August bank holiday weather

Will the heat return?

20th August 2022


The summer has brought record-breaking heat to the UK with 40C reached for the first time. There have also been long dry periods with much of southern Britain parched and now under a drought order.

However, the weather has turned more changeable recently with temperatures dipping and most places seeing some rain. Will things settle down again in time for the August bank holiday weekend?

Sunny weather on the beach

Fine weather for a stroll on the beach?

High pressure may return

Computer models are suggesting that pressure will be rising during the run up to the bank holiday weekend. If correct, it points to an increasing chance of settled weather, but the details will depend on where the high pressure becomes centred.

The chart below shows the pressure forecasts from the GEFS ensemble model for London. The blue box highlights the bank holiday weekend period.

The orange shading is used to show the percentage of runs forecasting high pressure. The yellow shading, which is dominant, covers quite a wide range of outcomes but most of them are forecasting pressure to be higher than the 30 year average.

Mean Surface Level Pressure data table for London
London pressure forecasts for the bank holiday period

Therefore, the key point to note is that higher than average pressure is being favoured as the most likely outcome for the bank holiday weekend. 

High pressure centred to the north?

There are signs of the high pressure being centred to the north of the UK as shown on the forecast chart below for Sunday 28th August. 

Pressure forecast chart for Sunday 28th August 2022

If correct, it means the likelihood of rain is lower in the north than the south. In the south there is a chance that areas of low pressure over continental Europe will push far enough north to bring the risk of showery rain.

Conversely, it could be that computer models are positioning the high pressure too far north. If that is the case, weather fronts from the Atlantic may start to bring the risk of rain to the north west of the UK.

Both of the above possibilities need watching in the coming days. 

Measuring the risk of rain

Is it possible to measure the risk of rain during the bank holiday period and give some actual numbers? The Will it rain calculator helps with this because it uses data from a number of computer models to generate a percentage chance of rain on a given day for a given location.

At the time of publication the chance of rain for the bank holiday period is: 

London 21% to 39% (Latest London update)

Manchester 15% to 30% (Latest Manchester update)

Newcastle 15% to 27% (Latest Newcastle update)

Cornwall 15% to 21% (Latest Cornwall update)

Lake District 21% on each day (Latest Lake District update)

Glasgow 21% to 24% (Latest Glasgow update)

The forecast is updated every 6 hours by using new computer model data. Follow the links above for the latest view or select any UK location from Will it rain.

Promising outlook

The meteorological summer ends on August 31st so a fine bank holiday weekend would be a fitting end to what has in many ways been an exceptional season. Although it is very unlikely that all of the UK will be dry for all of the three-day bank holiday period, the signal from computer models at the time of publication is for predominantly settled weather.

Unusually, the driest conditions may be in the north with a greater chance of showers in the south. Due to the positioning of the high pressure area temperatures are unlikely to be notable. Nonetheless, warmer than average conditions are favoured so it could be great weather to be outdoors.

Finally, remember that in the UK it is difficult to be confident about the weather when looking a week or more ahead. If you are planning outdoor activities during the August bank holiday period keep an eye on the short range forecasts through the coming days.

More information

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