St Swithin's Day set to be dry


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The Independent Online

Much of the UK is likely to see a mostly dry St Swithin's Day - but that does not mean the weather is set fair for the coming weeks, forecasters warn.

According to legend, if it rains on the feast day of Saxon bishop and saint Swithin on July 15, this Sunday, it will rain continuously for 40 days, but if does not rain then 40 days of clear weather will follow.

This year St Swithin's Day will be largely dry in southern areas, but there will be rain in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Over the next few weeks, however, the unsettled weather the UK has been experiencing will continue.

Victoria Kettley, forecaster for Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "For the southern half of the UK it's not looking too bad, with just the odd shower around. For Scotland and Northern Ireland there are more frequent showers."

But she said that after Sunday: "It's looking unsettled for the time being."

She suggested southern-most areas might see some dry periods and there were indications that there might be drier, warmer weather for around July 23 and 24.

The better weather does not look set to last and it will be back to unsettled conditions in time for the Olympics, she added.

The 30-day forecast from the Met Office suggests that the two weeks of the Olympics, which kick off on July 27, are likely to experience "changeable" weather.

There is likely to be rain and fine days, and while the weather will not be as bad as it has been recently, the chances of a long hot dry spell is unlikely even though it is the height of summer.

The UK has experienced the wettest April to June on record, including record rainfall for both the months of April and June themselves, and the wet weather has continued into July, prompting yet more flooding.

The extraordinarily wet weather comes after two exceptionally dry winters left swathes of England in drought, leading to seven water companies imposing hosepipe bans, which now all been lifted following the months of heavy rainfall.