Britain bursts into bloom as warm Algerian air sparks heatwave across Europe

June may have been grey and drab so far but that hasn’t been the case in this glorious corner of the country.

More than two acres are set aside for a spectacular wildflower meadow at Combe Cross Farm in Monksilver, near Taunton, Somerset.

Visitors are treated to a kaleidoscope of colours from species including field poppies, corn chamomile, corn marigold, cornflower, corncockle, bird’s-foot trefoil, red clover, sheep’s sorrel, viper’s-bugloss and knapweed.

Arable farmer Ken Sellick, 67, started the tradition four years ago when persistent rabbits and slugs forced him to retreat from an ‘awkward corner’ of his 320-acre business.

Word spread on social media and now each summer hundreds of people picnic among the flowers and enjoy the view across the Bristol Channel.

The spectacular two-acre wildflower meadow at Combe Cross Farm in Monksilver, near Taunton, Somerset. Visitors to the area are treated to a kaleidoscope of colours

The spectacular two-acre wildflower meadow at Combe Cross Farm in Monksilver, near Taunton, Somerset. Visitors to the area are treated to a kaleidoscope of colours

The spectacular two-acre wildflower meadow at Combe Cross Farm in Monksilver, near Taunton, Somerset. Visitors to the area are treated to a kaleidoscope of colours

Daisys now flourish here which help the bumblebee population

Daisys now flourish here which help the bumblebee population

Arable farmer Ken Sellick, 67, started the tradition four years ago when persistent rabbits and slugs forced him to retreat from an 'awkward corner' of his 320-acre business

Arable farmer Ken Sellick, 67, started the tradition four years ago when persistent rabbits and slugs forced him to retreat from an 'awkward corner' of his 320-acre business

Arable farmer Ken Sellick, 67, started the tradition four years ago when persistent rabbits and slugs forced him to retreat from an ‘awkward corner’ of his 320-acre business

Warm air over France, Germany and the Netherlands which has drifted north from Algeria will be drawn further to Britain and push up temperatures in South East England in a 'Saharan bubble'. Temperatures for Monday afternoon are displayed above

Warm air over France, Germany and the Netherlands which has drifted north from Algeria will be drawn further to Britain and push up temperatures in South East England in a 'Saharan bubble'. Temperatures for Monday afternoon are displayed above

Warm air over France, Germany and the Netherlands which has drifted north from Algeria will be drawn further to Britain and push up temperatures in South East England in a ‘Saharan bubble’. Temperatures for Monday afternoon are displayed above

A woman enjoys the warm weather on Brighton seafront in East Sussex today ahead of temperatures soaring next week

A woman enjoys the warm weather on Brighton seafront in East Sussex today ahead of temperatures soaring next week

A woman enjoys the warm weather on Brighton seafront in East Sussex today ahead of temperatures soaring next week

Sunrise on the summer solstice at Mogshade Pond in the New Forest in Hampshire this morning

Sunrise on the summer solstice at Mogshade Pond in the New Forest in Hampshire this morning

Sunrise on the summer solstice at Mogshade Pond in the New Forest in Hampshire this morning

A woman cycles through Cambridge this morning in the good weather

A woman cycles through Cambridge this morning in the good weather

A woman reads her book in the morning sun while walking to work in Cambridge

A woman reads her book in the morning sun while walking to work in Cambridge

A woman cycles through Cambridge this morning while another reads her book in the morning sunshine today

The breathtaking scene raises money for charities, with volunteers patrolling the spot to take donations and a collection tin near the picnic tables. Mr Sellick, who runs the farm with his wife Pauline, said the field proves that the definition of a weed is a plant that grows where you don’t want it.

Soggy spuds spell pricier chips

Fish and chip lovers face paying more for their meals later this year after the recent washout weather, farmers have warned.

More than double the typical June rainfall swamped swathes of the UK in just two days last week, raising fears that some potato crops may have been drowned.

The wet conditions also left many farmers unable to access soggy fields to spray protective fungicide. Andrew Lockhart, 24, fears he has lost up to five acres of his crop at his farm in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire. The supplier to oven chip giant McCain’s said: ‘There’s definitely going to be a shortage and a price increase anywhere from chip shops to supermarkets.

Fish and chip lovers face paying more for their meals later this year after the recent washout weather, farmers have warned

Fish and chip lovers face paying more for their meals later this year after the recent washout weather, farmers have warned

Fish and chip lovers face paying more for their meals later this year after the recent washout weather, farmers have warned

‘Some crops have completely drowned… we could produce 15 per cent less than we anticipated.’

The deluge comes a year after a heatwave caused a 20 per cent potato crop shortfall, with average prices of frozen potatoes in stores rising 8p to £1.88 in the quarter to September 2018.

‘My father spent most of his lifetime trying to control these weeds in cereal crops,’ he added. ‘He’s probably turning in his grave, but I hope he’d have a smile as well.’

