18 Jun 2024

Warming up into next week – is summer weather finally on the way?

Cool start to June

June is the first month of meteorological summer, and it certainly hasn’t felt that way so far. Mean temperatures, which take into account day and night temperatures, have been 1-3C below average for many.

The early summer chill has been caused by a northerly wind coming from the Arctic – a cold direction for the UK, whatever the time of year.

Some rural areas have seen a touch of frost, and there’s even been some snow over the Scottish mountains. Whilst this typically happens every 3-5 years, it’s certainly not helped it feel any more like summer. However, that is about to change.

Signs of warmer weather

Temperatures in recent days have started to pick up, and with the change in wind direction from a west or southwesterly direction, it’s already feeling warmer than it has done at any point in the past few weeks.

Admittedly, whilst there’ll be a blip of unsettled weather at the end of this week, there’s growing confidence that high pressure will return over the weekend and stick around into next week.

The area of high pressure will bring a feed of tropical maritime air, which combined with the sunshine of long summer days, offer a recipe for summer-like warmth and rising temperatures.

How warm will it get?

Temperatures at the end of this week will be around average for much of the UK – typically 15-20C for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, with 17-23C likely elsewhere.

The step-change to something even warmer comes during the first half of next week. Northern and western areas will widely reach 17-22C, with southern and eastern areas widely reaching 20-26C. There’s even the possibility of a few locations seeing 27-28C.

This would bring parts of the UK close to achieving an official heatwave, as defined by the Met Office – currently estimated as a 40% chance of happening. So, possible but not certain just yet.

How long will it last?

Beyond the middle of next week is where the longer-term outlook starts to become much more uncertain – a fork in the road, if you like, on the great big weather highway.

Some weather models suggest that it will turn cooler and more unsettled from the middle of next week, others see a continuation of the summer warmth, a few suggest something even hotter.

So, whilst a warm spell is expected, exactly how long it lasts is not known by anyone yet – including some tabloid outlets who seemingly perpetually write about imminent heatwaves which often fail to arrive.

What about the rest of summer?

June is a notoriously tricky time to predict the weather far in advance. The jet stream and weather patterns move much more slowly and are weaker at this time of year. This significantly reduces predictability beyond a few weeks at most.

As for the rest of summer, other than looking at very broad general trends, it’s simply not possible to predict the weather in any useful detail like you see in a five-day forecast.

In the meantime, don’t forget that UV levels will be high, as the sun is poised to reach its highest point in the sky with the summer solstice on Thursday. And, if you suffer from hay fever, grass pollen will be on the rise too – reaching high or very high levels for many.

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