Wet weather is set to blight Britain for at least another week as forecasters warned the damp spring will drag on.
This weekend will be a washout for many areas with a mixture of showers and sunny spells on the final two days before the reopening of indoor hospitality, attractions and mixing between households in England on Monday.
And further downpours are expected into next week as the UK’s wet May continues, with the Met Office saying this month has already seen 61.1mm (2.4in) of rain up to today – 88 per cent of the average total for May.
The South West of England and South Wales have been particularly badly hit in recent days – with 60mm (2.4in) of rain recorded in Devon yesterday, which is more than would be expected for the whole month in the county.
Wales has now had at least 25 per cent more rain than would be expected over the course of May, with much of the UK having been under the influence of persistent low pressure systems since the month began.
However, there are glimmers of hope that conditions will change with forecasters saying it could turn more settled towards the end of May with highs of 64F (18C), although the Met Office admitted the outlook was ‘very uncertain’.
Looking ahead to this weekend, Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: ‘A good weekend for cloudscapes, rainbow spotters – but not such a good weekend if you’re after something a little warmer.
‘Staying on the chilly side with plenty of showers, and when that’s the forecast you know that low pressure is not far away. Weather fronts (are) bringing more persistent rain across the country on Friday night and into Saturday.
‘Then by Sunday the weather fronts kind of fizzle out a little bit, but the low pressure remains nearby, and that will bring plenty of showers across England and Wales.’
Highs of 61F (16C) are expected in the South of England tomorrow, but it will only be 55F (13C) in the North and Scotland. Forecasters anticipate similar temperatures on Sunday, albeit marginally warmer in the North.
The start of next week will still be largely unsettled and cloudy with scattered showers – some heavy in the afternoon and evening of Monday, as the next stage of the post-lockdown roadmap gets underway.
In its long-range forecast for next Tuesday until May 27, the Met Office said: ‘Temperatures look to remain rather below average across the country, although in any sunshine and lighter winds it will feel quite pleasant.
‘Where winds fall light and skies clear it is still possible we could see some overnight frost in sheltered, prone locations. Perhaps beginning to turn rather more settled toward the end of the period, but this very uncertain at this stage.’
Provisional figures from the National Climate Information Centre show Wales has already had 129 per cent (110.6mm) of its average rainfall for the whole of May, while the UK as a whole has had 88 per cent (61.1mm).
Despite Wales and northern England seeing the most persistent rain, the Met Office said all countries in the UK are currently tracking well ahead of the amount of rainfall that would be expected by this point of the month.
Scotland has already had 72 per cent (60.9mm) of its May average total, Northern Ireland 77 per cent (55.8mm) and England 92 per cent (53.9mm).
However the totals so far remain well below what would be record levels of rainfall for the month, with the record for Wales in May sitting at 184.2mm in May 1967. The UK’s record rainfall for May was also in 1967, with 131.7mm.
May has also so far has been cool across the country, with maximum temperatures, minimum temperatures and mean temperatures all currently at least 2C lower than their long-term May average for every country in the UK.
Dr Mark McCarthy, scientific manager of the National Climate Information Centre, said: ‘Although it’s not unusual to see some downpours and cooler temperatures in May, the month so far has been particularly unsettled across the UK as the influence of low pressure systems has taken hold.
A sodden start to May has already sent large parts of the UK to within touching distance of their average rainfall for the month
May so far has been cool across the board, with temperatures currently at least 2C lower than their long-term May average
‘May picked up where April ended with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather for many, especially in northern England and Wales.
‘It’s far too early in the month to talk about any potential records being set, but with rain in the current forecast, it seems likely that we’ll see above average rainfall across large parts of the country by the end of the month.’
Bookmaker Coral has cut the odds on this summer being the UK’s wettest since records began to just 2-1 from 5-1.
Its spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: ‘This soaking wet May is not giving us much hope for a dry summer, so much so that we have now slashed the odds on this summer being the UK’s wettest ever.
‘This month is already firmly odds-on to enter the record books as the wettest May we have ever had.’