If you were dreading a rain soaked summer holidays, what with the kids about to break up from school and all, then you’ll be delighted to hear the latest news from the weather forecasters. Apparently, Britain's miserable summer weather is about to brighten up.
What is the jet stream?
The Atlantic jet stream acts like a wall and separates weather to the north and south. During a good summer, the jet stream sits to the north of Britain, shielding the UK from the poorer weather that hangs around at the North Pole.
However, as you might imagine, this year things haven’t been quite as they usually are. For reasons unfathomed so far, the jet stream has spent most of its time settled to the south, which has left Brits exposed to rain. And lots of it.
But now the Met Office reckons that if the jet stream moves north, a build-up of high pressure from the south will cause a better period of dry and sunny weather. And just in time for schools closing down for summer.
Good weather hopes for wildlife, too
Not only is the better weather great news for families but it will be welcome for the UK’s wildlife, which has been suffering over the last couple of months.
Some wildlife expert have said that the recent weather has been "almost apocalyptic" for our wildlife.
The National Trust reports that a huge range of animals, birds and flowers have struggled to survive.
Wet weather has been a problem for breeding birds and animals, too. Reports reveal sea birds being blown off cliffs by gales and garden birds have struggled to find enough food for their off-spring.
Times have been very tough for puffins in the UK, too. Puffins on the Farne Islands, which are managed by the National Trust, have seen 90% of burrows lost due to flooding, which means that the usual breeding numbers have been extremely low.
Of course, there have been a few species that have been pretty pleased with the wet and damp conditions. Slugs and snails have thrived in many gardens. If you want to set the kids a yucky challenge, get them to count the number of slugs and snails they can see in your garden. (Don’t ask them to pick them up though!)
The wildlife experts are hoping that the improved weather forecast will come in time to help so many birds, animals and flowers.
A spokesperson for National trust said: “It’s so important that the jet stream, shifts back to its more usual northerly position as our country is overdue a good August.”
Many parents will be thinking exactly the same as their off-spring rush out of school for the start of the summer holidays. We’re keeping out fingers and toes crossed.
Five great ideas for family outdoors fun this summer
It's been reported (in another survey) that families are finding it difficult to find the cash for family days out. A trip to an adventure park or an activity centre will easily add up to £100, and that's before you've paid for the transpot or petrol to get there and the cost of lunch and all the ice creams.
But being outdoors can be free and fun.
Fly a kite: Once you have bought a kite, the fun is free forever more. Or buy a kite for a child's birthday present.
Cycle somewhere new: Head off for a family cycling adventure. Choose a new town, village or ice cream shop as your destination and work out a pleasant, traffic free route to get there.
Summit a hill: It doesn't have to be a huge hill, but it can be if you fancy, it just has to be a hill. The walking up will be rewarded by views - and then there's the fun of walking down.
Go rock pooling: You just need a beach and a small fishing net for hours and hours of fun looking for small creatures and fish in rock pools. Always return creatures to where you found them and never man-handle them. Just look and return.
Set a treasure trail: Mums and dads can make up clues and lay a treasure trail in the back garden. You can write clues to suit different ages and prizes could be as simple as an ice lolly form the freezer.
Make a den: Good old-fashioned fun can be as simple as making a den in the garden using sheets, trees, poles and any bits and pieces you can find.
Have your own Olympics: Get together with friends and enjoy a few races, including sprints, three-legged races, backwards walking, cartwheel events. Just let your imagination go and you'll easily come up with a whole decathlon of events!
What free or cheap ideas do you have for entertaining the kids this summer?