The month of June has so far delivered the perfect example of a British summer. It has at times been wet, windy, warm and a little fresh. It seems the only thing that’s missing is a heatwave and it looks like that is about to change.

With our global climate changing the word ‘heatwave’ tends to evoke a divide amongst those that ‘just love the heat’ and those that worry about our changing climate. Whatever your opinion it looks like the first heat wave of the season is on the way.

In summer 2019, the Anglia region became the hottest place ever recorded in the UK when the temperature reached 38.7°C (101.7°F) at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25th July.

The highest temperature since so far this year was on May 20, when the mercury reached 28.2°C at Santon Downham on the edge of Thetford Forest on the Suffolk-Norfolk border.

What exactly is a heatwave?

A UK heatwave threshold is met when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold.

The threshold varies by UK county - for the East of England that threshold is 27°C (81°F).

That is forecast to happen next week in the Anglia region with temperatures expected to rise above 28°C (82°F) in many areas by Wednesday and it could reach 30°C (86°F) in some.

The official Met Office definition of a heatwave is when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold. Credit: Met Office

Where is the heatwave coming from?

The jet stream, a fast moving ribbon of air that flows about ten miles above our heads, steers weather systems towards us or away from us.

Next week it steers weather systems to the northwest of the UK, allow hot air to seep across the southeast of the UK.

The hot air will drift in from France, Iberia and the Mediterranean bringing the likelihood of a heatwave.

Whether you like the heat or dislike the heat it is worth remembering to protect your skin from the sun, stay hydrated and to stay indoors at the hottest part of the day between about 12pm and 4pm.

How long will the heat last?

At the moment it looks like the heatwave last until the weekend.

It is early in the summer though so it's likely we will see further hot spells of weather.

Blue skies and fair weather cloud over the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich in Suffolk on 20 June 2020. Credit: MrBlueSky

June 2020 has so far been cool and wet in the Anglia region with less sunshine than in normally expected.

Up to the 19th the average maximum temperature across the region was under 19°C which is nearly 1°C lower than average.

The rainfall total up to 19th June is 53 mm - very close to the average rainfall total expected for the entire month.

Daily sunshine has been averaging 5¾ hours per days when just under 6½ hours of daily sunshine is nearer normal.

All that could change in the week ahead.

The first half of June was cooler, wetter and duller than normal in the Anglia region. Credit: Joanne Joyce