Further heavy rain is set to soak the UK over the next week – making this May one of the soggiest on record.
More than a month’s worth of rain has already fallen across the country, leaving many having to cancel their al-fresco dining plans – and welcoming the chance to return indoors at pubs and restaurants yesterday.
And the forecast for the coming week brings with it a changeable forecast including a constant risk of showers amid sunny spells, with more settled weather not expected until at least next Tuesday.
However, Britons may finally be able to enjoy the easing of lockdown as warmer weather arrives at the end of the month – with the Met Office saying a high pressure system could ‘dry things up’ by the bank holiday weekend.
A beautiful sunny morning today in Fulham, South West London, although rain is expected to fall in the capital later on
A woman is caught in the heavy rain in North London yesterday afternoon, and more downpours are on the way later this week
Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said Britons can expect the rain to continue into next week, with low pressure meaning much more unsettled weather to come.
However, as hospitality venues opened indoors yesterday, at least pub-goers and diners will be able to escape being drenched at outside tables during yet more showers in the coming days.
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Researchers who looked at more than half a million cases of cardiac arrest found a strong link with chilly spells. They also found hearts are more likely to stop on Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays.
Experts used data from hospital cardiac arrests in Japan from 2005 to 2013 alongside weather forecasts to create a computer model predicting when heart problems were likely to increase.
They say the model could be used to make hospitals aware of ‘at-risk days’, while vulnerable or elderly patients could also be alerted and reminded to limit time spent outdoors if the temperatures drop.
Lead study author Dr Takahiro Nakashima, of the University of Michigan, said the increase in heart attacks on Sundays and holidays was probably down to binge drinking, while the return to work on Mondays could trigger stress.
Mr Snell said there was ‘a lot of rain this week to get through’ before slightly warmer temperatures creep in later in May. He said: ‘It will certainly be warmer than it is now – but not much to write home about.’
Temperatures in London and southern England this week will reach highs of 63F (17C), while the mercury in Wales, Scotland and northern Ireland will hit 59F (15C).
While some areas will continue to see temperatures in the low 60s Fahrenheit (high teens Celsius), at the end of the month, others may get a ‘good amount of sunshine’ with the mercury climbing to around 68F (20C).
The wettest May ever was in 1967 when 131mm (5.2in) of rain fell. This past month has climbed halfway towards this already, with 71mm (2.8in) falling so far.
Mr Snell added: ‘Some parts of the UK will see their wettest, such as the south west. Such places could get a local record for May.’
He said that the South West of England and south Wales had already got the ‘lion’s share’ of the soggy weather this month, with around 150 per cent of expected rainfall having already drenched Wales – some 115mm (4.5in).
There are also signals of heat being drawn up from the south and conditions turning warmer, ‘which a lot of people will appreciate’.
While the country has been battered by wind and rain this May, last year Britons were soaking up 266 hours of sunshine during the month of May.
On average, the UK gets 436 hours of sunshine between March and the end of May.
Mr Snell said: ‘Last May, temperature-wise, we were about two degrees above average. That’s the mirror image of this year, when we are two degrees cooler than normal.’
He added that high pressure weather next week could ‘dry things up’ at the back end of the month, bringing with it the possibility of a sunnier bank holiday weekend.
A man pours rain water from an awning at a restaurant in London’s Soho yesterday amid torrential conditions in the capital
Last year the country experienced its sunniest spring and driest May since records began.
Met Office forecaster Sarah Kent said that ‘changing climates’ make changeable conditions and weather extremes ‘more likely’. But she said it was ‘too early’ to predict if this month will be the wettest May on record.
Ms Kent said: ‘Over the next few days, large parts of the UK will see showery conditions with occasional torrential downpours, thunderstorms and even hail.
‘Drivers should be very careful as quite a bit of rainfall could lead to some problems on the roads.
‘I’d say it’s going to be very unsettled, as some areas will see some sunshine, and be relatively warm, while it’ll be chilly for those who see torrential rain.’
Two people walk under umbrellas during a sudden and heavy downpour in Manchester city centre yesterday afternoon
People dine outside during heavy rain in North London yesterday while others wait for the downpour to pass
However, a deep area of low pressure will ‘hurtle’ in from the west on Thursday.
Ms Kent said: ‘Wednesday will be the most favourable day of the week, but will be a quiet lull before a potent low pressure system arrives from the Atlantic bringing with it unseasonably strong winds and severe gales.
‘Parts of the country could see weather warnings come in, as the winds and showers will hit large swathes of the country, particularly in western areas.
‘Anyone planning outdoor gatherings should certainly keep an eye out for significant, windy weather and be sure to monitor the Met Office website for any warnings.’
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