This weekend may be the last chance to take full advantage of the display, however – the flowers will start to wilt in about a week’s time, and while the weather should change for the better this weekend, another downturn is due.

Drier and sunnier conditions today and tomorrow will replace the torrential downpours that have caused flooding and traffic chaos recently.

Temperatures should reach 24C (75.2F) in some places today and will continue to go up for the next few days, reaching 30C (86F) by mid-week.

But the hot weather will trigger violent thunderstorms from Monday, washing away any chance of barbecues and leaving people sweltering in their beds at night as they try to sleep.

Thousands took advantage of a break in this month’s miserable weather yesterday to watch the sun rise over Stonehenge in Wiltshire on the summer solstice.

And forecasters said the bright and sunny conditions would continue across England and Wales today and tomorrow. Temperatures will reach 22C (71.6F) in the North on both days and climb into the mid-20s in the South.

But Met Office spokesman Oliver Claydon said it was a ‘pleasant interlude’ before things change. An area of low pressure will start creeping over the country tomorrow afternoon, with rain pushing in from the South-West.

‘That will affect most parts of the UK as it moves north and east,’ Mr Claydon added.

‘At the same time, warmer air will be pulled up from Europe which is having record breaking temperatures.

‘It’s at this point that we’ll have yellow warnings in force for thunderstorms. This covers the whole of England apart from East Anglia and down to Southampton. Within that area there could be 20-30mm [around an inch] of rain in an hour.’

Mr Claydon added: ‘The longer term guidance is the unsettled and humid weather will continue into early July, when it may turn more settled with longer dry spells.’

It was only 12 months ago that Britain’s roads were beginning to melt in a summer heatwave, but this year has seen ‘flaming June’ so far extinguished by flash floods, burst river banks and even a tornado.

Now there are more wild weather swings in the air as conditions get a lot hotter – and a lot wetter – from next week. This weekend we can expect mostly fine weather for England and Wales, so it may be time to plan a picnic.

A punt chauffeur gets ready for what could be a good day with lots of sun in Cambridge this morning

A punt chauffeur gets ready for what could be a good day with lots of sun in Cambridge this morning

A punt chauffeur gets ready for what could be a good day with lots of sun in Cambridge this morning

A woman looks at her phone as she sits on the pebble beach at Brighton seafront in East Sussex today

A woman looks at her phone as she sits on the pebble beach at Brighton seafront in East Sussex today

A woman looks at her phone as she sits on the pebble beach at Brighton seafront in East Sussex today

Wildfire warning in heatwaves after 134 start this year

Firefighters watch a blaze on hills in California, US, in 2017

Firefighters watch a blaze on hills in California, US, in 2017

Firefighters watch a blaze on hills in California, US, in 2017

WILDFIRES have become more frequent in Britain over the past ten years, scientists say.

Already this year there have been 134 fires, compared to 79 for the whole of 2018.

Last year saw one of the biggest wildfires in recent times, on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester. The blaze broke out following the warmest winter day on record – 21C (69F) on February 26.

There were 19 wildfires in 2017 compared with only nine in 2016, according to satellite pictures which monitor large-scale incidents. The amount of land burnt by wildfires so far in 2019 was 72,036 acres, compared with 44,555 last year. Fire scientist Thomas Smith, of London School of Economics, confirmed to reporters yesterday that Britain has ‘become more flammable. I’m willing to say yes to that.’

Professor Smith added: ‘This is happening because of climate change. The Met Office has produced a report saying warm spells are increasing in length.

‘When you have longer warm spells, you have a longer time for fuel to dry.’

Kate Delow and her four-year-old daughter Martha in the lavender fields at Hitchin Lavender Farm in Hertfordshire today

Kate Delow and her four-year-old daughter Martha in the lavender fields at Hitchin Lavender Farm in Hertfordshire today

Kate Delow and her four-year-old daughter Martha in the lavender fields at Hitchin Lavender Farm in Hertfordshire today

A good day for punting on the River Cam in Cambridge today as people enjoy the conditions on the summer solstice

A good day for punting on the River Cam in Cambridge today as people enjoy the conditions on the summer solstice

A good day for punting on the River Cam in Cambridge today as people enjoy the conditions on the summer solstice

The sun rises over London this morning during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year

The sun rises over London this morning during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year

The sun rises over London this morning during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year

Sunrise over a poppy field in Worcestershire on the morning of the summer solstice

Sunrise over a poppy field in Worcestershire on the morning of the summer solstice

Sunrise over a poppy field in Worcestershire on the morning of the summer solstice

Early morning sunrise at Dungeness in Kent on the longest day of the year

Early morning sunrise at Dungeness in Kent on the longest day of the year

Early morning sunrise at Dungeness in Kent on the longest day of the year

But from late Sunday onwards, ‘severe’ thunderstorms are set to batter parts of the UK with a risk of localised flooding, the Met Office said as it issued severe weather warnings for England, Wales and Scotland.

