Britain braced for weekend of rain - but will it last for 40 days?

Ruth Doherty

Call off the weekend staycation! It's officially time to dig out your rain mac, because the next four days are set to be wet and windy, according to the Met Office.

But, if old English folklore is anything to go by, the rest of summer will be a washout.

Yesterday parts of the UK experienced a wet St Swithin's day – the day which, legend has it, sets the weather for the next six weeks.

According to the rhyme, if it rains on St Swithin's day, it will rain for the next 40 days.
And rain it did, in Wales and the south west – although eastern, central and northern parts remained mostly dry.

Although they're not predicting that far ahead, weather forecasters warned of autumnal conditions well into the start of next week, with up to an inch of rain today and gusts of up to 50mph.

Met Office spokesman Dan Williams told the Daily Mail: 'It's not looking great. We have a low-pressure system moving in.

It is bringing with it a band of rain and strong winds which will spread north.

'By Sunday, it will be very unsettled with showers and longer spells of rain affecting most areas. There will be strong winds and blustery conditions, particularly near southern and western coasts, which could cause problems.

'Temperatures will be lower than average for the time of year – around the mid-teens – and with the wind and rain it will feel chilly for July.'

Winds could be strong enough to cause damage to trees today and tomorrow, with speeds of up to 46mph – bordering force nine of 12 on the Beaufort scale.

The east of England is expected to see the heaviest rain, with around an inch falling in places today.

And it's bad news for families about to start the school summer holidays - the long-term forecast is not too promising, either.

'It's looking unsettled for the rest of July and the start of August so it's not an ideal start for the holidays,' said Mr Williams.

'There will be some nice weather here and there, but there will be showers and rain too. It's a typical British summer.'

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