Sun-seekers flocked to British parks and beaches to enjoy 80F heat on St Swithin’s Day today as the nation braces itself for a heatwave lasting until August, with temperatures set to exceed even Ibiza.
Meterologists believe that England will enjoy a hot spell until at least the first week of August as the jet stream which caused ‘biblical’ flooding in London this week moves northwards.
Hundreds of Britons descended upon Troon Beach in Ayrshire, Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow, and Alum Chine Beach near Bournemouth to lap up the glorious summer weather.
With sunshine today – St Swithin’s Day – we can hope to keep our fingers crossed for searing temperatures and blue skies for the next 40 days, according to ancient Anglo-Saxon folklore.
On Saturday, temperatures are set to soar to 82F in London and 80F in Leeds, with forecasters warning those with hayfever that the pollen count is set to be ‘high or even very high’ at the weekend.
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge told MailOnline: ‘The weather outlook for the next ten days or so is promising with indications of fine, settled weather. The bulk of the UK should have a good deal of fine and dry weather at least for the next month, albeit with a risk of heavier showers and occasional thunderstorms.
People flock to Troon Beach in Ayrshire on one of the hottest days of the year so far
Left to right; Maggie Webb, 24, and Lauren Quinn, 24, enjoy the sunshine in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow
Met Office meterologists are forecasting settled, hot weather in parts of the country until at least the first week of August as the jet stream which caused ‘biblical’ floods in London moves northwards
What is the St Swithin’s Day rhyme?
The legend says whatever the weather on St Swithin’s Day, it will continue for the next 40 days.
The rhyme goes:
St Swithin’s Day if thou dost rain,
For 40 days it will remain,
St Swithin’s Day if thou be fair,
For 40 days will rain na mair
‘Large parts of the UK are beginning to move into heatwave territory for the next few days.’
St Swithin, the bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862, requested that he be buried in the churchyard after his death, so that passers-by could step over his grave and that it may be exposed to the elements.
But according to legend, his tomb was moved inside on July 15, 971, and shortly afterwards a huge storm hit and it rained for many weeks after. People at the time are said to have taken that as a sign of the saint’s displeasure at his wishes being ignored.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: ‘The first textual evidence for the weather prophecy appears to have come from a 13th or 14th century entry in a manuscript at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Since then, folklore has said that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day it will continue to do so for the next 40 days – while if it is sunny, the sun will shine for 40 days straight.
Yet despite its enduring popularity, there does not appear to be any scientific evidence to support the idea that St Swithin’s Day is a reliable indicator of 40 days of summer weather.
In fact, the Met Office has previously trawled back through its archives to confirm that there has never been a period 40 dry or 40 wet days in a row following St Swithin’s Day since records began in 1861.
Vets Now, the UK’s leading provider of pet emergency veterinary care, has warned that as temperatures increase that dog owners should be careful of the risks of their canines getting heat stroke.
The vets service sees a spike in call outs as the weather warms up and has warned that temperatures above 68F put dogs at risk and say that survival rates for dogs with heat stroke is just 50 per cent.
Heat stroke can turn fatal in a few as 15 minutes and it only takes a 2C temperature change to kick in.
Dave Leicester, head of telehealth at Vets Now, said: ‘All dogs can overheat if left without water or in hot conditions for too long. So on hotter summer days it’s best to walk your dog in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.’
Forecaster Clare Nasir said: ‘Into the weekend the temperatures will build and we’ll see some strong sunshine, temperatures come Sunday could peak at around 30C (86F)’ – which is set to be hotter than Ibiza this weekend.
Alex Burkill, another meteorologist at the Met Office, said: ‘As we head through the very end of the month and into August we should see more fine, sunny weather around, and it will be drier than average conditions. I think we’re in for a warmer and more settled spell that will last a few weeks.’
Mr Burkill added that areas seeing temperatures within the Met Office’s definition of a heatwave include parts of south-west England, South Wales, parts of the Midlands and Yorkshire.
Left to right: Rhiannon Freireich, 19, Martha Thornborrow, 21, and Katherine Read, 20, and David Rees, 20, enjoy the sunshine in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow as Scotland basks in glorious sunshine
People enjoy the summer weather on Alum Chine Beach near Bournemouth during glorious summer weather
People enjoy the summer weather on Alum Chine Beach near Bournemouth on St Swithin’s Day
Nancy Clarke, 30, steps into the water in Seacliff beach in East Lothian on one of the hottest days of 2021
Highs of 80.6F (27C) are expected in the south of the UK by Sunday, with the whole week bringing scorching weather
Britons can expect to enjoy warm and dry weather from Friday (left) with temperatures soaring on Sunday (right)
Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon told the Mirror: ‘As far as I can say so far, temperatures staying over the weekend and there’s a chance for 87F on Sunday in the south and south-east in isolated spots.
‘On the Monday the conditions look fairly good and again, highs of 86F in some southern areas.’
Into next week, the Met Office says the weather will continue to be influenced by high pressure moving across the UK so the dry and sunny weather is set to continue.
The Met Office has shared how to determine whether warm weather reaches the definition of a heatwave.
In the UK, each part of the country has certain thresholds that must be met for a period of three days or more for it to be considered a heatwave, with the higher thresholds in the southern parts of the country with the highest threshold being in London at 82F.