Summer’s on the way – here’s how you can make the most of it

WeatherReady is run by the Met Office in partnership with the Cabinet Office.

As the summer weather once again dominates conversations around the UK, there are simple steps everyone can take to be prepared – no matter what the weather throws at you.

To help you take control of how it affects you, we have joined together with expert partners to provide advice and tips on staying safe in summer weather, as well as how to make the most of it.

#WeatherReady is run in partnership with the Cabinet Office and provides tips and guidance on simple actions people can take to reduce the negative impacts weather could have on their lives.

This summer, the Met Office and partners are focusing on three key summer weather types and how to be prepared for them:

Summer heat

Check the UV levels before heading out.

Hot weather during the summer can be fun but it’s worth taking a few simple steps to make sure you can enjoy it fully. 

While the long-term average maximum temperature for summer in the UK stands at 18.9C, more extreme levels of heat are always possible for a time, as shown in 2021 when Northern Ireland broke its all-time temperature record hitting 31.3C at Castlederg on 21 July.

Hot weather has potential impacts for all, but especially so for older people, babies and those with underlying health conditions. In order to be prepared ahead of hot weather, it’s a good idea to check on tips for keeping cool in hot weather to make sure you’re ready for any high temperatures or prolonged hot spells.

Other potential impacts of hot weather can be high UV levels and high pollen levels. The Met Office App has a specialist UV forecast and you can sign up for pollen notifications to help you to be prepared. Download the app ahead of hot weather to keep up-to-date so you can make sure you have enough sunscreen and hay fever medication.

Pets also aren’t immune to hot weather, as well as hay fever. Be aware of what you can do to make sure they don’t overheat, including avoiding the hottest times of the day and choosing suitable places for their daily walks.

When the sun is shining, we think about getting out and about and maybe being a bit more active. It’s important to check the forecasts in advance when you’re planning an outing or activity to make sure you have the right kit with you. To avoid heatstroke and sunburn the NHS recommends you wear sunscreen and a hat and drink plenty of water.  So, if you’re spending time in your garden, try to avoid the hottest part of the day, and follow NHS guidance. 

If you’re heading out and about, heat-related faults in your car or campervan can leave you stranded by the side of the road. A few simple checks, courtesy of the RAC, can help you avoid the stress.

Summer storms

Take the worry out of summer storms.

Despite what some people may think, storms certainly aren’t confined to winter in the UK. In July 2021 Storm Evert impacted the UK with gusts widely over 45mph, bringing some disruption to roads and holidaymakers.

In addition, thunderstorms are more likely in summer. Thunderstorms occur when the earth’s surface is heated and warm air near the ground rises into cooler air, creating water droplets which then often fall as thundery downpours of rain. In a UK summer, this meteorological phenomenon can occur fairly frequently, with a mix of warm air from the south and cool air from the north often vying for dominance over the UK. Take some time to learn how to stay safe in thunder and lightning before it’s in the forecast so you know what you should be doing.

You can take the worry out of summer storms by doing simple things around the home in preparation. Take some time to think about objects that could be moved by strong or sudden gusts of wind, especially if they could break windows or blow into the road. Also, try to park your car away from objects that could be moved be strong winds or unstable trees.

Power cuts are also possible during summer storms. It’s a good idea to know in advance what you need to have to hand in the event of a power cut. This includes advice around keeping important information in a safe place and having a ‘grab bag’ ready with supplies should the power go out.

Summer storms with strong winds can create dramatic scenes particularly at the coast but it can be dangerous and advice from HM Coastguard and the RNLI is to stay well back from stormy seas and cliff edges. If you see anyone in trouble, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

For more advice, here are the RNLI’s 10 tips for visiting the beach this summer.

Summer rainfall

Consider the impact of heavy rainfall.

Summer rain can happen suddenly and be quite intense. In addition, as the atmosphere warms as a result of human-induced climate change, the air can hold more moisture which can lead to more intense rainfall events both now and in the future.

On average, summer in the UK is actually wetter than the spring, with an average of 253.4mm of rain falling in June, July and August. That level of rainfall isn’t consistent across the UK however, with Scotland, on average, seeing the most rain with 315.6mm. Wales has an average of 302.4mm, Northern Ireland 270.2mm and England 206mm.

If you’re heading out and about, think about kit that might be useful and download the Met Office app so you can get up-to-date, accurate local forecasts and be prepared to change your plans if the rain looks particularly impactful.

Did you know that a heavy downpour can affect bathing water quality? If you are heading to one of the UK’s many beaches, rivers, lochs or lakes, it’s worth knowing how you can tell if you can swim safely or should choose another spot.

Driving during intense summer rain can be hazardous, so it’s important to consider your plans if it looks like severe weather is in the forecast. If you do have to drive in severe weather, National Highways, RAC and the Institute of Advanced Motorists have brought together some practical advice.

It’s not just when you’re on the move that heavy rain can impact on people during the summer. Ahead of severe weather, it’s a good idea to clear gutters and drains around your home to help reduce any potential impacts on your property. The best way of avoiding summer flooding is to be prepared, so check with the UK flood agencies if your area is susceptible to flooding.

Get all your summer weather advice with the Met Office and expert partners on WeatherReady on the Met Office website.

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