Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 12:19 UK

'Hot and dry' UK summer forecast

A couple sunbathing on a beach
Sun worshippers may get more joy on UK beaches than last year

The UK is "odds on for a barbecue summer", with no repeat of the washouts of the last two years, according to Met Office forecasters.

Temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the UK, topping 30C at times.

Rainfall should be "near or below average" for the three months of summer, the forecasters say.

However, they warn that heavy downpours cannot be ruled out.

BBC weather presenter Simon King's long-range summer forecast

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office, Ewen McCallum, said a repeat of the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 is unlikely.

"After two disappointingly wet summers the signs are much more promising this year," he said.

"We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C, something we hardly saw at all last year."

It's good news, finally - positive for the majority of people
Laura Tobin

The prospect of a hot summer will cheer those who felt cheated at having endured the "dullest" August on record last year, which soaked up just 105.5 hours of sunshine against an average for the month of 165.

It was also the fifth wettest since records began with 139.8mm (5.5in) of rain falling.

It had been preceded by the UK's wettest recorded summer in 2007, when thousands of families were forced out of their homes by floods.

Then, in February, heavy snow closed thousands of schools and led to travel chaos across the UK.

BBC forecaster Laura Tobin said the latest Met Office long-term forecast was "good news, finally".

Heavy showers

But she warned: "It doesn't mean it will be dry. With the heat, we see some very heavy thunder showers and torrential downpours at times.

"Compared to last summer, which was miserable... it will probably be positive for the majority of people."

The Met Office is the UK's official weather forecaster.

Its long-term forecasts help emergency planners, the water industry and bodies such as the Environment Agency and NHS prepare for the effects of severe weather.

But its government services director Rob Varley warned: "They are not forecasts which can be used to plan a summer holiday or inform an outdoor event."

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