Weather: Will the UK swelter in another 40C heatwave this summer?

A reservoir runs dry during last summer's heatwave. Credit: PA

With more hot weather to come over the coming few days and with the UK only into the start of the summer months, many will be asking if we will be seeing the 40C temperatures we saw last year.

The extreme heat in the UK last summer was unprecedented and brought some devastating impacts, including excess death from heat-related illness and wildfires to name a few.

The last few weeks have been very warm with temperatures well above average and little rainfall for many. 

As the summer continues, we will see more warm weather, however, at this stage, reaching above 40 degrees again is unlikely as it is still an extreme event in our current climate.

The scene after a blaze in Wennington, east London last month in July 2022, after record temperatures fuelled fires. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Looking ahead - our current spell of warm weather will peak on Sunday with next week looking a little fresher for many - a much-welcome relief for some. 

But of course, summer is only just beginning and although there will be a dip next week, temperatures are generally set to remain around or above average heading into July, with a continuing likelihood that heatwave thresholds will be reached at times.

A heatwave is defined by the Met Office as an extended period of hot weather relative to the expected conditions of the area at that time of year.

It is often accompanied by high humidity.

At this early stage, it is difficult to forecast just how hot it will get over the coming months, but as previously mentioned it is unlikely to reach 40C - although it is still not impossible. 

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