UK weather latest: Met Offie blames terrible summer rain on northerly Arctic winds

Many Britons unhappy about the cold, windy start to the summer could be forgiven for wishing the new government could bring new weather, as grey clouds shroud much of the country and temperatures plunge.

In contrast to a warmer-than-average May, temperatures last month were around 2C below average, according to the Met Office.

Experts attribute the blustery weather over the past five weeks to northerly and northwesterly winds bringing cold Arctic air.

A low-pressure centre developed over Scandinavia in the second week of June, pushing further cold air from the north across the UK, the Met Office said.

An active jet stream running fast for the time of year has also been driving unsettled weather, said forecaster Alex Burkill.

A jet stream, a fast-moving ribbon of air five to seven miles above the earth, consists of powerful winds blowing from west to east.

Voters in many areas faced cold and drizzle (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
Voters in many areas faced cold and drizzle (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Jet streams are caused by different areas of heat, with warm air to the southern side and cold air on the north, encompassing the UK.

They are intensified by a strong polar vortex — a circulation of winds high in the stratosphere.

This year the jet stream has been further south than normal for summer, meteorologist Robert Thompson, from the University of Reading, told The Independent.

Forecaster Simon Partridge said this was a random variation, not down to climate change, and that jet streams are known about more now than in the past because science has evolved.

Last year the UK had the warmest June on record, and May and spring this year were also the UK’s warmest, part of a pattern of much more extreme and erratic weather now than in previous decades and centuries.

This weekend is forecast to be unsettled and cool, with both sunshine and showers.

Polling day brought windy weather (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA) (PA Archive)
Polling day brought windy weather (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA) (PA Archive)

“With the jet stream firmly to the south of the UK and low pressure in charge, this weekend will be changeable and cooler than average,” the Met Office said.

“It’s likely that almost everyone will see some showers at some point, perhaps some heavy, thundery ones especially on Sunday.

“There will be some sunny spells on offer, though, meaning it could feel fairly pleasant in between the showers, with temperatures possibly peaking around 18C or 19C.”

Britons had a short but sweet taste of summer heat for two days in late June (PA)
Britons had a short but sweet taste of summer heat for two days in late June (PA)

Mr Burkill said that next week temperatures would rise from several degrees below average to near normal for the time of year.

And weather forecasters were forced to deny suspicions by conspiracy theorists of secretive “weather manipulation” and “geoengineering“ by world governments.

One technique, “cloud seeding”, involving releasing tiny particles into clouds to produce rain, has in the past been used in the US, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, mostly to help tackle water shortages.

But there is no evidence of the UK government doing this, and the Met Office says it is not aware of any such activity in the UK in recent years.