Britain braced for 'oppressive' heatwave and more rain

Hottest weekend of the year in store, but it won't be much fun

LAST UPDATED AT 15:12 ON Fri 17 Aug 2012

BRITAIN is braced for its hottest weekend of the year so far, but it's not necessarily good news as the east of the country swelters in "oppressive heat" and the west gets deluged by heavy rain and thunderstorms.
 
Although temperatures are set to soar well above 30 degrees over the next few days there will be little in the way of sunshine and the chances of getting soaked remain high. Even in areas that stay dry it is likely to be hazy and humid, while anyone hoping to cool off by the sea is likely to have to contend with fog.
 
"This weekend's hot weather is being brought by warm, humid air spreading up from continental Europe," says The Daily Telegraph. And it warns "there will be little relief from the oppressive heat during the night with temperatures remaining as high as 20C in places".
 
The Met Office has warned that it will be "oppressively hot" in the southeast, and has also issued severe weather warnings for the west of the country as yet more rain sweeps in. More than two inches of rain is predicted for parts of Wales and northern England, accompanied by strong winds.
 
There's more bad news for hayfever sufferers. The pollen count in the south will be high as the longest grass pollen season for 20 years finally draws to a close. The strange weather earlier in the summer meant that the season has lasted much longer than usual.
 
The UK is not alone in enduring a bizarre summer, weather-wise. The mayor of one Belgian seaside resort is threatening to take out his frustration on the forecasters. Leo Lippens, mayor of Knokke, has accused private weather service Meteo Belgique of ruining the town's trade by issuing a pessimistic forecast for the summer, which failed to point out that the Belgian coast generally has clearer weather than the rest of the country.
 
"We have a fantastic climate here and to give the impression it is disgusting is disgusting," he said, according to US website NPR. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.