UK weather: North African plume to sweep across Britain for 24C weekend

·2-min read
Forecast map for 5pm on Saturday shows the heat moving up from north Africa  (Windy)
Forecast map for 5pm on Saturday shows the heat moving up from north Africa (Windy)

A plume of hot air from north Africa is set to send temperatures in the UK soaring.

The Met Office forecasts that southern England will see the mercury tip upwards of 20C on Friday, while much of the rest of the country will join in over the weekend.

Saturday could be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures set to hit 24C in southeast England.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to be slightly cooler but will still see temperatures rising up to the high teens for most of the weekend.

The warm weather brings with it the likelihood of heavy showers which would move up from the south coast of England on Saturday night.

Annie Shuttleworth, a meteorologist at the Met Office, told The Independent: “We’re expecting temperatures to warm up over the weekend and that's because we're getting a southerly wind direction ... It does bring with it though a risk of some quite heavy showers at times on Saturday night and on Sunday.

Sun rises over Coquet Island off Northumberland coast on Thursday (PA)
Sun rises over Coquet Island off Northumberland coast on Thursday (PA)

“We’re likely to see them push into the south coast on Saturday evening and then they’ll push further north into northern parts of England.”

The warm weather is expected to continue into next week with temperatures topping 20C for much England through to Wedensday.

Rain likely over the weekend. Pictured: Garden party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday (Getty)
Rain likely over the weekend. Pictured: Garden party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday (Getty)

Britain has enjoyed a warm May so far, continuing a run of pleasant Spring weather that has brought the strawberry season forward by a few weeks.

Summer is thought likely to be exceptionally warm, with some forecasters expecting at least four or five heatwaves.

Summer likely to be very hot. Pictured: Surfers at Porthmeor beach in St Ives (Reuters)
Summer likely to be very hot. Pictured: Surfers at Porthmeor beach in St Ives (Reuters)

The Met Office’s three-month weather outlook is more conservative, with a 40 per cent chance this summer will be significantly hotter than average while the chance of it being cooler than average is just 10 per cent.

Experts have warned that despite the prospect of a long summer down the beach, very high temperatures can be dangerous, particularly for children and the elderly.

A man and a young boy feed swans and gulls at the Waterworks in Belfast on Tuesday (PA)
A man and a young boy feed swans and gulls at the Waterworks in Belfast on Tuesday (PA)

Grahame Madge, a senior spokesman for the Met Office, says Britain has seen several record-breaking summer temperatures in recent years due to climate change.

He said: “Over the last few years we have seen a number of high temperature records and we would fully expect to see more temperature records being broken in the next few years.

“We have not seen a UK temperature breaching 40C but our forecasters believe that is only a matter of time.”

A Met Office study published on Wednesday said there was a 50-50 chance that temperatures will temporarily exceed the key 1.5C threshold for global warming in the next five years.

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