We’ll get thunder today - just like George II said we would

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“Three fine days and a thunderstorm” was George II’s definition of the UK’s summer climate - and it can be a fairly accurate depiction of the changeable nature of our summer weather, due to our location between the warmth on the nearby Continent and the cooler Atlantic waters.

No sooner have we experienced a few days of warm winds from France and Spain, than they often change direction to become westerly and bring down cooler air from over the ocean.

During the change from warm to cool, it is not uncommon to experience a few thunderstorms, which tend to form along cold fronts in summer.

While some of our most impressive thunderstorm outbreaks are often observed in July and August, early June has brought a few very impressive thunderstorms to parts of the UK in the past 30 years or so.

Friday June 7 1996 saw widespread evening thunderstorms over central, eastern and southern England, following an unusually hot early June day, with temperatures reaching 33C (91.4F) in Norwich.

Some of these storms were severe, with strong and squally winds, torrential rain, frequent cloud-to-ground lightning and hailstones of golf ball size. Several swathes of large hail were observed within the storms, which tracked from Dorset and Hampshire, across the Home Counties to East Anglia.

And on June 5 1983, an initially innocuous looking weather pattern spawned several powerful thunderstorms which tracked eastwards along the south of England.

These storms were classified as supercells, the most severe type of thunderstorm. Such storms only form in specific atmospheric circumstances, which rarely combine over the UK. Widespread reports of damage from the strong winds and hail occurred from Wool in Dorset to Chichester in West Sussex.

Since the previous batch of thundery showers and wet weather that affected parts of the UK last Friday and Saturday, some parts of the UK could argue that they have had more than three fine days in a row since then.

Despite temperatures being on the cool side, high pressure has been over the UK for much of this week, bringing widespread dry and sunny conditions, especially to the west.

On Thursday, much of the UK experienced fine, sunny weather, with temperatures in parts of southern England climbing into the mid-twenties Celsius. However, a few showers across Cornwall and a rash of thunderstorms developing over north-west France has given a glimpse of how things are likely to develop into today, at least for the southern half of the UK.

While these showers will become fairly isolated this morning, especially away from the South West, a more widespread band of showery and in places thundery rain is expected to spread northwards during Friday afternoon, into Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia later.

Some torrential bursts of rain and hail are possible in places. The parts of inland southern England that escape the showers and storms could see temperatures reaching 26C-27C (78.8F-80.6F) in any sunny periods.

The rest of the UK will remain largely dry with sunny spells but it will not be as warm here. The heavy, showery rain will spread across Wales and central England overnight, with 1.2in-2in (30mm-50mm) of rain likely over parts of Wales.

:: www.meteogroup.com

MeteoGroup is Europe’s largest independent weather forecast provider.