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Weather news and views from Brian Gaze.

Drought conditions continue

Is a heatwave on the way?

Published 6th August 2022, 11:06

The dry weather has continued in much of southern Britain and although temperatures have dipped recently there is a lot of discussion about the likelihood of another heatwave. Will it happen?

Is another heatwave on the way?

The short answer is yes. During the coming days temperatures will be climbing, especially in southern Britain. The GEFS data table below shows forecast maximums from all of the individual runs in the ensemble model. It suggests the hottest conditions will be between Thursday 11th and Sunday 14th August. 

During that period virtually all of the model runs are foresting temperatures to peak at above 26C (78F). Around 40% are going for values higher than 30C (86F) on Friday and Saturday. The comparable data table from the ECMWF model has more than 70% of its runs climbing above 30C (86F). 


GEFS 00z London 2m max temperature forecast

GEFS 00z London 2m max temperature forecast


A consideration of the ensemble data as a whole suggests that 30C (86F) is likely to be reached or exceeded on a number of days next week in the southern half of Britain. There is also a reasonable chance of the mid 30Cs being hit.

One increasingly important factor is that the days are now quickly shortening. Therefore, less time is available for the heat to build, so it is unlikely that the UK temperature record which was set last month will fall. 

Beyond August 14th there is a signal from both the ECM ENS and GEFS models for temperatures to start dipping. A number of the runs show high pressure becoming centred to the west of the UK and cooler air pushing down from the north. It is too early to be confident about that scenario, but a number of the higher resolution deterministic models have shown it too, so it is definitely a possibility.  

When will it rain?

The lack of rain in southern Britain has been making the news headlines recently and unfortunately the completely dry conditions are set to continue for a good while yet. 

The GEFS data table below shows the rain forecast from all of the runs in the ensemble model. Light grey is used to indicate no rain at the given time and dark grey suggests very small amounts. In simple terms the data suggests there won't be any rain before 13th August. Between 13th and 21st August, which is as far as the forecast reaches, the chance of rain increases a little, but many of the individual runs keep it completely dry.  

GEFS 00z London rain forecast
GEFS 00z London rain forecast


Predictions from computer models can change quickly when looking more than one week ahead. Nonetheless, there has been a high degree of consistency recently with a continuation of the dry conditions favoured in the medium term. It may well be that significant rain won't arrive in much of the south before September.

One caveat to throw in is the possibility of thunderstorms. The chance of them could increase and they would bring the possibility of large amounts of rain, at least locally.  


The four words which probably best sum up the weather in the coming week in southern Britain are: Warm. Very warm. Hot. Dry. In the north things remain more changeable at times, but even there it should be fine for much of the time. 

In the south it increasingly looks as though summer 2022 may end-up being be spoken of in the same breath as 2018, 2006, 2003, 1995 and even 1976.   

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