Met Office gives verdict on May heatwave as ‘mixed conditions’ loom after heavy storms
The forecaster has warned of changing conditions later this month after parts of the UK were hit by heavy rain and thunderstorms
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Several yellow warnings for thunderstorms were issued by the forecaster this week for swathes of the country, with downpours causing flash flooding and disruption.
A major incident was declared in Somerset after heavy rain on Tuesday (9 May) caused homes to be evacuated due to mudslides. Some areas saw more than two weeks’ worth of rainfall in the space of just a few hours.
As for whether the weather will brighten this month, the Met Office said there will be changing conditions which will bring “some sunny spells” mixed with a “few showers”.
The forecaster said: “A band of rain will erratically move east across most parts of the UK early next week, but possibly largely fizzle out before reaching southeast England. At the same time, a ridge of high pressure will likely build to the west of the UK, before toppling across many areas over the following few days.
“Pressure will probably remain relatively high across southern and central parts of the UK, bringing some sunny spells throughout the remainder of the period, although a few showers are also possible, and potential for quite a keen breeze, at least for a time, in the southeast.
“Further north and west, there is a greater chance of occasional rain. Temperatures generally near average and feeling warm in the best of the sunshine.”
In regard to the prospect of any warm, hot weather coming up, the Met Office said “confidence during this period is low”.
The forecaster added: “Currently signals suggest high pressure dominating at first, bringing a fair amount of dry and bright weather, but turning more generally unsettled later in the period, with a greater chance of low pressure being the dominant feature.
“Perhaps greater confidence, relatively, can be found in temperatures being generally near to or a little above average through this period.”
In a video on Monday evening (8 May), senior Meteorologist Greg Dewhurst explained that the recent wet weather had been caused by a powerful burst from the jet stream blowing in frontal systems sitting over the Atlantic, adding that “high pressure” will start to build towards the end of the week and into the weekend.
Last year the UK had one of its hottest summers on record, with temperatures rising above 40C for the first time.
The United Nations has warned that this year there could be higher global temperatures and possibly new heat records as the chance of an El Niño weather phenomenon developing in the coming months has risen.
El Niño is a naturally occurring climate pattern typically associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere. It last occurred in 2018-19.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on 3 May that it now estimated there was a 60% chance that El Niño would develop by the end of July, and an 80% chance it would do so by the end of September.