Some people are predicting 40 days of rain across the UK - here's why it's highly unlikely

Some are predicting that rain on Wednesday 15 July signifies 40 consecutive days of showers (Photo: Shutterstock)
Some are predicting that rain on Wednesday 15 July signifies 40 consecutive days of showers (Photo: Shutterstock)

The weather over the next few days in the UK is set to be a mixed bag, and although many areas will see heavy rain, some will be drier with sunshine.

But some are predicting that the rain on Wednesday 15 July signifies 40 consecutive days of showers - here’s why.

The St Swithin’s Day legend

Wednesday 15 July marks St Swithin’s Day, which is named for the ninth century Anglo Saxon bishop of Winchester.

The folklore surrounding St Swithin’s Day suggests that whatever the weather is like on the day itself, it will then be the same for 40 days after.

St Swithin was bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862, who requested that after his death he be buried in the churchyard so that passersby could step over his grave and that it would be exposed to the elements.

However, the bishop’s tomb was moved inside on 15 July 971. Shortly after, a storm hit. Locals took this as a sign of the saint’s unhappiness at his requests being ignored.

BBC weather forecaster, Matt Taylor, referred to St Swithin’s Day in his forecast on Wednesday morning, explaining, "If legend stands true, if it rains today with you it's going to for the next 40 days but if it stays dry it will do for the rest of summer.”

What is the weather forecast for Wednesday?

The Met Office forecast for Wednesday 15 July says, “Generally cloudy with outbreaks of mostly light rain and drizzle for many, particularly northern England northwards.

“Becoming drier in the south during the day with some good breaks developing later, mainly in the southwest. Feeling warm in any sunshine.”

Wednesday evening will continue to be cloudy, but rain will become more linked to high ground in the northwest overnight. Cloud breaks will start to develop over east and northeast parts. It will also be breezy in the northwest.

What will the weather be like for the rest of the week?

Although some areas are set to see heavy rain, others parts of the UK will be bright with sunshine - dispelling the St Swithin’s Day weather legend.

Mr Taylor further adds to the debunking of the St Swithin’s legend, explaining, “The good news for us is the legend doesn't seem to be true, the most we've ever seen in modern day records is 34 days of rain.”

Thursday 16 July will see rain over high ground in the northwest, becoming limited to west Scotland. This will be heavier later on in the day.

“Elsewhere generally dry with more sunshine than Wednesday, feeling warm in the east and south,” forecasts the Met Office.

The outlook for Friday to Sunday says, “A band of rain over Scotland will move steadily southeastwards, mainly dry and warm with sunny spells ahead of it; fresher, breezier weather with showers (mainly far northwest) following it.”