1921

1921 was the driest year on record: only 236 mm fell at Margate (Cliftonville). This figure is probably unreliable; a leak was later fell in the rain gauge. Ramsgate logged 273 mm, and Southend only 271 mm. Much of lowland Britain recorded less than 500 mm, and much of the east and southeast only 350 mm - a shortfall of 40-50%. The drought was made worse because 1921 was a warm and sunny year. London recorded only 269 hours of rainfall (the average is 437). This was just one of two occasions - and the last - in the twentieth century when an excellent June and July were followed by a poor August. In this case though September and October were also very good. With 1834 the warmest year in the British temperature series until 1949.


January. Very warm (7.3C CET), and largely mild and wet - the last wet month for a while. It reached 15.6C (60F) at Llandudno on the 4th and 14.4C (58F) at London on the 9th. There was a severe gale across the night of the 17th and into the 18th.

February. Very mild and exceptionally dry: the driest of the twentieth century in England and Wales. It was also fairly sunny, and with generally light winds there was some fog. 17C recorded in parts of the SE on the 24th.

March. Mainly dry and fair in the SE. Wetter in the west. Very wet at Fort William. Generally a dull month too apart from the east and SE. 20C (69F) was recorded at Camden Square on the 25th.

April. Dry and sunny bit with some severe night frosts. The month had a warm start. Some places recorded 22C on the 1st. A thunderstorm in Sheffield on the 9th killed two horses. The temperature at Kew was 21C on the 13th, but only 5C on the 15th; -8C was recorded at Benson (Oxford) that day. The end of the month was warm, sunny, and cloudless, with some high temperatures on the 28th.

May. Fairly warm and dry in the south. Showery at times with snow in the north at first. Some warm days with night frosts. 26C at Norwich on the 13th, and 27C at Weymouth on the 25th. It was sunnier than usual everywhere. There was a major geomagnetic storm 13-15th as a result of mass coronal ejection, sparking a number of fires across the world.

June. A very dry month. There was no measurable rain at all in parts of Sussex all month. 31C was recorded on the 17th, and then 32C in Manchester on the 25th.

July. Very sunny, very hot (18.5), and very dry, exacerbating the prolonged drought. 34C recorded in E and SE England on the 10th and 11th. At times, it was unusually windy for such a hot, dry spell.

August. A poor August in a dry year. It was generally wet and unsettled, particularly in the west, although not too bad in the SE. The month started well, with 83F at Lowestoft and 82F at Margate and Great Yarmouth on the Bank Holiday on the 1st. There were some heavy and widespread thunderstorms in northern ancd central England on the 11th. Nearly 3 inches of rain fell at Pullham (Norfolk) on the 13th. Half an inch of rain fell in half an hour in a thunderstorm on the 23rd at Hampstead Heath in London. Two inches of rain fell at Morpeth on the 29th alone, yet in contrast there were only 12 mm in the whole month at Walton-on-the-Naze. On average it was wet in the west and north but dry in the southeast.

September. A warm, dry, sunny month. A very warm start, culminating in 30C at Southend on the 9th. Aldershot recorded 26 on the 3rd, falling to 1.1C that night, rising to 24C again the next time. The only real relief from the great drought of 1921 came on the 11th, when 25mm of rain fell across large areas of the south.

October. Heatwave! The high of 28.9C in London on the 5th and 6th remained a record maximum for October until 1985; it is still the record warmest day so late in the year this century. The high of 27.8C in London on the 9th is the latest date in the year when 80F was reached anywhere in the UK. The heatwave was prolonged over several days: 25C was exceeded eight times in the first ten days. The temperature at Brighton on the night of the 1-2 didn't follow below 17.2C (63F). Later, 24.4C was reported in several locations in the southeast on the 18th. Generally fine, sunny, and extremely dry, but with some exceptions: thundery outbreaks early on: 63mm at Oswestry on the 3rd, flooding in Lochaber on the 5th. Cooler second week with local heavy rain. There was heavy rain in Kent and Sussex on the 20th, Shanklin (IOW) flooded, 62mm of rain in thunderstorm at Tunbridge Wells. Overall it is the fourth warmest October on record (with a CET of 12.8C, after 2001, 1969, and 1995). The sunniest October on record, with sunshine 41% above average.

November. Cold and dry after a stormy start. Some snow midmonth. Sunny days with some frosty nights. It was anticyclonic midmonth. There was persistent dense fog over much of England from the 19-21st and in London 27-28th. There were severe delays to all kinds of transports, and many accidents.

December. Mild and unsettled, drier than average apart from the NW and Scotland. Across much of the south the temperature didn't fall beneath 10C on the night of the 18/19th.