Top Ten UK Weather Events of the Twentieth Century


A little while ago, Bob Prichard has written a short column in the Weatherwatch slot of Wednesday's "Guardian" newspaper. (The only reason I ever bought it.) He listed the top hundred weather events of the twentieth century, culminating in his top ten. I found some of them surprising. For what it's worth, here would be my top ten:

10 August 1990

9 July 1983

8 Winter 1947, particularly March 1947

7 The Great smog of December 1952

6 The Ice Storm of January 1940

5 The Great Storm of October 1987

4 Lynemouth storm and flood of August 1952

3 The North Sea floods of winter 1953

2 The summer of 1976

1 The Great Freeze of 1962-63


Anywhere, here are Bob Prichard's top ten, in order, with my commentary. 8 December was a break, looking at some severe weather events that happened after the series started three years ago.


10 (20 October 1999) The London smog of December 1952. I was surprised that this wasn't going to be higher, but on reflection, I can see why. It might have caused a great many deaths (4000-12000, depending on whose figures you take), but there were weather events that were more noticeable.

9 (27 October 1999) The thunderstorms of September 14, 1968. A real surprise for me, this one.

8 (3 November 1999) The cold snap of April, 1908. Yes pretty extraordinary, but not in my top ten.

7 (10 November 1999). August 3 1990. The hosttest day on record has to be there somewhere. As Bob Prichard points out, this is "on official record": maybe the hottest day was really somewhere else somewhen else. A bit of a carping tone in the article - he gets fed up with the constant hunt for records. Well, I an many others don't! Long may the press continue to get excited about the weather.

 6 (17 November 1999). The Lynmouth flood of August 1952. About the same. A terrible disaster.

5 (24 November 1999). The thunderstorms of early July 1968. Another surprise for me. 1968 was clearly a great year for thunderstorms.

4 (1 December 1999). The great winter of '62-63. My favourite.

3 (15 December 1999). The great storm of October 1987. I was on the edge of that one.

2 (22 December 1999). The North Sea floods of January 1953.

1 (29 December 1999). Winter 1947.


While we're on top tens, here's Jonathan Webb's of TORRO top 30. He's given me his top fifteen widespread events and his top fifteen convective (more local thunderstorms).


Widepread

1 Severe cold and floods of January-March 1947

2 Icestorm of 26-29 January 1940

3 Gale and floods of 31 January 1953

4 The summer of '76

5 Winter of 1981-82

6 The severe winter of 1962-63

7 The Great Storm of 16 October 1987

8 The late cold spell of 24-25 April 1908

9 The blizzards of January-February 1978

10 Rain over the east on 26 August 1912

11 Gale on 2 January 1976

12 Rain of August 1952

13 The extended summer of 1911

14 Heavy rain in the SE on 14-15 September 1968

15 Heatwave of summer 1906


Convective

1 Storms of 5 September 1958

2 Storms of 1-12 August 1938

3 Storms of 1-2 July 1968

4 Tornadoes and storms of 21 May 1950

5 Hailstorm of 22 September 1935

6 Storms of 19-21 June 1936

7 Storms of 4 July 1915

8 Storms of 5-7 June 1983

9 Storms of 10-11 June 1970

10 Tornado and storms of 27 October 1913

11 Storms of 17-18 July 1955

12 Storms of June and July 1900

13 Storms and hail of 2-3 July 1946

14 Storms of 31 May 1911

15 Storms of 13 July 1967


To view details of what happened in these months, go to the index at:

British weather month index


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