St Swithin's Day: Will we see weeks of sunshine or weeks of rain?

14 July 2020, 03:12 | Updated: 14 July 2020, 05:00

Will the next 40 days bring sunshine or rain? All could be revealed tomorrow, according to the legend of St Swithin's Day.

The ninth century Anglo Saxon bishop of Winchester is best known for the proverb which predicts 40 days of sun or rain depending on the weather during 15 July.

St Swithin is said to have asked to be buried outside Winchester Cathedral so his grave would be exposed to the footsteps of worshippers and to the elements.

But a big storm hit soon after his tomb was moved indoors in the 10th century, a meteorological event that was seen as a sign of the medieval saint's displeasure.

This resulted in the saying: "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."

For those who believe in the legend, there is bad news: Wednesday is likely to be a cloudy day for many, meaning we can supposedly expect the same for 40 days.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: "There will be a rain that could be a bit heavy at times, particularly across parts of Scotland and then western areas of the UK - so North West England, Wales, South West England.

"So cloudy with outbreaks of rain that will be heavier towards the North, and further east the clouds could be thick enough for a few spots of rain but mostly dry."

But Mr Burkill said the weather is not expected to stay cloudy for the next six weeks, adding that by the end of the week the UK could enjoy much warmer temperatures and blue skies, especially in the South.

"It's a drier and brighter picture as we go into the start of August - it does look like we're going to see more prolonged dry spells than really we've had this month,"

"So quite a different story from what many of us can expect on quite a cloudy and damp St Swithin's Day."