Britain is set to bake in hot dry weather next weekend as summer finally arrives across the country.
After an unsettled week, forecasters say an elongated area of high atmospheric pressure will build from the south west, sending the mercury soaring.
It means dry, warm conditions will flood the country from Friday onwards with temperatures rising as high as 26c (80F) in the south.
That will make it the hottest weekend of the year, with the settled conditions expected to last several days as an Azores High tries to force its way across the UK.
Forecasters say an elongated area of high atmospheric pressure will build from the south west
The change could finally herald the start of summer, with several long-range models now showing warmer air pushing north across the Europe.
Weather agency IPMA confirmed May would now be a warmer-than-average month, with the driest conditions expected in the southeast.
But before the hot weather arrives Britain will have an unsettled week, with sharp showers and cold evenings.
The Met Office predicts break outs of heavy rain for most of the UK throughout the week with a risk of thunder.
Temperatures will be generally close to average but with light winds - feeling warm in any sunshine.
The UK had one of its hottest summers on record last year, with temperatures rising above 40C for the first time on record.
Scorching temperatures meant the Met Office issued a red warning for extreme heat in England, warning that "illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy", as well as among high-risk groups.
While drought was officially declared in a number of parts of the country, which triggered a number of dramatic wildfires – four times as many as 2021.
Weather agency IPMA confirmed May would now be a warmer-than-average month
Globally, the past eight years have been the warmest on record as experts warn that the frequency and intensity of heatwaves will only accelerate as climate change continues to take its toll.
It was the “hottest April in Asia” last month, according to Dr Wang Jingyu, an assistant professor at the National Institute of Education in Singapore who researches climate modelling and land-atmosphere interaction.
He linked the intense heat to the looming return of El Nino and its effects including reduced rainfall and increased temperatures which could hit the UK.