Britain's miserable summer weather could be coming to an end - just in time for the school holidays and the Olympics, according to forecasters.
Weather experts believe the jet stream, which has been blamed for the recent damp and cold spell, may move north this weekend, allowing more settled, warmer weather to move into the southern half of the country.
The Atlantic jet stream acts like a wall, separating wet and windy weather to the north from settled, sunny conditions to the south.
In a good summer, the jet stream sits to the north of Britain, shielding us from inclement weather towards the North Pole.
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So far this year it has spent an unusually long time settled to the south, exposing Britain to torrential rain that has led to flooding in many parts of the country in recent weeks.
The Met Office is predicting that if the jet stream moves north, a build-up of high pressure from the south will usher in a sustained spell of dry and sunny weather from this weekend - just as thousands of children finish school for the holidays.
Sky weather presenter Jo Wheeler said: "The blame for the current dismal summer has been laid squarely at the foot of the jet stream which is far further south than we’d expect at this time of year.
"This has left Britain and Ireland at the mercy of active frontal systems coming off the Atlantic, and continues to do so.
"The hope is, that the jet stream will move further north, allowing high pressure to build in the south which will give us some defence against changeable conditions.
"There was some hope that that would happen this week, but it didn't. And that shows how difficult it is to forecast.
"However, there are further indications to suggest that the coming weekend will see an improvement, at least over southern parts of the country."
News of better weather will be welcomed by wildlife experts, who have warned cold, wet weather of the past few months has been "almost apocalyptic" for the UK's wildlife, experts have said.
The National Trust has said birds, bats, butterflies, bees, amphibians and wildflowers have struggled to survive in the exceptionally wet conditions.
The only winners during the wettest April to June on record have proved to be slugs and snails which have thrived in many gardens.
Gardeners have also had to battle to keep their fast-growing lawns mown.
The wet weather has also been good for mosses and plants but the Trust's conservation adviser Matthew Oates said the list of losers was much longer, and warned of local extinctions of species of rare and isolated insects such as butterflies.
Wet weather has hit the breeding attempts of a wide array of wildlife, with puffins drowned in their burrows, sea birds being blown off cliffs by gales and garden birds struggling to find enough food for their young.
Puffins on the Farne Islands, managed by the National Trust, have had a catastrophic breeding year, with 90% of burrows lost on Brownsman Island and around half of burrows flooded on the other islands.
The cool conditions have also affected bats, in particular lesser and greater horseshoe bats whose pregnancies will have slowed down.
Butterflies, bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and moths are all scarce in the wet conditions.
Mr Oates said: "This is turning out to be an almost apocalyptic summer for most of our much-loved wildlife - birds, butterflies, bees.
"So much so that the prospects for many of these in 2013 are bleak.
"Our wildlife desperately needs some sustained sunshine, particularly beneficial insects."
It is crucial that the jet stream, which is bringing the wet weather over the UK, shifts back to its more usual northerly position as the country was overdue a good August, he said.
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