St Swithin’s Day forecast: Could UK see 40 days of scorching sun? Latest heatwave forecast

Today, July 15, is St Swithin’s Day – a holiday which commemorates the patron saint of Winchester and as the legend goes, predicts the next 40 days of weather for the UK. According to the myth, if it rains today there will be 40 days of rain ahead, while if it stays sunny, 40 days of sun will follow.

This legend comes from the famous proverb: ”St Swithin’s Day if thou dost rain, for 40 days it will remain, St Swithin’s Day if thou be fair, for 40 days will rain na mair.”

St Swithin’s Day was so named for the ninth century Anglo Saxon bishop of Winchester.

This myth may have origins in ancient pagan beliefs, with midsummer typically having changeable weather.

So what will the weather forecast have in store for St Swithin’s Day – and will we see it for 40 days?

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Forecast for St Swithin’s Day

According to the Met Office, the UK will see a mostly cloudy start to the day with patchy rain and drizzle.

This is not a good sign for the St Swithin’s Day myth, as rain could signify 40 more days of wet weather.

The forecast states there will be perhaps heavier and more persistent rain affecting northern and western Scotland.

However, parts of the south and east are likely to brighten up as the day goes on, bringing drier and sunnier weather.

The St Swithin’s Day myth seems not to ring true this year as conditions are forecast to warm up as the week goes on.

According to Netweather, the UK will see highs of 20C in the south today, with temperatures staying around 14C elsewhere.

The weather will continue to improve, with drier and warmer weather as the week goes on.

Hot weather forecast: Heatwave to BAKE UK – latest maps [INSIGHT]
BBC Weather Europe: Deep area of low pressure to bring heavy cloud [ANALYSIS]
UK heatwave RETURNS: Britain to bake in 27C heat THIS week [FORECAST]


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The NetWeather forecast reads: “During this week, high pressure will generally be close to the British Isles, ridging into southern and western areas from the Azores.

“But there will be a generally westerly or northwesterly flow on the periphery of the high pressure area, and there is also potential for one or two chilly northerly blasts.”

It adds: “Much of southern, central and eastern England will probably see very little rain, and locally some locations may see no rain at all this week, with the far south most likely to stay completely dry.”

The weather forecast for Friday sees some parts of the south-east reaching temperatures as high as 27C.

What is the legend behind St Swithin’s Day?

St Swithin was the bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862 and upon his death, he requested he be buried in the churchyard, so passers by would step over his grave and so it may be exposed to the elements.

St Swithin’s tomb was relocated inside on July 15, 971 – and then bad weather set in.

A huge storm is said to have hit and was thought to be due to the saint’s anger at his wishes of an outside resting place being moved.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The first textual evidence for the weather prophecy appears to have come from a 13th or 14th century entry in a manuscript at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.”

Now the legend goes, whatever the weather is on St Swithin’s Day will be seen for the next 40 days.

However, it seems the St Swithin’s Day myth is exactly that – a myth.

The Met Office has looked through its archives to confirm there has never been a single 40-day period which has proved the legend’s prediction since records began in 1861.

The Met Office wrote: “Numerous studies have been carried out on past weather observations and none of them have proved the legend true.

“In fact, since the start of records in 1861, there has neither been 40 dry or 40 wet days following the corresponding weather on St Swithin’s Day.”

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