A dry, settled Bank Holiday weekend - warm in the sunshine, cool without

High pressure is keeping our UK weather dry and settled but the air isn't hot or humid. It will feel warm in any sunshine but cooler in the breeze, under thicker cloud or in the evenings. There'll also be a high fire danger risk.

Issued: 26th May 2023 12:07

The May highest temperature record is 32.8C from back in 1944, so back in WWII. So far this year the UK has seen 23.4C at Cardiff and over the Bank Holiday weekend that is the kind of top value being forecast. 23 or 24C, with many places reaching the high teens to low twenties. It’s not a scorcher coming up but there will be some warm sunshine. It will feel like it has already this week. 

FRiday temperatures

We need to think about the air mass and the sun’s rays. This air is not pumping up from north Africa, across Spain and France. It is caught up around a steady high pressure which is bringing a lot of settled, dry weather to the UK but the air is either from the north Atlantic, or off the North Sea. It’s not a humid, muggy direction and it soon cools off in the evening and where any cloud lingers.

As we sit under mostly dry weather and the anticyclone, Spain and Portugal have been seeing cloud and rain from a low pressure with torrential rain in places.

The sun is strong at this time of year. UV levels are now high, that has nothing to do with the air temperature value. A covering of thin cloud won’t stop you getting burnt, the UV rays still get through. When you are sitting in the sunshine, it can feel very warm especially in sheltered spots or where the winds are very light. The sun heats the ground which warms the air at the surface and it can feel very pleasant by day. Once the sun goes, behind a cloud or after dark, the temperatures fall away because the airmass is not that warm.

The overall theme includes lots of fine, dry weather and warm sunshine., However, at times there will be more cloud and a cool breeze. Eastern Britain will feel the cool breeze off the North Sea on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, so the highest temperatures will be inland and further west. For northern England down to the West Country on Saturday, around the Bristol Channel to Hampshire on Sunday and then northern Britain with hardly any wind on Monday but some uncertainty about the position of the high pressure by then. There still could be a cool flow off the sea for say Northeast England.

The Jetstream is away to the north of the UK, high pressure remains nearby into next week and there is little rain in the forecast as we head towards the start of June.

One of the impacts of Climate Change will be harsher extremes of weather and more frequent severe weather events. Drought conditions after lengthy lack of rain, which affects agriculture and so food production. Our water supplies are affected and eventually, where is habitable, which leads to social pressure, hunger and conflict. Then torrential rains appear and there can be devastating flooding as huge rainfall totals fall on hard, dry ground which is unable to take in the water.

As high pressure remains close to the UK, unsettled weather will persist over Iberia 'The positive anomaly in rainfall for the next week is confirmed: unstable atmosphere with widespread showers  The trend for the rest of June is similar   Significant positive contribution to the rainfall deficit.' AEMET Spain

This has been happening in Italy and Spain this month. The Italian F1 Grand Prix was cancelled. There has been flooding in the past few days in familiar Spanish resorts along the east coast Costas. With a background of long-term drought, water supply stress and extreme fire danger.

Fire danger risk Europe UK

The Fire Severity index is high is for England and inland Wales, so this weekend with the ongoing dry weather Councils and Fire Services continue their pleas for people to take care. The Index looks at 'if a fire did start, what are the conditions like, how likely is it that the fire would spread'. Disposing of litter and cigarettes carefully and considering other options to disposable BBQs will help. Using less water and more efficiently. A May Bank Holiday might mean a time for DIY or pottering in the garden. Nurseries are identifying drought-friendly plants now and setting up a water butt can help as we head into summer. Trying to shop second-hand or borrowing tools from a Tool Loan bank or even fixing items at a Repair café. Getting out for a walk or bike ride would be ideal this weekend with plenty of dry, fine weather on offer.

UK weather scorcher

Many of us will be looking forward to warm sunshine and dry weather on a few days off but there has to be a balance of how we view long stretches of dry weather here in the UK. The endless chasing of high number temperatures or ‘a scorcher’. This weekend, just remember your sunscreen. 

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