Heatwave on hold then! Storms and heavy rain hit across the country with a weekend washout on the way too

Heatwave on hold then! Storms and heavy rain hit across the country with a weekend washout on the way too

Just three days ago Britain was basking in 92F (33C) temperatures as the longest heatwave since 1976 continued.

But today you could be forgiven for thinking the country has fast-forwarded several months, with the mercury set to peak at 70F (21C) as heavy rain, thunderstorms and winds gusting at up to 40mph strike across Britain.

The remarkable turnaround in conditions that began yesterday has ended a 47-day consecutive run of somewhere in the UK getting to at least 75F (24C), as Britons swap their sun cream and hats for umbrellas and coats.

Heavy rain is hitting parts of Britain this afternoon (left), with more expected tonight as temperatures drop to 64F/18C (right)
Two women walk across Tower Bridge in the heavy rain in London this afternoon as the capital is hit by bad weather
New Metropolitan Police officers march through the pouring rain at a passing out parade in North London today
Heavy rain fell in Manchester city centre this afternoon, as people made their way along the pavement wearing ponchos
Two women take cover under a poncho as Boardmasters Festival 2018 in Newquay, Cornwall, is hit by bad weather today

The showers breaking out – most heavily in southern and central areas – come on what is the 15th anniversary of Britain’s hottest day ever recorded, when Faversham in Kent made it to 101.3F (38.5C) on August 10, 2003.

Britain is being struck by the remnants of Storm Debby, which formed 1,200 miles east of Boston on Tuesday with winds hitting 60mph. It began to lose power earlier this week, but will still cause weather disruption in the UK.

Met Office forecaster Emma Smith said: ‘Storm Debby is coming over from the Atlantic and its remnants are expected to hit the UK this weekend. It is coming from the tropics, so temperatures will remain very humid over the next few days.

‘However, there will be heavy showers and thunder, especially in northern and western parts of the UK on Saturday. This will become more widespread during the later parts of the day. Wet and windy weather will continue through till Sunday evening.’

Evening showers will gradually clear eastwards tonight, with most places becoming drier with clear spells – but by dawn, light rain or drizzle will begin to edge into the South West along with moderate winds.

Tomorrow will then start  dry with sunshine in the East and North, before rain spreads from the South West through the day. However, it will remain mostly dry in the North and East, along with more moderate gusts.

Sunday will then be damp for many with heavy rain possible – although it will be drier in the South East, where temperatures for the weekend are expected to peak at about 73F (23C).

The wet conditions have brought some much-needed relief to parts of southern and central England which have spent the equivalent of around two months of 2018 without any recorded rainfall.

South East England clocked up 64 days of zero average rainfall between January and July, while central England had 54 days. The last time both regions had a higher number of rain-free days in this period was the mid-1990s.