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Killer Heat Wave to sweep UK? Not really!

There have been some press stories warning about extreme heat arriving in the next few days. I can tell you that those stories were based on the ‘worst case’ predictions of the various computer simulations of how the weather will behave made several days ago.

When you see these stories start to hit the front pages of the rag-tag end of the press (you know the suspects), ALWAYS treat them with a BIG pinch of salt. You’ll recall there were several ‘Beast from the East’ stories during the winter, none of which actually happened. We had a bit of cold weather, there was some snow in the usual places but nothing unusual.

Basically, weather forecasting has moved on a LONG way since the infamous Michael Fish ‘hurricane’. Look it up if you’re too young to remember! Forecasts now are a mix of computer simulation and interpretation of the models by experienced forecasters.

There are a number of different computer models which take the data from the last few days to predict how the weather will behave. What we usually see is the ‘medium term’ forecast which is for anything from three to ten days ahead.

The ability to forecast accurately over this kind of period depends partly on the existing weather – when it’s fine and settled as it is now, it tends to stay that way, whereas when we’re in a run of storms, predicting exactly where those storms will hit can change significantly in quite a short time.

And that’s why forecasters look at a range of models. By looking at where they agree – and disagree – the experience of the forecaster often makes the difference.

But of course, other people can see those models too. Occasionally, one goes off at a very different tangent to the majority view. And it’s that outlier that the press pick up on and trumpet as a killer freeze or heatwave, depending on the season.

After all, we all know how interested Brits are in the weather, so it sells papers or gets hits on the website.

In this case, 40+ temps were being talked about.

Anyway, suffice to say that the majority view from the simulations was never that high. Yes, we will get some very warm weather for the next few days, into the middle of next week for the south of the UK. It could well reach a high of 32c in places on Monday and Tuesday.

After that, the weather could stay fine, or it could all break down. Right now, midweek next week is the limit of confidence.

Anyway, 32c is still pretty warm – it’s a smidge under 90 Fahrenheit – so watch out for tomorrow’s SKILLS on SATURDAY article which will be about keeping cool in two wheels.

And of course, when the sun’s shining it’s a great time to book training, and I can arrange evening training to take advantage of lower temps and long daylight hours. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

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