UK weather: Britain faces a week of rain, hail and thunder despite warmer weather

April showers… a month late: Britain is to face a week of rain, hail and thunder as wet start to May continues – but temperatures will soar to 68F

  • Britain is set for a warm and sunny week with temperatures hitting nearly 68F (20C) in some areas
  • But the milder weather is likely to be interspersed with rain, hail and thunder throughout this week
  • Met Office predicts South of England could see highs of 18C (64F) today and 61F (16C) in the North 

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Britain is set for a warm and sunny week with temperatures hitting nearly 68F (20C) in some areas – but the milder weather is likely to be interspersed with rain, hail and thunder.

Forecasters joked that April showers were ‘a month late’ as the Met Office predicted the South of England could see highs of 18C (64F) today, while northern regions areas are expected to reach 61F (16C).

Temperatures were already at 54F (12C) in East Anglia by 7am today on what was the first frost free morning for at least a fortnight, while the rest of the UK was also mild with the mercury between 46F (8C) and 52F (11C). 

The prospect of conditions being settled after a washout Saturday has been dashed with forecasters predicting showers across England, although they will pass through quickly amid windy conditions today and tomorrow.

By Wednesday, the wind is predicted to drop, raising concerns showers could give rise to more prolonged periods of rain for some areas – while Thursday will be quite cloudy with further areas of showers likely in most places.

Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said: ‘Monday will see sunshine and showers with the South East the best place to escape the worst of the showers. 

‘There are quite a few developing over the course of the morning. Temperatures are generally better than we have seen of late – we could get as good as 18C (64F) in the South East and generally 14C (57F) to 18C (64F) across England. 

‘There is a similar pattern on Tuesday and Wednesday. The general theme will be sun and showers. Some may merge in some places to give us spells of rain. Temperatures will hold up around the low to mid-teens, with Tuesday breezy in the West of England.

‘By Wednesday, the winds will be a bit lower with the potential for showers to last for longer as they will be moving more slowly. There will be less frost to worry about though.’ 

YESTERDAY: People enjoy the sunshine in the resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset yesterday as the UK welcomed warmer weather

YESTERDAY: People enjoy the sunshine in the resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset yesterday as the UK welcomed warmer weather

SATURDAY: A group of women enjoy a wet and windy birthday celebration in Sunderland this afternoon amid the rain

SATURDAY: A group of women enjoy a wet and windy birthday celebration in Sunderland this afternoon amid the rain

And ITV weather forecaster Laura Tobin tweeted: ‘April showers all week – oh, it’s May! OK, they’re a month late!’ 

Temperatures on Saturday reached 66F (18.9C) in Jersey and 64.9F (18.3C) in Kent on Saturday – but there was also more than a month’s worth of rain, with the Brecon Beacons in South Wales seeing 5in (125mm) over the day.

Conditions warmed up further yesterday as Santon Downham in Suffolk recorded 72.5F (22.5C) which made it the warmest day in Britain since March 31. London got up to 70.3F (21.3C) at St James’s Park.

The current 2021 high so far of 76.1F (24.5C) was set one day earlier on March 30 at Kew Gardens in London, which was the hottest temperature for the month in 53 years. 

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April showers arrive LATE! Britons are set for damp May bank holiday weekend with mild 55F highs

Bank holiday staycationers would be wise to pack an umbrella as the country is set for a damp weekend with mild 55F highs before downpours from Monday.

Heavy bursts of rain are expected in the far southeast, northern and northeastern parts of the UK tomorrow as temperatures plummet below 50F this week.

It comes as Matt Fox, CEO and Founder of UK holiday rental marketplaces Snaptrip, Big Cottages and Dog Friendly Cottages, said Britons would be swarming to the coast for the May bank holiday weekend. 

Of the weather from Friday to Sunday, a Met Office spokesman added: ‘Sunny spells and scattered showers, which could be heavy with hail in a few places. Mainly light winds. Rather cold by day; chilly nights and occasional air frost.’

Today most Britons will be ‘feeling chilly’, according to the Met Office, with areas of rain in parts of central, south and southwest UK. The rain will be ‘heavy at times particularly in the south,’ they added.

But by next Monday heavy rainfall will impact the whole country, according to Met Office spokesman Oli Clayton. 

