Hot and thundery

  • A visible satellite image of the large and vigorous low pressure system centred over the UK on Saturday 20th August 2016.

    A forecast chart illustrating mean sea level pressure and 850hPa temperatures. The image highlights the sharp gradient in temperature across the UK next week which will result in a heightened risk of thunderstorms.

    Lightning strike photographed from The Shard, London. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire.

    Beaches were often crowded during the heatwave of 2003. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Images

  • Hot and thundery
    20.08.2016 12:30

    A warm southerly plume looks set to develop next week with very warm and moist air moving north towards the British Isles from the continent. It looks set to turn hot in the south-east with temperatures expected to approach 30C in places. There is also the growing risk of thunderstorms developing widely towards the end of the week.


    Today’s deep low pressure system will move into the North Sea early on Sunday with a transient high pressure ridge moving in. It will be a bright day on Sunday for much of Britain with sunny spells and just occasional showers, these becoming increasingly isolated. However, another low pressure system will approach the north-west of the British Isles and its associated rain-bands will move east across the UK overnight Sunday and during the first half of Monday. The rain will clear from England and Wales though as the southerly air-flow begins to feed in from the continent.

    On Tuesday, a frontal zone is expected to extend across north-western areas of the UK marking the boundary between hot and humid air to the south and cooler air to the north. This frontal zone will push north as high pressure builds across southern Britain. It will become dry and fine with warm sunshine for the bulk of England and Wales. However, rain will be heavy and persistent for a while in north-western Scotland.

    Spanish plume

    As we move towards mid-week it looks like a very warm plume of air will be advected across Britain as high pressure builds over central Europe feeding southerly winds into the UK. It will be dry, warm and sunny for most and turning hot in the south-east. Current temperature projections indicate temperatures could approach 30C by Thursday.

    However, with the heat there will also be the risk of thundery downpours. Weather data is now indicating the threat of quite widespread storms across England and Wales late Thursday and Friday. These storms have the potential to be quite vigorous as a sharp thermal gradient will lie across Britain

    The warm spell is not expected to last long though as areas of low pressure over the North Atlantic are expected to track towards the British Isles next weekend. However, it looks like southernmost parts of England will stay largely dry and fine.

    Make sure to check back for regular updates on the developing hot spell next week with the potential for some active thunderstorms towards the end of the week!

    By: Matthew Martin