Longest day of the year is looming ... and it's still raining!

The rain persists
The rain persists

With just a week to go until the longest day of the year, many people in the North East are asking when will the summer start!

After next Monday (June 20), the nights will start drawing in and yet we seem to be stuck in a weather rut of miserable, cloudy, damp and misty conditions. The Met Office predicts the overcast skies will continue in the North East until the end of the week, when it will start to become drier, brighter and breezier.

Foggy conditions

Foggy conditions

Monday is the June solstice, when the UK will experience 12 hours 15 minutes of daylight. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is known as the Summer Solstice, while in the Southern Hemisphere, which has the shortest day of the year, it is called the Winter Solstice.

A solstice happens when the sun is at its furthest point from the Earth's equator. It reaches its northernmost point, directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees.

Annually, the date varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year, and which time zone you are in.

Forecast for Northumberland and the North East from the Met Office:

Today: Rather cloudy, with extensive low cloud, patchy rain and some mist. A few heavier showers may develop inland later, perhaps also limited brighter intervals, although the prevailing theme is likely to remain damp and cloudy. Maximum temperature 14 °C.

Tonight: Mist and hill fog should again become extensive in the light wind, with further spells of light rain and a few heavier showers possible throughout the night. Minimum temperature 11 °C.

Tuesday: Starting rather cloudy and misty, with further light rain at times. Becoming more showery into the afternoon, with some limited sunny intervals but also slow-moving heavy and perhaps thundery showers. Maximum temperature 15 °C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Remaining rather cloudy, with further low cloud, mist and patchy rain, perhaps breaking into brighter but showery conditions inland. Perhaps becoming drier, brighter and breezier to end the week.

Updated at 3pm today.