Forecasters say the summer weather will return to Essex later this week following a fortnight of rain and chilly temperatures.

The Essex Weather Centre is predicting some parts of the county could hit as high as 25c on Sunday as the weather finally begins to improve.

More cloud and rain is forecast up to Thursday, but with temperatures rising above 20c again by then, there is the prospect of the sun returning on Friday and in time for the weekend.

Temperatures will reach 24c on Saturday and 25c on Sunday, though there is an outside threat of thunderstorms returning to Essex on Sunday.

In it’s weekly forecast, the weather centre said: “Showers affecting many areas to start this week, locally heavy and thundery.

“Becoming drier by the end of the week and into the weekend.

“Temperatures slowly rising and becoming a few degrees above average by Saturday and Sunday.

“Winds generally light and variable in direction. High UV and pollen levels will continue.”

The Met Office says the east of England will see the best weather in the country this weekend, and is still raising the prospect of a heatwave in July.

In it’s long range forecast, it said: “As is typical for the time of year, confidence is relatively low for this period, though the emphasis is for a lot of fine and dry weather for the rest of July.

“Occasional spells of rain are possible for northwestern areas, whilst there is a very low risk of thundery conditions at times, especially in the south.

“Temperatures are likely to be above average throughout, which increases the possibility of some very warm or hot spells occurring.”