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Normal summer weather 'on the way'

Britain is finally expected to get drier and warmer next week - but only after the country is hit by yet more downpours.

This summer's record-breaking grim weather has been caused by the jet stream settling unusually far south. Now experts believe it is on its way back north, restoring a "more usual summer pattern".

The wettest April to June on record, followed by more heavy rain so far this month, has caused widespread - and in some cases, repeated - flooding. More showers are expected to dampen the nation's spirits over the coming days, with heavy rain in the middle of the week, forecasters said.

The slightly improving conditions over the weekend have meant the Environment Agency (EA) now has a vastly reduced number of flood warnings and alerts. They remain in place as drainage systems and river catchments struggle to come to terms with the record-breaking deluges that have left vast parts of the country saturated.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said: "There is going to be more rain. There will be patchy rain around tomorrow, more towards the North. On Wednesday it will be very wet in places - southern Scotland, northern England, Northern Ireland and north Wales."

He said there will be some rain around on Thursday, but not as heavy as the previous day. Looking ahead to the latter part of the week, he added: "We will get high pressure building to the west, and it looks like that's going to give us a couple of dry days on Friday and Saturday.

"It looks like there's going to be high pressure across the south of the UK, so it looks like it's going to be generally drier next week. But northern areas will see some rain, particularly northern Scotland."

Meanwhile, in a written ministerial statement, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the Government will now reimburse local authorities for all of the money they have spent on cleaning up after the floods above 0.2% of their budget.

She also insisted the effects of the recent floods would have been worse if councils and the Environment Agency not been so well prepared.

But Mrs Spelman warned: "With the immediate outlook continuing to look unsettled, further flooding is a possibility and the Government and relevant agencies remain vigilant. People should continue to be alert to forecasts and warnings, and be prepared to respond if required."

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