Waking up to rain on St Swithun's Day

It is raining. It is 15th July. It is St Swithun's Day. Need I say more? 

Probably yes if you have no idea who St Swithun was or why today's weather is significant for UK residents. Yes some of us do tend to be a little obsessed with weather forecasts.

Rain today and 40 days of rain to follow may be expected, if you believe the old St Swithun's Day tradition. If today were fine then 40 dry days might be expected to follow.

"St Swithun's Day, if thou dost rain,
for forty days it will remain.
St Swithun's Day, if thou be fair,
for forty days, 'twill rain na mair."
I don't think we can blame St Swithun for whatever the weather does in the next 40 days. If it actually rains in the UK every day for the next 40 days that would be a new record, as would a 40 day drought starting today.

The old saying that dates back to the 14th century is not really accurate as a weather prediction, although it may have a grain of truth. According to The Royal Meteorological Society's website there is some sense to the old rhyme, due to our jet stream patterns. They suggest a more accurate St Swithun's Day prediction would be:

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days, relatively unsettled there's a fair chance it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days, a northerly jet stream might result in some fairly decent spells.
But then again it might not.

If you want to know more about St Swithun you could start with 'Is it raining today'.

Happy St Swithun's Day whatever your weather.