UK weather: how long will the summer sunshine last?

Britain may be 'hotter than Africa' but high summer temperatures will not necessarily mean sunshine

Flowers in the sunshine near St Paul's Cathedral, London

The UK looks set for its hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures likely to soar towards the 30C mark on Friday, breaking the high point of 26C set in May.

"Hotter than Africa!" the Daily Express declared today, promising warmer temperatures than Casablanca in Morocco and swathes of the Med including Greece and Spain.

"Blue skies and warm sunshine show no signs of fizzling out as experts predict a fine outlook for up to three months," it adds. The newspaper has previously predicted "scorching temperatures" and "wall-to-wall sunshine" from May until the end of August.

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But The Independent warns readers not to reach for the barbecue and sun cream just yet.

The Met Office has indeed suggested that temperatures could be high in its latest three-month outlook. It gives the UK a one in four chance of having one of its warmest summers, compared to just a one in ten chance of having one of its coldest.

But higher temperatures will not necessarily mean the country is basking in sunshine all summer, says the Independent. Milder nights caused by cloud cover and wet weather could increase average temperatures.

The Met Office has also warned that its three-month outlook is "a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race" and is aimed for businesses who plan ahead based on risk rather than for the general public to plan their holidays. The forecasts are updated monthly and give probabilities of maximum and minimum temperatures and rainfall.

The Daily Telegraph suggests that the Met's predictions are "hedged following criticism of previous 'barbecue summer' forecasts which failed to warn people about downpours".

Nevertheless, the Met's 30-day outlook, which provides a more reliable forecast, suggests the weather will "settle down" with many areas having some warm sunshine over the next month, although showers are still likely in the northwest.

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