Thursday, 2 September 2010

Hot It Was Not... Farewell to Coldest August For 17 years

by: Ryan Kisiel

It should have been the height of summer, but was notable only for its low temperatures.

The UK has just endured its coldest August for 17 years, which was marked, say forecasters, by a complete absence of 'hot days'.

The month also saw the lowest single-day August temperature for 23 years, with it falling to 55f (12.8c) in Edgbaston, Birmingham, last Thursday.

And several 'notably' cold nights were recorded last week.

An exceptionally cloudy period in the South East of England put something of a dampener on the holiday period as heavy rain fell across large swathes of the country.
The prolonged poor weather has been blamed on a band of low pressure being pushed across the country by the jet stream - the fast-flowing air currents in the upper atmosphere that move weather systems across the northern hemisphere - which was further north during the extended sunny spells of June and July.

It meant that by the end of August there had not been a single day when the mercury rose above 81f ( 27c), forecasters said.

England and Wales enjoyed just 148 hours of sunshine last month - 25 per cent less than average - and 5cm more rain than usual.

Weather consultant Philip Eden, of MeteoGroup, said average temperatures for the month had been at their lowest since 1993. But he added that the soaring temperatures enjoyed in previous years had raised people' s expectations.

He said: 'This is more a reflection of the warmth of recent Augusts rather than anything exceptional.

'During the last 100 years, 30 Augusts were cooler, 63 were warmer, and seven had the same overall mean temperature.'

During the month, temperatures in Weybourne, Norfolk, soared to a high of 26.7c, but despite some parts of the country enjoying a sunny bank holiday weekend, they generally failed to reach the scorching levels of July, when the mercury rose into the high 80s in some areas.

In some parts, July was characterised by some of the hottest temperatures recorded in decades, leading to a hosepipe ban and health warnings.

But it was also one of Britain's wettest. The UK was 46 per cent wetter than average, and some parts of the country suffered serious flooding. At the same time, the South East was basking in temperatures well into the twenties as thousands took to parks, beaches and gardens to enjoy the heatwave.

This followed June conditions which were the driest since 1995, leading to low rivers and reservoirs, parched soils and increased water demand.

It looks now as though the days of hosepipe bans are well and truly over. Rain is set to return for most parts of the country at the weekend and this week could see the last of the summer sunshine.

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