A soggy end to summer?

  • Outdoor activities are likely to be affected this coming week. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

    The nights are noticeably drawing in as summer comes to an end. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

    Image showing the position of the jet steam Sun-Wed (mph)

  • A soggy end to summer?
    22.08.2015 12:32


    According to meteorologists, summer is defined as starting on 1st June and ending on 31st August. This means that the coming week is the final week of the current season before we head into autumn on 1st September. Nevertheless, the transition from one season to another is often very gradual and September can still bring some summer-like warmth.

    Weather-wise, summer 2015 has been a mixed bag with lengthy dry and settled spells, followed by brief interludes of exceptional heat and subsequent thunderstorms, as well as more prolonged rainfall events. By far the hottest day was 1st July when Heathrow broke the July record reaching 36.7°C. There were also several sites in northern England which broke their all-time July records e.g. Durham, Sheffield and Bradford where temperatures widely peaked above 30°C. There has also been a clear north-west/south-east divide both in terms of temperature and rainfall through the summer, with the north-west being cooler and wetter and the south-east being warmer and drier, compared with the long term average.

    There has been a shift towards more unsettled weather in the past week or so, thanks to a change in the behaviour of the jet stream. Typically in summer, the jet stream lies to the north of the British Isles, channelling areas of wet and windy weather away from our shores. However, with a persistent area of high pressure sat over Scandinavia and north-west Russia, the jet stream has recently taken on a more meandering pattern. As a result, rather than areas of low pressure moving swiftly from west to east, we are now in a more blocked pattern whereby low pressure systems become slow-moving and rotate around each other. Unfortunately for the British Isles over the next few days at least, this will result in frequent outbreaks of rain and brisk winds with any drier and sunnier interludes in short supply.

    The upcoming week of unsettled weather also causes added difficulty to forecasters, as the areas expected to see the heaviest rain and/or strongest winds is highly dependent on the track of the areas of low pressure rotating around one another.

    Going against Bank Holiday tradition, there are hints that the late August Bank Holiday weekend may actually see an improvement in the weather in the UK. Whilst this is still several days ahead, there are hints that high pressure will become increasingly dominant from Saturday onwards bringing some welcome drier and sunnier weather, which could even last into the first few days of September.

    By: John Lee