Wet weekend? Blame the jet stream, say weather experts

Movements to the jet stream – high-level winds that help to dictate the weather in Britain – are to blame for the wet start to June, scientists said.

Researchers at the University of Reading’s world-renowned Department of Meteorology said the dull, cold and wet summer so far was set to continue for the next week or so as the jet stream stubbornly refuses to budge from its position over the south of England.

Dr Jonathan Shonk, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said: “So far, June has been a wet month over southern England and Wales, much of the area having already exceeded its average June rainfall total. A major factor in this run of wet and windy weather has been the position of the jet stream (the band of fast-moving winds high in the atmosphere that controls the creation of low pressure systems).

“Through the start of June, it has been aligned over southern England and northern France, steering low pressure systems into the area. This period of unsettled weather looks likely to continue, with further bouts of heavy rain interspersed by short periods of sunshine over the next week or so.”

Dr Andrew Charlton-Perez, from the University of Reading, added: “The jet stream has been in its current position for a long time, and after some warm conditions in May we’re now experiencing much colder and wetter conditions. It’s hard to say why this is, but research at the University of Reading is exploring how waves in the jet stream, breaking and moving south, create ‘regime change’ in our weather.”

Facts and figures

WET: By Friday, the weather station at the University of Reading had experienced nearly twice the average monthly rainfall for the whole of June in the first half of the month (86mm so far – 94% more than we’d expect for the whole of June).

COLD: Thursday (June 14) was the 12th consecutive day that temperatures failed to reach average highs for June in Reading.

DULL: There have been just 35 hours of sunshine recorded so far this month – well below the 90 hours usually expected by now for Reading.