The summer of 2018 looks set to be confirmed as the hottest ever recorded in England.
Weather forecasters have revealed the mean temperature over the past three months currently stands at 17.2C – pipping the previous record high of 17C set back in 1976.
The heatwave enjoyed by much of the UK during June and July gave way to a mix of sunshine and showers in August. Yet temperatures have remained above average for much of the past month, pushing the season to a historic average high.
As analysts finalise the data for June, July and August, the Met Office said the official record for warmest-ever summer was likely to be established for England.
Sophie Yeomans, meteorologist at the Met Office, told The Independent: “The summer mean temperature in England stood at 17.2C with one day to go before the end of August – it could narrowly beat the record of 17.0C.”
Detailed analysis of this summer’s data will be released this week.
Met Office experts said the summer of 2018 was not going to set any records for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, where all-time mean temperature highs stand at 14.1C (2003), 16.1C (1995) and 15.5C (1995).
This summer was also notable for long spells of dry and sunny weather. The Met Office said 2018 is likely to finish in the top 15 driest summers ever across the UK, and in the top five of the nation’s sunniest summers.
The southeast of England is currently enjoying another burst of warm weather, but the outlook is set to change later this week.
“Today and tomorrow it’s going to be very warm in southeast England, while in the north and west of the UK it will be quite cool,” said Ms Yeomans.
“As a cold front moves southeastwards through the middle part of the week, we will see the temperatures come down.”
She added: “It will remain quite unsettled in the week ahead – we’ll see some cloud and there’s a chance of rain in most places across the UK.”