John Hammond’s Month Ahead – Heatwave ends (or is it just a noisy blip?)

What a week! I may have exported Sara to Florida, but imported some Floridian-style heat in exchange. And now it’s all going bang! Some may not like thunderstorms, but they seem to be a fittingly dramatic finale to what’s been a remarkable heatwave. I’ve been flagging up this big change in the weather for a while. But whether you’re a sun-seeking holiday-maker or a rain-starved grower, the big question is whether it’s a blip or a more lasting shift in our summer.


A break in the drought 

Some useful rain

Heat bites back?



Remember the heatwave?

Many plants will be grateful for some precious drops of rain

The seemingly permanent block of hot and dry air which has held sway so far this summer has been breached, allowing the jet stream to flood in – and with it, rain. Hopefully you’ve re-discovered your waterproof!

Yes – blustery winds and showers will greet us in the new week. And with temperatures over ten degrees lower than in the previous week, the word ‘fresher’ might feel like an understatement. Westerly winds will ensure that August starts in very different fashion to most of June and July.

There are hints from some computer forecast models that the heat will make a comeback later in the week. It’s a possibility. As the weekend approaches, high pressure will push the rain clouds away and temperatures will be surging up again. So the going could be firming up once more on the Sussex Downs in time for Glorious Goodwood.


Deja vu? Unlikely, I think



Hang on! Here we go again?

Another burst of hot and sunny weather is possible but for how long?

There will be hopes and fears that we’re back to square one, with blue skies and high temperatures dominant across much of the UK. Deja vu? Unlikely, I think. I expect any renewed hot and sunny weather to be temporary. Through the week the jet stream will begin to stir once more – a second wind?

Very gradually I expect cooler breezes to filter in from the northwest. It may take longer for rain-clouds to arrive, especially across the south of the UK. But by the ‘Glorious Twelfth’, many a northern moorland will be cloaked in cloud.

I must stress the uncertainty in this week’s weather. But for Cowes Week, after a gentle start, I expect breezes to freshen through the Solent – good news for sailors.

I’d pack the wellies and the sun-cream!



Normal service (slowly) resumes 

Rain looks likely to return later on in August

So, as I’ve been suggesting for some time, August looks like turning into a rather different month compared with its two predecessors. But as I’ve also been saying, I don’t expect the summer to come to a sudden ‘washout’ conclusion – we’ll leave that for subsequent months. More likely is a continued gradual transition to more typical weather for the time of year. There’ll be some rain – much more than we’ve been used to. Our gardens, parks and farmland should show an eager response too. But for holidaymakers, there’ll be some sunshine; and for many, temperatures will be in a more comfortable bracket than the excesses we’ve seen in recent weeks.

The festival season is reaching a peak of course, and appropriately, I think there’ll be some ‘festival-like’ weather. So if you’re off to the Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons or, later in the month, Carfest South in Hampshire or the Big Feastival in the Cotswolds, the same rules apply. I’d pack the wellies and the sun-cream!

As for the Bank Holiday… I’ll leave that dangling for a while longer!

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