Warm, dry and sunny summer best since 2006 – and it's not over yet
The Westcountry has enjoyed one of its warmest, driest and sunniest summers on record, the Met Office has announced, with sun lovers looking forward to the hot weather continuing throughout this week.
Although talk of an Indian Summer is premature, due largely to the technicality of a frost being required first, above-average temperatures have been tentatively forecast for the remainder of the month.
The news marks a stark contrast to the drab summers experienced in 2011 and 2012 and differs from the below-average prediction for the summer by the Exeter-based meteorological agency in May.
Although the statistics for the last day of August are yet to be collated, signs are that the country as a whole experienced its warmest, driest and sunniest summer since 2006.
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The South West and South Wales edged the nation's sunniness rankings with 699 hours of sunshine over the summer period, had a below-average 180.1mm of rain and basked in an average temperature of 15.83C. And those ambient temperatures look set to continue this week with predictions of 23C for Yeovil and Taunton tomorrow, after two days of clear blue skies and similar temperatures.
Despite temperatures cooling towards the weekend, with some chance of showers, the weather is expected to stay warm for most of the month. All in all, according to the Met Office, it's likely the region's summer will finish the 13th warmest and 17th driest since 1910, and also the 5th sunniest dating back to 1929.
Meteorologist Helen Chivers, from the agency, said early talk of an unsettled end of June and beginning of July with possible below-average temperatures was based on a model looking only at probabilities.
She added that the Met Office was early in predicting the long hot spell on July 1.
She said: "The Met Office produces a long-range outlook to support the contingency planning community in serving the nation. This is a complex product designed to help contingency planners making long-term strategic decisions. It's not useful for most other people as it doesn't give one forecast for what's ahead – rather it outlines potential scenarios."
"The (five-day forecast) will always provide the best possible guidance on any periods of cold weather, heavy rain or spells of hot weather."