John Hammond’s Month Ahead – Heatwave and hype… any end in sight?

Sara’s been on my case, and she’s not the only one! Well, wouldn’t life be boring if we got the forecast right all the time?!

Despite earlier signs of change, this remarkable spell goes on. An apparent ‘force-field’ of dry and hot weather has built up over northern Europe to repeatedly defy our scientific models’ ‘attempts’ to get things back to normal. It just goes to show how much less we know about the quirks of the atmosphere than we sometimes think.

Earlier in the week I was discussing this with a good friend, who also happens to be one of the top meteorologists in the country. We mused over one factor that may be behind this extraordinary year of extreme weather – the behaviour of the sun. Scientists are only just beginning to uncover the links between the natural cycle of sun-spots and our weather patterns. Well, we’re currently heading into an historic ‘minimum’ in sun-spot activity. Could this have profound effects on our weather through the rest of this year, and indeed beyond? More on that in later blogs…


Another burst of heat 

Extreme temperatures unlikely

Wetter August



We’re on the edge

As I write this, there’s actually a splash of rain affecting some parts of the UK. And after a drier weekend, some northwestern parts of the UK, especially western Scotland and Northern Ireland, will see further cool and damp interludes through the new week. In contrast, further south and east across the UK, heat and drought will be resurgent.

Beyond the hype, most of us will spend the week in the 20s rather than the 30s


Now I’ve noticed some soothsayers are predicting the arrival of record-breaking heat as the week progresses. Ok – some occasional computer runs are wafting some very hot air our way. But most are not, and we should be wary of those who cherry-pick the evidence. Beyond the hype, most of us will spend the week in the 20s rather than the 30s.

But it will be a sticky heat, and with this humidity comes the prospect of scattered thunderstorms, especially towards the weekend. However, at Camp Bestival in Dorset and Carfest North in Cheshire, suncream should be more essential than showerproofs.



A slow slide

We reach the end of the month with an uneasy stand-off between European heat and Atlantic cool. While some of us will start August in a sweat, for others (especially across parts of western Scotland and Northern Ireland), the heat and drought will already be a fading memory.

Slowly but surely I expect the balance to shift more decidedly towards rain as low pressure nudges the European high and dry block to the ‘right’. This will be an erratic process and, with hot and humid air being sucked into the mix, probably a noisy one too. Thunderstorms may provide a dramatic end to this remarkable spell. The downpours will not suit holidaymakers, but will be welcomed by a nation of gardeners and thousands of farmers too. And the going at Glorious Goodwood may well begin to soften as this marquee event in the sporting calendar arrives.

Of course, previous forecasts of an end to the dry spell have been confounded. But as I wrote last week, I see a very different look to August’s weather. The rain may be delayed but it won’t be denied.

…even the top forecasters in the country are scratching their heads



Payback time?

After the driest start to summer for almost half a century, something’s got to give soon. Holidaymakers might want to look away now. I expect low pressure to take centre stage as August progresses; and that means rain. Initially I expect it to be quite sporadic and showery in nature, but with time, Atlantic fronts will brings more widespread wetter weather.

As the second half of the month arrives I also expect a slow drop in temperatures. Cooler Atlantic winds will be the tell-tale of a resurgent jet stream. But it’s an ill wind that brings nobody any good. The sailors at Cowes Week will be grateful for a healthy breeze in the Solent.

So I continue to predict a big change through late summer. But this is a remarkable season and even some of the top forecasters in the country are scratching their heads as to what will happen next. So I tread warily. Believe me, the last thing I want is Sara on my case again!

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