UK weather: Where has summer gone? (2024)

UK weather: Where has summer gone? (1)Image source, BBC Weather Watchers / birdman

Helen Willetts and Darren Bett

BBC Weather

  • Published

Remember our few days of summer heat last month? Already it seems like such a long time ago.

Cool, cloudy and occasionally wet weather has returned. It seems like summer has taken a holiday.

So, where has summer gone and is the weather going to improve any time soon?

Why has it cooled down?

It is all about the jet stream and importantly its position in relation to the UK.

For most of our autumn, winter and spring the jet stream was close to our shores, throwing endless areas of low pressure and their associated weather fronts and strong winds our way.

This culminated in some very wet weather for us. However, towards the end of June, it finally migrated northwards, allowing high pressure from the Azores to build and bring warm weather our way.

But the jet stream has been on the move again and for the start of July it is back across our latitude and with it so is the cooler, cloudier weather.

Image source, BBC Weather

We can take a little comfort that were not alone in this week's cooling trend as Atlantic air swept across much of the continent.

This graphic below shows the temperature anomaly: how the temperature differs from the average conditions expected for a particular place at a given time of year. Blue indicates colder than average, and red hotter.

In the next few days some eastern parts of Europe may warm up but temperatures in Iberia are expected to fall again. Here in the UK the temperature doesn't change much and we are still "blue".

How did June shape up?

June in the UK on the whole was cooler than average, in contrast to last year's record breaking heat.

Indeed, surprisingly, for some areas May was actually warmer than June.

Cold Arctic winds dominated the first half of the month leaving temperatures two degrees Celsius below average.

The late June warmth helped to offset this a little and in parts of south-east England temperatures exceeded 28C for several days.

Perhaps most notable, however, was how dry June was - the first drier than average month for some time. Only Northern Scotland exceeded its average rainfall.

Is our weather going to improve this weekend?

The short answer is - not significantly.

It is a familiar pattern this weekend where low pressure will be more dominant. Lower pressure means air is more likely to rise. This leads to cloud formation and, in turn, the likelihood of rain.

On Saturday there will be showers or longer spells of rain. Drier and sunnier weather is more likely to develop in southern England, Wales later.

Sunday is looking drier in Scotland but heavy, and perhaps thundery, showers are forecast to drive eastwards over the rest of the UK.

It is also going to be disappointingly cool. Temperatures will range from 13 to 18 Celsius. That is still several degrees below the seasonal norm.

Details for next week keep changing. There is still rain in the forecast but it could turn a touch warmer.

How about Wimbledon?

Wimbledon without any rain interruptions is unusual and play could again be affected by the weather this weekend.

Saturday is looking like a blustery day with sunny spells and the risk of showers, especially early in the day.

Sunday, at the moment, is looking much wetter. Heavy showers are likely during the afternoon and evening and there is even a risk of thunder and lightning.

It used to be that there would only be play on the middle Sunday of Wimbledon, or People's Sunday as it was called, if there were lots of rain delays during the first week. But, in 2022, it officially became a regular day of play at the Championships.

The second week of Wimbledon could continue to be hit by rain delays with no signs of any prolonged dry and sunny weather.

Image source, PA

And the Euros?

You may have noticed the torrential downpours that have affected play at the Euros earlier in the tournament.

Since then the weather has cooled down in Germany too. There is nothing too dramatic in the sky on Friday over Germany - Saturday could be different story, however.

The same weather system that is affecting the UK could push heavy rain and thunderstorms across Germany on Saturday. Dusseldorf, in the west of Germany, will be the first to see any storms and they could coincide with the England v Switzerland quarter-final.

It is worth keeping up to date with our latest forecasts for the UK and around the world online and via the BBC Weather app.

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UK weather: Where has summer gone? (2024)

FAQs

Why has the UK summer been so wet? ›

The jet stream is responsible for making and moving around areas of high and low pressure. Over recent weeks the jet stream pattern has got a bit stuck with troughs over Greenland and the North Atlantic forming low pressures that have subsequently tracked slowly over the UK bringing unsettled weather.

Is the UK having a heatwave in 2024? ›

UK Heatwave July 2024: Exact Date a Scorching 10-Day 40C Heatwave Is Forecast For Britain.

Why is July so cold this year in the UK? ›

But the jet stream has been on the move again and for the start of July it is back across our latitude and with it so is the cooler, cloudier weather. We can take a little comfort that were not alone in this week's cooling trend as Atlantic air swept across much of the continent.

