1903 was a grim year. A very mild February. People must have been really getting fed up with cold Junes by now. Worse was yet to come... Overall this was one of the worst summers this century. Cold, wet, windy: September just made it as warmer than usual. But then with October came the wettest month on record. London had 400 mm of rain in the summer; indeed, it is the wettest year on record for London. The poor weather across the world might have been caused by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée in Martinqique in spring 1902, which continued pouring ash into the sky into 1903.

January. The record rainfall for a week in Britain was supposedly recorded in at the end of the month 20.57 inches (527 mm) from 24th to 30th January 1903 at Ben Nevis; however, this figure is almost certainly erroneous. (However, this total will have been surpassed at Seathwaite in November 2009.)

February. Very mild (7.1C CET - the mildest of the century before 1990), with westerly winds throughout the month, but stormy, particularly in the north. 14C was recorded at Wick on the 10th, and 16C in London on the 20th. Probably the most spectacular dry dustfall of this century affected much of England and Wales on February 21. There was a severe gale on the 27th, causing widespread damage and around 30 deaths across Ireland the north of England, with a gust of 92 mph. Thousands of trees were uprooted in Phoenix Park in Dublin. A train had carriages overturned on a viaduct over the Leven in Cumbria. It has been called the "Ulysses storm" because James Joyce referred to it in his novel of that name.

March. Very wet in Scotland.

April. Cold: colder than March. The record lowest maximum for April was recorded this year, with only 17.2C at Cambridge.


June. Very cold (13.0C CET). Maximum of only 10 in London on the 19th. The month is the wettest in record for London, but all the rain fell in the middle of the month: 150 mm of rain fell in London beween the the 9th and 19th. Kew recorded 183 mm, and there was more in Surrey, with 227 mm at Carshalton. The rain at Camden Square lasted 58.5 hours from the 13th to the 15th, and this is probably the longest period of continuous rain recorded in England, and one of the longest in Britain (see December 1994). The rain was accompanied by a very cool NE airflow. Obviously the result was severe flooding in the southeast. At Kew Observatory 183mm of rain fell during the middle fortnight. The wet weather arose from a complex low settled over the south, with a NE airflow. It was in contrast very dry across other parts of the country.

July. Very wet. Gales in the north on the 6th. Part of a poor summer. 110mm of rain reported at Buckhurst Hill (Essex) on the 23rd.

August. Cool, very wet and windy at times, with gales midmonth. On the 24th, 70 mm of rain fell at Nottingham.

September. Signs of summer at last in one of the worst on record: 29C in London on the 2nd, but followed midmonth by a cold and windy snap. Severe gales across England on the 10th.

October. The wettest of the century, and indeed the wettest month of all in the England and Wales rainfall series since records began in 1766: an average of 218 mm of rain fell (268% of the long-term average). 450 mm fell in the Lake District. On the 8th heavy rain affected the northeast: 100 mm fell at Newcastle, leading to much flooding. The southwest was hit by a storm a few days later. There were also gales and storms. Tornadoes hit Wareham and Banbury on the 25th. By the end of the month 25,000 acres of the country was under flood water, particularly in the flood plains of the Ouse, Severn, Trent, and Thames. Bridges were weakened and collapsed. In the north the harvest was severely affected.

November. Mild and generally dry.

December. Mild and dull.