Met Office warns of looming cold snap as it slams reports UK headed for 40C heatwave as ‘inaccurate’

Forecasters said the headlines are “not accurate” as it is “not possible” to know at the moment what temperatures will peak to this summer

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The Met Office has warned that a cold snap is looming as it dismisses reports the UK is headed for a heatwave as “not accurate” and “misleading”.

The national forecaster issued what it dubbed a #FactCheck to curb some of the recent claims that the country may bask in 40C heat in the coming weeks.

It said such sweltering temperatures is not the “current forecast period” and rather than getting warmer, conditions are actually “turning colder and more unsettled”. The Met Office added it is “not possible to forecast the highest temperature this summer at this range.”

In its latest update, it forecast temperatures in London to reach 8-9C this morning (Thursday 20 April) before rising to a high of 15C in the afternoon.

Beyond the afternoon, Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin said there is the possibility of “showers late in the day” as temperatures begin to cool.

Mr Deakin said there will “be quite a lot of cloud” on Friday (21 April) ahead of an overcast weekend.

Met Office warns of cold snap as 40C heatwave reports dismissed. (Photo: Getty Images) Met Office warns of cold snap as 40C heatwave reports dismissed. (Photo: Getty Images)
Met Office warns of cold snap as 40C heatwave reports dismissed. (Photo: Getty Images)

Along with overcast conditions, the forecaster predicts a high of 13C on Saturday (22 April) and 14C on Sunday (23 April).

The Met Office expects this Saturday to be unsettled with “showers or longer spells of rain” with conditions “turning increasingly cold with wintry showers from Sunday in Scotland”.

Both the Met Office and BBC report that temperatures will struggle to rise beyond 10-11C next Monday (24 April) and Tuesday (25 April).

Average temperatures are not expected to return until the end of the month with a warning that some parts of the country may see wintry showers next week.

According to the Met Office a UK heatwave threshold is only met when a “location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold”.

Last year eight counties had their heatwave threshold limit raised by the forecaster by 1C.

The new limits announced were:

  • 28C (82F) in Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire
  • 27C (81F) in Lincolnshire
  • and 26C (79F) in the East Riding of Yorkshire

Previous thresholds used data from 1981 to 2010, but the new limits are based on the period between 1991 and 2020.