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Sunshine with a risk of thunderstorms this Bank Holiday

After another hot day on Friday with largely clear skies, it will gradually turn cooler over the weekend with some heavy thundery downpours in places.

The sunny and hot conditions today could see Wales and Scotland come close to temperature records for the month of May as temperatures approach 30°C, while elsewhere temperatures will be in the mid to high 20°C’s. Coastal areas in the south and east will be cooler with an onshore breeze. The current May record for Wales is 29.2°C, set in 1989 at Towy Castle. For Scotland the current May record is 30.9°C, set in 2012 at Inverailort. Although they are less likely to be broken, the England (and UK) May record is 32.8°C and Northern Ireland’s is 28.0°C.

The fine spell will break down through the weekend as heavy showers and thunderstorms move in from the west later today and through Saturday and again across some southern parts on Sunday into Monday. Not everywhere will see the showers, but there could be some intense thundery downpours with a risk of hail and gusty winds which has prompted the issue of yellow National Severe Weather Warnings for rain. There will still be some fine, bright weather with most places seeing some sunshine over the weekend.

Although it will become less hot over the weekend, it will still feel warm and humid across the south and northern Scotland could still see temperatures close to 30°C on Saturday.    

Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: “The whole of the UK will continue to experience some very warm and sunny weather on Friday as high pressure draws continental air from the south. Later today and into Saturday, showers and thunderstorms will spread from the southwest with the potential for a few intense downpours. This will be followed by cooler conditions on Sunday and Monday, although still with some fine weather in places. However, further thundery rain looks likely to affect parts of the south later.

“With lots of events across the country for the long weekend, if you have outdoor plans it’s a good idea to check the latest Met Office forecast and weather warnings to help you plan for sun or showers.”

When the sun is shining the UV will be strong so people should take steps to protect themselves if outside enjoying the warm weather.

Professor John O’Hagan, of Public Health England said: “UV levels may be higher than usual due to a predicted reduction in ozone this week, so people should take care when outside. Use common sense and know the limits of your skin, don’t stay out in strong sun too long and if you need to, stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day. For good UV protection wear wraparound sunglasses and a hat, cover up with light clothing and, and use sunscreen that’s at least factor 15, which also has good UV-A protection.”

With the warm weather, many people will be visiting the coast this weekend. The RNLI have launched their Respect the Water campaign, reminding people to stay safe near the water. Ross Macleod, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager advises: ‘for those who are planning to go into the water, the best way to stay safe is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. If you see someone else in danger in the water, fight your instinct to go in and try to rescue them yourself – instead call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Looking further ahead the pattern of weather looks changeable into next week with some rain at times, whilst temperatures remain close to the average for the time of year.

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