Heavy rain and thunder is set to sweep across the UK this weekend brining an abrupt end to the country’s short-lived heatwave.
Following a few light showers in the south, downpours are expected to sweep over Northern Ireland by the late afternoon before moving over parts of Scotland, western Wales and the Lake District and seeing temperatures dropping to 73-75F (23-24C) in the south of England.
On Saturday, the band of clouds will see bouts of rain drenching the south coast, with Eastbourne and Brighton expected to see some heavier showers, and see temperatures reach a maximum of 72F (22C).
There is due to be a brighter interlude on Sunday, when sunny spells are forecast for most parts of England and Wales – although the chance still remains of scattered showers.
The abrupt end to the UK’s short-lived heatwave comes just days after hundreds of sun-seekers flocked to Bournemouth, Dorset and Cornwall to enjoy sizzling temperatures of 77F (25C) as the official school holidays began.
Today Met Office forecaster Graham Madge told MailOnline: ‘It’s a rather unsettled outlook. We’ve got a bit of a mixed picture today so across the south we have got showers and then there will be some breaks in the cloud. It’s not breaking yet in the south-west but I think other parts it will be breaking.
‘Warmth to come through and some sunny spells. Tonight we’ve got outbreaks of rain. They will be moving eastwards. We’ve got a weather front coming through. It will start to affect Northern Ireland on the afternoon and then it will head eastwards.
‘Probably the heaviest rain will be over parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland, western Wales and the Lake District.
‘Then overnight that band of rain will fragment to some extent leaving patchier rain, heavy by the look of it, and there could be some heavier bursts over north west England so Morecambe, Blackpool that sort of area. The Lake District and the Pennines could see some heavier outbursts of rain.
‘As we go through tomorrow it will be a bright start for many but there will be some periods of heavy rain, especially towards mid to late afternoon across the south coast. So there is a feature moving up the English channel that will bring some heavier rain to the south coast with places like Eastbourne and Brighton getting to see some heavier showers.
‘But there is a little uncertainty at the moment about how far north that weather system will move. At the moment it doesn’t look like its going to extend much beyond Surrey but if it moves a little further north we may see those heavy showers occurring further inland and up towards London.
‘On Sunday overnight we’ve got clearing skies across the UK. We are going to see the potential for showers and strong winds in the north west. So by north west I’m looking at north west Scotland.’
The ‘unsettled outlook’ comes after the Royal Horticultural Society said this year’s weather has created optimal growing conditions for summer blooms – due to a warm, wet winter followed by the sunniest May on record and a bout of rain in June.
Early blooms such as lilies, rhododendrons, irises, roses and hydrangeas have been abundant and had an extended season, while mid-summer flowers such as verbena, rudbeckia, heleniums and geraniums are now coming into their own.
Describing the reasons for this year’s exceptional blooms, Royal Horticultural Society chief horticulturalist Guy Barter said: ‘A lack of frost and the light, warm start to the year meant growth was really good, helping produce big bulbs and lots of them.
‘The sunniest May on record was followed by an unusually wet start to the summer, with England seeing 43% more rainfall last month than the June average, according to the Met Office.
‘This combination of weather phenomena saw the sunshine bring early summer flowers into bloom earlier, while the welcome extra rain has helped stretch their season over a longer period.
‘And all this combined has created the best crop of herbaceous plants seen in years.’ But the Meteorological Office forecast for the coming days is set to put a dampener on any chance to enjoy the blooms.
Forecasters are predicting a changeable start to the school holidays with unsettled conditions continuing through to at least the first week of August.
The Met Office’s forecast for the rest of the coming week states: ‘The unsettled theme seems likely to continue with scattered showers and strong winds interspersed with sunny spells across much of the country.’ Further rain and strong winds are expected at the beginning of August, with the ‘best of any drier weather’ in the South.
‘It is generally likely to be on the cool side for much of the country with any warmer spells more likely across south-eastern parts,’ the Met Office adds.