In something of a switch-around from May, which was cool and wet away from an unusually dry northwest Scotland we are now seeing something much more typical for the time of year. High pressure is dominating most areas bringing fine and dry early summer conditions, whilst the far northwest is likely to be cloudier at times with some rain.
High-pressure from the Azores will extend across the bulk of the country this week bringing predominantly settled weather and allowing temperatures to slowly rise. However, the north west may see some showers and windy spells as weak fronts try to push in from the Atlantic. With these trying to arrive from the west at times a good deal of cloud is likely over western parts whilst the east sees the best of the sunnier conditions.
The dull conditions in May were largely due to a southward shift of the jet stream opening the door for low pressure systems to move across the Atlantic and cross the country throughout the month. Currently the jet stream lies to the north of the UK and this allows high-pressure to develop and warm air from lower latitudes to push up across the country.
Temperatures, particularly in the south, are likely to reach the mid, to possibly high 20s of Celsius over the next few days and into the weekend. Some areas may reach heatwave criteria. Above average temperatures are likely to continue next week, with a chance of seeing hot weather in the south, possibly accompanied by thunderstorms, and a chances a heatwave may continue for an extended period.
Research shows that, as a result of climate change, heatwaves are becoming more common in the UK. Extreme heat can have wide ranging impacts from health and wellbeing to problems for the energy industry and businesses, the transport network (melting tarmac, damage to rail tracks etc.) and leisure industry (increased use of open water by the public), increased risk of wildfire etc.
In August 2003, the UK experienced heatwave conditions lasting 10 days and resulting in 2,000 deaths. During this heatwave, a record maximum temperature of 38.5 °C was recorded at Faversham in Kent. In July 2006, similar conditions occurred breaking records and resulting in the warmest month on record in the UK. In the summer of 2019, the 2003 maximum temperature record was broken at Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 25 July, with 38.7 °C.
The highest temperature recorded in June (records back to 1884) was 35.6°C in Southampton on 28th June 1976.
For tips on how to cope in hot weather check out the advice on the Met office website.
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