Camp Bestival shuts down as rain and strong winds break heatwave
The UK’s heatwave has been abruptly interrupted by heavy rain and high winds, with the music festival Camp Bestival forced to shut down because of the weather.
With a sharp drop in temperatures and stormy conditions across much of the country, the festival closed down its main stages because of safety concerns. In a statement posted on social media organisers said that they were “utterly devastated and heartbroken” by the situation. The campsites remained open, but attendees said tents had been flooded or blown away.
The weekend washout follows weeks of hot, dry, weather. More than a month’s rain fell in a matter of hours on Saturday in , where torrential downpours caused flooding and disrupted traffic.
A yellow weather warning for rain was in place for western parts of Scotland on Saturday, while one for wind and rain covers Wales and the south of England on Sunday.
Winds of up to 50mph are forecast for exposed coasts and hills and as much as 80mm of rain is possible in the Brecon Beacons and on Dartmoor, the Met Office said. Flooding is possible and large waves are likely in coastal areas, the forecaster said, warning of potential damage to tents and other temporary structures.
Saturday marked the first time in July that nowhere in the UK reached at least 25C (77F), marking a 10-degree drop from Thursday, the hottest day of the year so far. The highest temperature on Saturday, of 24C, was recorded in Cavendish in Suffolk, and Weybourne, Norfolk.
As thunderstorms brought the first significant rainfall for weeks to the UK, Belfast international airport received 88.2mm in a matter of hours, more than the region’s monthly July average of 81.2mm.
Sarah Kent, a meteorologist, said that, unlike thunderstorms in many other parts of the UK those in were caused by low pressure, rather than being directly related to the recent heatwave.
Short Ferry, in Lincolnshire, had 41.8mm of rainfall in an hour on Friday, close to the county’s monthly July average of 55.8mm.
“It’s a very unsettled weather picture across the whole of the UK,” Kent said, adding that campers should take heed of the windy weather. “The warning is in place particularly for holidaymakers who are out camping or towing their caravans. They are going to see some very strong gusts.”
Sunday’s highs are expected to remain much nearer normal for the time of year, with temperatures likely to struggle to climb higher than the low 20s in southern England.
While some will have welcomed the rain and the cooler temperatures, those keen to catch a glimpse of Friday’s blood moon – the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century – were disappointed by the cloud cover obscuring the spectacle.
Holidaymakers were beset by delays and cancellations on Saturday. A number of flights were affected, and travellers had long delays waiting for ferries and cross-Channel trains.
Two bodies were recovered on Saturday in separate incidents after a number of people got into difficulties in water.
The body of a 15-year-old was recovered in Essex. Police said the teenager, provisionally named as Ben Quartermaine, was found near Clacton Pier after a search that began on Thursday.
In Bedfordshire, the body of a man aged in his late 20s was recovered from the Great Ouse river after reports that someone had got into difficulty on Friday afternoon.
Another man’s body was recovered from the Jubilee river in Slough on Thursday, Thames Valley police said, and police searching for a 17-year-old boy who disappeared in a quarry lake in Warwickshire also found a body on Friday.
The heatwave, which last week contributed to an air pollution alert being issued for London, is set to return toward the end of next week. “We will see more settled conditions across southern areas by the weekend, with temperatures creeping back toward 30C in places,” Kent said.