Why is the weather so bad in the UK right now? Here's why it's been so rainy in July 2023

The summer holidays have started, and holidaymakers want to know why the weather is so bad this year

A close up of a black umbrella open in the rain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the rain shows no sign of letting up, many are wondering why the weather is so bad in the UK this year.

After a record-breakingly warm June, Brits are disappointed that the sunshine hasn't lasted, as many ask if there will be another heatwave. And now that the summer holidays have started, parents are desperately looking for indoor activities to keep the family entertained while the rain continues to pour down.

It feels an awful lot like the start of autumn has come early, and it's a stark contrast to the 40-degree heatwave much of the UK experienced this time last year. With people all over the country hoping the weather will improve before they head off on a staycation, we've taken a look at the forecast to find out why the weather is so bad this summer and when it might improve.

Why is the weather so bad in the UK right now?

The bad weather that the UK has seen in recent weeks is partly down to the influence of a jet stream, which is a core of strong winds around five to seven miles above the Earth’s surface, blowing from west to east. The jet stream can cause changes in the wind and pressure. 

Speaking in the Met Office's exclusive YouTube series Deep Dive, Met Office Meteorologist and Presenter Alex Deakin explained that the jet stream is moving southwest, which is helping to push low-pressure systems towards the UK.

He added, "Ahead of the weekend, the jet stream is looking to be relatively strong and, as well as bringing a period of some more persistent rain for many, it’s also bringing some strong winds and continuing this fresh period of weather."

Meanwhile, Met Office Chief Meteorologist Andy Page recently said: "The UK is predominantly under the influence of low-pressure, which is continuing a showery regime, with some potentially heavy and thundery showers possible at times through the week.

"While not everywhere in the UK will experience the heaviest downpours, it will remain an unsettled and relatively cool period, in stark contrast to the heat we experienced in June."

However, you might be surprised to learn that while July has certainly been rainier than normal, the temperatures aren't too different to average, it just feels much cooler in comparison to a scorching June.

Average temperatures in the UK in July

  • England - Maximum 21.17°C, minimum 11.79°C
  • Scotland - Maximum 17.29°C, minimum 9.70°C
  • Wales - Maximum 19.34°C, minimum 11.26°C
  • Northern Ireland - Maximum 18.58°C, minimum 10.77°C

Why is it so rainy in the UK this summer?

Once again, the jet stream is to blame for the wet weather the UK has experienced in July. The weather phenomenon has pushed high pressure southwards across Europe, which is why these areas are experiencing extreme heat, while the UK remains damp.

This is because low-pressure systems have been directed towards the UK, which brings unsettled weather with it. Low-pressure areas are places where the atmosphere is relatively thin, and winds blow inward towards them. This causes air to rise, producing clouds, condensation and rain. 

  • Low pressure results in air cooling into water vapour, which causes condensation to form clouds, often resulting in rain.
  • High pressure results in air is descending, which reduces the formation of cloud and leads to light winds and settled weather conditions.

It's too early to tell whether 2023 will see a record-breakingly wet July, but March this year was the wettest since 1981 for England and Wales. 

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When will it stop raining?

Unfortunately, it looks like the rain is here to stay for the next month or so. Currently, the Met Office's long range forecast predicts "showery conditions, possibly merging into longer spells of rain for some" through mid to late August.

The weather service adds, "Generally changeable conditions are likely to continue, with a mixture of showers and longer spells of rain, along with some drier and more settled interludes, which are perhaps more likely towards the southeast."

They add that there is a risk of some heavy rain or thunderstorms at times.

When will the weather improve?

The weather in the UK is expected to improve towards the end of August and start of September. The long-range forecast predicts that despite the rain, "some warmer spells are also possible."

However, it seems the UK won't be seeing anything like the extreme temperatures experienced in 2022 - which became the warmest year on record in the UK after a record-breaking 40.3°C was recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. For 2023, no heatwave is forecast for the rest of the year and the UK won't experience the heatwave that is currently affecting Europe.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge told Evening Standard: "There is no forecast signal for temperatures to reach last year’s threshold this year.

"The chance of reaching 40°C is around one per cent, so it is unlikely in any given year, but of course, it remains feasible."

If you're in need of inspiration for keeping the kids (and yourself!) entertained on rainy days, check out these easy crafts for kids and these paper crafts too. You could also try out these fun tuff tray ideas, recommended by our Family Editor.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.