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Blowtorch back in August?

Hot spell possible

Posted Mon, 25 Jul 2016 13:45

August can bring the hottest weather of the summer despite the lengthening nights. The UK's all time temperature record was set at Faversham, Kent in August 2003 when 38.5C (101.3F) was reached. Could the heat return in the next few weeks?

Blowtorch on the way back?

In the short term the weather looks quite changeable with all regions seeing showers or longer spells of rain at times. Even the south which has been dry recently is likely to have measurable amounts of rain. The London GEFS6z chart below shows forecast 850hPa temperatures on the upper plot and rainfall on the lower one. Between July 27th and July 29th rainfall ticks up and even beyond this some rainfall spikes appear as we head into August, suggesting a dry picture during this period isn't assured.

The other interesting aspect on the plot is what happens to 850hPa temperatures. Quite a wide spread of possible outcomes develop as the forecast looks further ahead. This is to be expected, however quite a lot of the individual runs show a significant warm up. By the 4th August quite a few have 850hPa values of over +10C, which suggests temperatures over 25C down at ground level. By 7th August a few runs really begin to turn on the furnace, and one briefly hits an exceptional +22C. If this happened we could start to see temperature records being challenged. I'll quickly point out these blowtorch scenarios are in a minority at the moment but the GEFS has been flirting with them in the last few days. We could well see extreme heat breaking out of southern Europe during this period but the plume may end up to the east of the UK over the low countries and northern France.  

GEFS6z 850hPa temperatures

Summary

There is a chance of hot weather returning during the early part of August but at the moment it's just one of the options the computer models are toying with. I'll not make a prediction at this stage but will say that we've seen several of these short but very intense Spanish Plumes developing in the last few years. The reservoir of heat available in southern Europe seems to have been exceptional in the last few years and this increases the possibility of a sudden and dramatic heat ramp in the UK.  

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