The UK’s record-breaking heatwave has come to end with a new low-pressure system sweeping across the country today, bringing with it thundery showers and violent storms. While many will be eager for a chance to cool down after this week’s searing temperatures, the Met Office has issued a raft of weather warnings for rain. And weather forecasters say we could be in for a dreary weekend, as the hot and humid temperatures die out in favour of some damp and drizzly conditions.
“Intense thunderstorms” are expected to continue in the north of the country and towards Scotland, where the Met Office warns heavy showers “may bring 10 to 20mm per hour for some places during Saturday”.
Met Check warned the “heaviest, most frequent and prolonged showers” are likely to be found across parts of western Scotland and Northern Ireland today – but scattered showers are expected across the whole of the UK.
The forecast said: “A big change in the weather across many parts of Britain and Ireland this weekend as low pressure moves in from the west, pushing away the hot and humid conditions of recent days to leave a cooler and fresher weekend with showers or longer spells of rain affecting most regions.
“Already this morning showery outbreaks of rain are moving in from the southwest around that area of low pressure, some of the showers locally quite heavy and even bringing a rumble or two of thunder in places.
“If you are lucky enough to start the day off on a dry note it’s unlikely to last with most places catching at least a shower and some areas seeing some pretty heavy and perhaps thundery downpours which could merge into longer spells of rain at times.”
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Temperatures are expected to peak at a maximum of 23C in the UK today – but no where near the highs much of Britain has seen this week.
The mercury reached its peak on Thursday after 33.4C (92.1F) was recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London. And on Friday, temperatures reached a maximum of 31.2C, recorded at Kew Gardens in London.
Today, however, the UK will see a drop of about 10C with many waking up to lows of 13C this morning.
Into the rest of the day, temperatures will remain steady at about 14C to 15C, with some parts struggling to reach 20C.
The changeable conditions come as an area of low pressure swoops in over Britain today, bringing the potential for wide spread showers across most of the country.
The Netweather TV forecast for this weekend reads: “An area of low pressure will move northeast across Ireland towards the west of Scotland during Saturday, spreading fronts across the UK bringing bands of showers across many areas, showers locally heavy with thunder in places.
“Some dry and sunny intervals at times too. A breezy day and feeling much fresher across all parts with the warm and humid plume shoved away to the east by low pressure moving in.
“Temperatures reaching 16 to 19C across the north and west, 19 to 21C across the south and east.”
Forecaster Nick Finnis added an “upper low will move in from the Atlantic across Ireland on Saturday, with surface low over Ireland drifting north and deepening to be centred close to the west of Scotland by 00z Sunday.
“Unstable warm/moist plume of the last few days has cleared most of Britain but still hangs on for a time across the far N and NE of Scotland, where elevated thunderstorms continue to spread NW here for a time this morning, bringing heavy rain and frequent lightning, before clearing away here, though may affect the Northern Isles for a time.
“Otherwise, cooler showery regime spreads northeast across all parts through Saturday behind occluding cold front clearing N and E across the UK this morning, bringing a band of rain.
“Showers will spiral N and NE across the UK around the low moving N over Ireland. Any storms may produce hail, gusty winds and localised flooding.
“Thunderstorms most likely from Wales/Midlands/Cambs northwards, so 30 percent probabilities mapped here, though isolated lightning possible with any heavier showers south of this.”
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Met Office Operational Meteorologist Martin Bowles warned “here will be frequent showers with heavy thunder.”
He told The Sun Online: “On Saturday we are talking about most parts of the country having potential for showers which could be heavy particularly in the Midlands and Northern England and Northern Ireland.
“There are some weather warning for thunderstorms and rain in Scotland which could cause some minor local flooding.
“On Sunday there will be a bit more of the same – showers will be less frequent. Most of the showers and the strong winds will be in Scotland.”
However, ITV forecasts the thunderstorms will slowly clear on Saturday.
Showers will become heaviest and most prolonged in the north, but “it will generally feel fresher than of late with temperatures much lower, and it will also become rather windy across many central and southern parts,” the forecast says.
The Weather Outlook adds: “Saturday starts with outbreaks of rain affecting much of the UK and there are still some thunderstorms in eastern Scotland.
“Through the day showery bands of rain spread northeastwards and some heavy bursts are likely to be mixed in.
“Despite that there will be sunny spells too with the best of them in the south this afternoon.”
Sunday is expected to bring more rain, although storms are forecast to be less frequent.
Parts of Britain could also see some sunny spells this weekend, although with markedly lower temperatures.
The Met Office forecast for Sunday says: “Heavy and persistent rain in parts of northwestern Britain. Sunny spells and scattered, blustery showers in the south.
“Windy for many with coastal gales in north. Much cooler again.”
Today’s forecast comes after parts of Yorkshire were pelted with giant hailstones the size of a £2 coin on Friday afternoon.
Images of the massive hailstones – about 4cm in size – were posted on social media as witnesses were in awe of their gigantic size.
Craig Snell, a meteorologist with the Met Office, said hailstones seen in winter were “quite small”, but heat in summer months gives thunderstorms more energy.
This “helps keep the hailstones up in the clouds for longer, they get to grow more and then fall from the sky.”
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