UK Braces for Scorching Weather as African Plume Brings Heatwave


The UK is set to enjoy warm and sunny weather as a high-pressure system dominates the country’s weather in the coming weeks.

The Met Office has forecast that the possible arrival of the African plume, a mass of hot air originating from Africa, could bring heatwave-like temperatures to the UK by the end of May and beyond, as per Independent.

What is the African plume and how does it affect the UK?


(Photo : PETER BUSOMOKE/AFP via Getty Images)

The African plume is a weather phenomenon characterized by a mass of hot air that moves northwards from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe, as per Mirror.

It can cause temperatures to soar above average and create dry and sunny conditions.

The African plume has been linked to previous heatwaves in the UK, such as the one in July 2019 that saw temperatures reach 38.7°C in Cambridge.

The African plume affects the UK by interacting with other weather systems, such as low-pressure areas and jet streams.

Depending on the strength and direction of these systems, the African plume can either enhance or weaken the heatwave conditions in the UK.

 The Met Office says that predicting the exact dates and intensity of the heatwave is challenging, as it depends on the movement and strength of the African plume and other weather systems1.

When will the heatwave hit the UK and how long will it last?

According to the Met Office, high pressure will dominate over most of the UK from May 23 to June 1, bringing fine and dry weather for the majority of areas.

Temperatures are expected to be above average for most parts of the country, except for the far southeast where stronger onshore winds could keep things cooler.

The Met Office also predicts that temperatures are more likely than normal to stay above average across most areas from June 2 to June 16, away from the east coast where cooler conditions may persist. However, some showers are possible, though mostly light and scattered.

The Met Office advises people to check their website for regular updates and warnings, as the weather situation could change rapidly.

The forecaster also says that high pressure is likely to remain dominant for northern areas until mid-June, while clouds, rain, and showers are more likely to affect the south and southwest4.

The Met Office says that there is a possibility of another heatwave in mid-August, as an African plume is expected to sweep across Europe and bring sizzling temperatures up to 35°C.

The weather phenomenon could last until September, bringing multiple heatwaves to the UK and Europe.

Also Read: Heatwave to Hit the UK in April and Climate Change is to Blame: Met Office Forecast

What are the effects of the heatwave on the environment and health?

The heatwave can have both positive and negative effects on the environment and health. On one hand, it can reduce air pollution, increase solar power generation, boost tourism and leisure activities, and improve mood and mental health, as per Birmingham Live.

On the other hand, it can increase water demand, cause droughts and wildfires, damage crops and wildlife, increase health risks such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, and worsen respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

The Met Office advises people to stay safe during the heatwave by following these tips:

  •  Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  •  Stay cool indoors by closing curtains, opening windows and using fans or air conditioning
  •  Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm when it is strongest
  •  Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen
  •  Check on older people, young children and those with health conditions who may be more vulnerable
  •  Never leave children or pets in parked cars

Related article: UK Braces for Scorching Summer as Maps Show Red-Hot 35C Heatwave

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