A dome of high pressure is about to smother the UK, keeping wet weather far out in the Atlantic and threatening to turn the nation bone dry. With hosepipe bans from the summer heatwave still in force across swathes of the country, another crisis could be looming next year.
Autumn and winter will be crucial for re-stocking water reserves baked dry after one of the hottest summers in history.
Jim Dale, a meteorologist for British Weather Services and expert on weather impacts and safety, said: “This is not good news for the drought situation, because a period of dry weather, which we have coming up, will do nothing to replenish water reserves.
“High pressure will build this week. It will be quite strong and take some breaking down, and it could be the end of the month before this happens.
“What this means is there will be a lot of dry weather through the rest of September.
“So, while it looks as if the recent rainfall has brought the situation to an end, with the parks and green spaces turning green, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Other than a band of thundershowers across the south today, rain is all but absent from the forecasters.
Weather models reveal largely dry weather until the end of September with only the odd flurry of rain through the next fortnight.
Mr Dale, author of Weather Or Not? said: “While the rain we have had has gone some way to help the drought situation unwind, what is needed is long periods of sustained rainfall.
“However, I have not known a summer drought not to be made up for over the autumn and winter, which is the crucial time for replenishing water reserves, so I am not expecting this year to be any different.”
High pressure will build mid-week, pulling a plume of cold air down from the Arctic, forecasters say.
It will throw Britain into an early autumn chill, bringing near-freezing temperatures and even the risk of frost.
Through today, southern Britain will hold on to a plume of Continental warmth pulled in by the remains of Hurricane Danielle.
After some heavy showers and the odd rumble of thunder tonight, cooler conditions will set in from tomorrow.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “For the vast majority, it is a fine day on Tuesday, dry and bright with some good spells of sunshine.
“Even where it is cloudy, we could see 22C or 23C, while further north we are only looking at 19C or 20C.
“During Tuesday evening we are keeping our eyes across the south because the rain could start to pep up and we could see some heavy rain through Tuesday night into Wednesday.
“It is slow moving, so there is the potential for a few issues and something we need to keep a close eye on
“High pressure is trying to topple in on Wednesday and Thursday, and the wind comes in from the north bringing a fresher feel.”
Weathertrending’s John Hammond warned that as ‘warm days run out’, parts of the country could see the first hints of frost.
He said: “The warm days will be running out and by the end of the week it will feel distinctly fresh with some chilly nights to come.
“The warmth will be driven away southwards, and through the second half of this week, we will all be in fresher conditions with air coming down from the Arctic.
“By night it will be turning cold, and temperatures quite widely by the end of the week will be in single figures.
“There will be some frost around and not exclusively to the north, so there is a week of change.”