subside slightly and remain at a steady but more common 60F (20C).

A Met Office statement said: "For April-June, above-average temperatures are more probable than below-average. The probability of the warmest category of temperatures is 45%. The coldest category is 5%.

"Warmth is being observed in many regions that are sources for air travelling to the UK. There is a slight increase in the likelihood of anticyclonic conditions. Sea surface temperatures around the UK are above normal.

"This increases the chances of warmer-than-average temperatures through the period."

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service warned of the risk of fires in the countryside – citing "careless" cigarettes disposal as potential fire starters.

"Fires in the countryside can easily be started accidentally, or even deliberately. A carelessly discarded cigarette can lead to a huge fire, where the results to the wildlife can be devastating."