Weather forecast for summer solstice? More rain

Weather forecast for summer solstice? More rain
Views of Stonehenge could be ruined by cloud and rain

Anyone preparing to watch the sun rise at Stonehenge this summer solstice are likely to be disappointed by grey skies and a lot of rain, according to the Met Office.

While the annual gathering at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire has been cancelled following the government’s delay to lockdown easing, many were hoping to witness the sunset and sunrise on a livestream provided by English Heritage tomorrow (21 June).

The gathering was also cancelled last year and the livestream was viewed by 3.6 million people compared to the usual 7-30,000 people who would normally gather around the stone circle. This year the Met Office are suggesting that the views could be ruined by cloud and rain in the early hours.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill told PA: “In the early hours it’s definitely going to be cloudy and quite grey, it will be around then that the rain will begin to arrive, it could be dry but rain won’t be far away.”

He said that Tuesday was likely to be the driest day of the week but wet weather would reach most areas on Wednesday into Thursday.

The continuing wet weather follows high temperatures in parts of southern England last week reaching as high as 28C on Wednesday.

This was followed by parts of the South East seeing up to a month’s worth of rainfall in one day including Otterbourne, Hampshire, which saw 67mm of rainfall from 11pm Thursday to 5pm Friday, and Dancers End, Drayton Parslow, Toddington and southern Farnborough, which had rainfall between 65mm and 57mm.

A statement on the English Heritage website states: “With this week’s news that the Government is delaying the lifting of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions on June 21 and following discussions with Wiltshire Council’s Public Health team and Wiltshire Police, English Heritage has taken the extremely difficult decision to cancel the planned Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge this year.

“Sunset and sunrise will be live-streamed for free on English Heritage’s social media channels and will include exclusive interviews and music.

“English Heritage will also ensure that small, pre-booked groups from the pagan and druid community can gather on the days around the Summer Solstice to mark this important moment in their calendar.”

The stones were put up around 2500BC, carefully aligned with the movements of the sun leading some to believe the mysterious stone circle to be a Neolithic calendar.

For centuries people have gathered for festivals and to celebrate the “Solstice” which derives from the Latin word “solstitium”, meaning “sun standing still”.

Unfortunately this year, not only will there be no gathering, but the solstice looks set to be a bit more grey and wet than millions of people would have hoped for.

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