Why The Rain? The Jet Stream Gets The Blame
It is not unusual to have spells of wet and windy weather during the summer months but the difference this year is that there has been no let-up in the unsettled conditions, particularly across England and Wales.
In fact, looking through the records it could be one of the worst starts to June and indeed the summer.
Up to June 12, England and Wales had seen around 75mm of rain – that is almost three times the normal amount.
Many individual sites have already recorded well over 100mm, with a few places across southeast England seeing twice their average June rainfall.
The statistics for the first half of June look to be exceptional, especially with more rain on the way.
There are several reasons why the weather has been so terrible, but the main one is the jet stream.
This is a fast-moving ribbon of air about six miles above the surface of the Earth, which varies in position and speed throughout the year due to large temperature contrasts.
It can have a significant impact on our weather.
The jet stream is currently meandering like a river to the south of the UK, steering wet and windy weather across England and Wales.
The acceleration of the jet stream has allowed deep areas of low pressure to form at times, as air is forced to rise through the atmosphere – and subsequently pressure falls at the Earth’s surface.
This is what we would normally expect during the autumn months.
At that time of the year, the jet stream is expected to have a more northerly track, steering the wind and rain towards northwest Britain, Iceland and Scandinavia.
The unsettled spell will continue in the short term as the next area of low pressure moves in.
A further 20mm to 30mm of rain is expected fairly widely across the UK in the 48 hours up to Saturday evening, although northern Scotland will be drier.
The hilly areas of Northern Ireland and Wales could see 40mm to 60mm. The risk of flooding will return, especially as the ground is saturated in many areas.
The rain will be accompanied by strong winds, with gales likely in exposed parts of the south west.
A significant amount of rain is expected over the south of the Republic of Ireland as well, with local flooding possible.
There are signs that the weather will turn drier and a little warmer across southern Britain later next week.
As for the rest of the summer, it is too early to tell. Let’s hope it follows May’s pattern, which had a cool and wet start, but a dry and fairly hot end.