When is the next heatwave in the UK?

3 August 2023, 12:06

London and the South East in the sunshine
London and the South East have experienced some of the warmest weather of the summer so far. Picture: Getty

By Zoe Adams

The UK has seen a very unsettled summer so far but when can we expect some warmer weather? Here's the latest on another summer heatwave happening this year.

Following the hottest June on record, Brits have been awaiting the next UK heatwave, however, according to latest weather forecasts, it seems we could have quite the wait.

With many parts of the country faced with yet more rain and thunderstorm warnings, August isn't bringing much hope with many desperate to know just when the rain will stop.

Temperatures have been and will continue to be cooler than average for this time of year which has proved disappointing, especially after reports the country could witness another 40 degree heatwave.

Read more: August weather forecast: What's the outlook and will the UK get a heatwave?

Read more: Last year's record-breaking 40C heatwave is 'a sign of things to come and will be considered mild by future generations'

However, while the immediate outlook doesn't look to summery, as we approach the middle to end of August, things start to change slightly.

A young girl eating an ice cream on the beach
July brought rain and thunderstorms following a record-breaking June. Picture: Getty

When is the next heatwave in the UK?

The current five-day outlook is looking unsettled with conditions varying between rain and sunny spells.

However, as we look further range, warmer temperatures are looking more promising. The Met Office has said: "Drier and brighter interludes become increasingly likely by the end of the week, though some western or northwestern areas may see further spells of rain at times, perhaps accompanied by strong winds.

"After a generally cool start, temperatures should also increase compared to recent weeks, especially in southern and perhaps eastern areas. Most parts could see more in the way of drier interludes."

Looking towards the end of the month, they added: "During the second half of August, there is a greater chance of more settled spells developing, with warmer and drier conditions becoming slightly more likely than the unseasonably unsettled weather of July."

Temperatures are looking to start from 23C and could even peak to 27C, and although they are not heatwave potential, they are an improvement. Weather experts have also warned that unsettled conditions are never too far away.

An ice cream with a flake covered in sprinkles on the beach
The Met Office has forecast above average temperatures for the end of the month. Picture: Getty

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How far in advance can you predict a heatwave?

When looking at the next five days, forecasts tend to be more accurate than those that are long-range which the Met Office explains is because of our atmosphere.

"The nature of our atmosphere means it is not possible to predict the weather on a particular day months to years ahead. At this range we have to acknowledge that many outcomes remain possible, even though only one can eventually happen," they detailed.

What is the definition of a heatwave?

A hot stint of weather officially becomes a heatwave when an 'extended period of hot weather happens relative to the expected conditions of the area at that time of year'.

In the UK, a heatwave title is met when a spot records at least three consecutive days with a maximum temperature that meets or exceeds the temperature threshold. This threshold is county dependent in the UK.