Heavy bursts of rain are expected in the far southeast, northern and northeastern parts of the UK tomorrow as temperatures plummet below 50F for the rest of the week. Pictured, cherry blossom at Saltwell Park in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, today

A canal boat travels in the rain along the River Kennet near Theale, Berkshire today

A canal boat travels in the rain along the River Kennet near Theale, Berkshire today

He told MailOnline: ‘The pattern of weather remains consistent for the weekend. The bigger change is happening on Monday. The next few days are in a pattern of sunshine and showers. There will be sunshine but pretty much everywhere will be affected by showers at times. 

‘Temperatures are slowly increasing to closer to average for the time of year. Temperatures will be in the mid teens by Sunday. Overnight temperatures are cool with a chance of frost in rural areas. Everywhere will be cool overnight. From Monday an area of low pressure is approaching from the west. It’s bringing unsettled conditions with a period of wind and rain for many. That’ll be welcome for farmers who’ve had a dry spell.

‘It’s the first meaningful rain. There have been showers around in southeast wales but this will be the first widespread rainfall for several weeks that impacts people.’

Tomorrow rain in the south will focus on the far southeast ‘where some heavy bursts’ will continue. Those in northern and northeastern parts will also face showers. But it will be ‘dry elsewhere and chilly, particularly in the west,’ the forecaster added.

It comes as it was revealed this April has been Britain’s frostiest in at least 60 years. 

There have been 13 days of air frost in the past month, making it the frostiest April since records began in 1960, provisional Met Office data shows. The previous record holder was April 1970, with 11.

Despite the cold nights, the sunny weather means this month is also on course to be among the driest on record. So far there has been only seven per cent of the average rainfall for the time of year. 

Mark McCarthy, of the National Climate Information Centre, said: ‘We’ve been seeing a high frequency of frosts overnight throughout April thanks largely to persistent clear skies.’

Across the four nations, England has reported 12 days of air frost and Wales 11 days. 

Scotland has reported 16 days, making it the frostiest April since records began in 1960.

Northern Ireland has currently seen eight days of frost, not yet exceeding its current record of 11 days set in April 1983.

It comes after several days of clear skies and sunshine across the UK, with double-digit daytime temperatures felt across large parts of the country. 

The peak daytime temperature was felt last week in Porthmadog, Wales, where the mercury reached a maximum of 20.8C on Friday.

But clear skies mean that chillier nights and more frosts are expected to continue as the month comes to a close.

Annie Shuttleworth, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: ‘We’ve seen high pressure dominating for the last few weeks which is why we’ve had the drier weather and less cloud.

People walking their dog are caught in a heavy snow shower on Wimbledon Common on a cold morning with freezing temperatures on April 12

People walking their dog are caught in a heavy snow shower on Wimbledon Common on a cold morning with freezing temperatures on April 12

The A90 near Longhaven, Aberdeenshire, covered in snow earlier this month

The A90 near Longhaven, Aberdeenshire, covered in snow earlier this month

‘Clearer skies mean temperatures can cool off more readily overnight when there’s no sun but in the day clearer skies can act to warm up the daytime temperatures.’ 

Average overnight temperatures have been hovering around freezing at 0.4C (32.7F), which is three degrees lower than the UK average for April at 3.4C (38.1F).

The maximum daytime temperature has also been slightly lower than average at 11.4C (52.3F), compared with 12C (53.6F) which is normal for April.

Ms Shuttleworth said that sunny spells would still feature in the coming days, but parts of the country would also see showers, and overnight temperatures would stay low.

The weekend weather was set to maintain the trend of what has been one of the driest Aprils on record, with the UK seeing less than a fifth of the average rainfall for the month so far.

Up to April 22, there had been an average of 12.8mm of rain across the UK, much lower than the April average of 72.53mm, according to Met Office figures.

A typical April in the UK would have had 70 per cent of its rainfall by now, but it instead has just had 18 per cent.

But Ms Shuttleworth said rain in the coming days could drive up averages. ‘You could get some rain over the next couple of days that will bring the totals up,’ she said.

‘It has been a very dry April, with quite a few areas of the UK seeing quite a small margin of their average April rainfall. Some counties may see their lowest April rainfall but it won’t be a UK-wide thing.’