Why is Scotland so cold this summer? ›

Mr MacColl said the jet stream was in a west to north-westerly orientation across the North Atlantic. He said: "This has resulted in Scotland often being either under, or more commonly, on the cold side of the jet.

Why is weather so bad in the UK in 2024? ›

It all comes down to the jet stream, a fast-moving strand of air five to seven miles above the Earth that blows west to east. The jet stream has flowed across the UK or further south, allowing areas of low pressure to move in, which brings wind, rain and cooler temperatures.

Is the UK getting wetter or drier? ›

On average, the UK saw more than 12 snow days each winter in 1971-2000. This dropped to 9.5 snow days each winter by 1991-2020. As the climate continues to warm, the UK can expect winters to continue getting warmer and wetter.

What is the hottest country in the world? ›

Mali. The title of the hottest country in the world goes to Mali. The West African country experiences a predominantly hot desert climate, particularly in the northern regions, while the southern parts have a semi-arid climate that receives very little rainfall.

How long did the 1976 UK heatwave last? ›

The heatwave of 1976 started in June and lasted for two months. There was a lack of rainfall and a significant drought, with the government enforcing water rationing. The heatwave was rare for that decade. The average maximum temperature in July in the 1970s was 18.7C .

How hot will UK summer be in 2050? ›

The current annual temperature is roughly 8.8 degrees Celsius, but by 2050 temperatures could rise to between 9.1 degrees Celsius and 11.7 degrees Celsius. The probability of heatwaves could also increase five-fold. In July 2021, the highest ever temperature in England was recorded in Heathrow at 40.2 degrees Celsius.

Are UK summers getting hotter? ›

Global heating means UK summers are more than a degree warmer than in the 1970s. Until 2003, the hottest day recorded in the UK stood at 38.5C, but that was broken in 2019, with 38.7C, and again in 2022, with 40.3C, followed by the hottest June on record last year.

Why is the weather in the UK becoming more extreme? ›

Sea levels around the UK have risen significantly, particularly over the past 30 years. Additionally, changes in sunshine and wind patterns have been noted, with 2022 being notably sunny. Extreme weather events, like the unprecedented heatwave and significant storms, highlight the trend towards more extreme conditions.

Why are UK winters getting colder? ›

A reduction in the temperature difference between the equator and the North Pole due to declining sea ice could potentially reduce the strength of the westerly winds, leading to a greater occurrence of negative NAO and an increase the risk of cold winters. However, warming could also cause air to rise over the Arctic.

Is the weather worse in Scotland than England? ›

In our warmest months, our average temperature sits around 18°C (around 64°F), and in our coldest months, it's around 0°C (around 32°F). Scotland is often at the mercy of the low-pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic ocean. This means it's generally cloudier, rainier, and windier than in England.

Does it ever get warm in Scotland? ›

June, July and August are normally the warmest months in Scotland, with average maximum temperatures around 17°C (or 63 °F). Scotland's high latitude means that we enjoy lovely long summer days and often an extended twilight.

Is Scotland as cold as Canada? ›

Comparatively in Scotland, winters are typically mild and fluctuating. Braemar, which is the coldest area in Britain, can get some decent snowfall, but the temperatures aren't consistent enough for it to stay long. A snowfall that would shut Britain down would be similar to a normal winter day in some parts of Canada.

Why are we getting so much rain in the UK? ›

'Never-ending' UK rain made 10 times more likely by climate crisis, study says. The seemingly “never-ending” rain last autumn and winter in the UK and Ireland was made 10 times more likely and 20% wetter by human-caused global heating, a study has found.

Is the UK a wet country? ›

The general pattern of the climate across the UK has four distinct regions: south-east – cold winters, warm and dry summers. south-west – mild and very wet winters, warm and wet summers. north-west – mild winter, cool summers and heavy rain all year.

Why is UK weather so humid? ›

Because it has an oceanic climate. It's surrounded by sea. Lots of sea = lots of humidity and precipitation. On the flip side, we (usually) avoid extremes of temperature, both high and low.

Why has the UK summer been so cold? ›

Recently, the jet stream has looped south of the UK, exposing the country to cooler northern air. “The jet stream has set up this pressure pattern that allows the winds at the surface to come down from the north and bring us the Arctic air,” says Alex Deakin, a meteorologist at the Met Office.

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