Hundreds of jellyfish wash up on Devon beach

Hundreds of jellyfish washed up on Exmouth beach in Devon

Hundreds of jellyfish washed up on Exmouth beach in Devon

Hundreds of jellyfish washed up on Exmouth beach in Devon

These pictures show the moment a walker stumbled across hundreds of huge jellyfish washed up on a beach.

Ollie Keller was out in Exmouth, Devon, when he made the discovery, and he was amazed to see they ‘went on for miles’ along the beach.

Another man, Gary Qualter, spotted the jellyfish while out for a run and said that hundreds of them had washed up over a three-mile stretch.

This is the most recent sighting of the massive creatures, which have been washing up repeatedly on beaches in Devon and Cornwall in recent months. 

One of three jellyfish spotted washed up in Newlyn, Cornwall

One of three jellyfish spotted washed up in Newlyn, Cornwall

One of three jellyfish spotted washed up in Newlyn, Cornwall

Thunderstorm warnings are in place in parts of the UK from 12pm on Sunday until the end of Tuesday, with up to 4in (100mm) of rain expected to fall in eastern Scotland on Monday, and up to 2in (50mm) in England and Wales. 

Warm air over France, Germany and the Netherlands which has drifted north from Algeria will be drawn further to Britain and push up temperatures in South East England in what has been dubbed a ‘Saharan bubble’. 

Over on the continent, meteorologists say temperature records could even be broken, with a 50 per cent chance of 104F (40C) in Germany next week, challenging the record high of 104.5F (40.3C) set in Kitzingen in 2015. 

As for Britain, after Sunday and Monday’s storms pass, things will carry on heating up. By the middle of next week we could be in for some traditional ‘flaming June’ weather, with temperatures even hitting the 80Fs (high 20Cs).

So far this month has largely been cool and wet with temperatures 5F (3C) to 7F (4C) lower than the typical June average of 63F (17C). 

But by Monday – Midsummer’s Day – temperatures over the weekend will start to soar and humidity levels rise.

The Met Office warned of severe thunderstorms for most of England and Wales, with the exception of Cornwall, from Sunday into early Monday.

But later in the week, temperatures could start getting into the low-80s and even above 30C (86F) next week, particularly in southern and eastern England. 

Met Office deputy chief Laura Ellam said: ‘High pressure will bring a brief spell of warmer, drier and sunnier weather this weekend.

‘However, as low pressure re-establishes later on Sunday, we’re going to see a return to the heavy rain and thunderstorms we’ve seen so far this June. 

‘Rather than the recent cooler conditions, it’s going to feel much warmer and humid.

‘Whilst it will feel warmer for everyone in the UK next week, parts of southern and eastern England will see the hottest weather with temperatures here into the high 20Cs (low 80Fs), possibly exceeding 30C (86F) at the peak of the heat by Wednesday or Thursday.’

Discussing the risk of thunderstorms, she continued: ‘With this hot and humid weather there is the potential for severe thunderstorms developing, bringing the risk of torrential downpours, hail, flash flooding and gusty winds.

‘We are carefully monitoring the situation and will update any national severe weather warnings as confidence in where the greatest impacts from the thunderstorms and heavy rain increases.’ 

This morning's weather

This morning's weather

This afternoon's weather

This afternoon's weather

Temperatures will improve across all parts of Britain today as they get closer to the average level for June

Tomorrow's weather

Tomorrow's weather

Sunday's weather

Sunday's weather

This weekend we can expect mostly fine weather for England and Wales, so it may be time to plan a picnic

Pollen count today

Pollen count today

UV levels today

UV levels today

The pollen count is very high today in much of England (left), while UV levels are high for all of England and Wales (right)

Slide me

An empty Woodhead reservoir in Derbyshire after last year’s dry summer (left), and the same site full to capacity today (right)

Slide me

Woodhead Reservoir is compared today (right) to last year (right) The six mile long chain of reservoirs was completed in 1877

Slide me

The chain of reservoirs was once the largest reservoir system in the world. It is compared last year (left) to today (right)

A a rainbow over Winchester Cathedral at sunset yesterday evening following another day of unpredictable British weather

A a rainbow over Winchester Cathedral at sunset yesterday evening following another day of unpredictable British weather

A a rainbow over Winchester Cathedral at sunset yesterday evening following another day of unpredictable British weather

The sun rises as revellers welcome in the summer solstice at the Stonehenge stone circle in Wiltshire this morning

The sun rises as revellers welcome in the summer solstice at the Stonehenge stone circle in Wiltshire this morning

The sun rises as revellers welcome in the summer solstice at the Stonehenge stone circle in Wiltshire this morning

Revellers attend summer solstice celebrations at the ancient Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire this morning

Revellers attend summer solstice celebrations at the ancient Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire this morning

Revellers attend summer solstice celebrations at the ancient Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire this morning

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