1944

1944 was one of only three this century when the hottest day of the year fell in May. A record-breaking depression in June caused the D-day landings to be postponed. Autumn was wet.


January. Unsettled, mild and dull. Dry in the SE, wet in the W and NW. The last week was very mild with 16C recorded at Wrexham on the 30th.

February. A very mild start, with 16C recorded on the 2nd at Chester and Rhyl on southerly winds, but colder later, with heavy snowfalls across most of the country at the end of the month. 16 inches of snow fell during a great snowstorm at Nottingham on the 27th.

March. A very dry month. Only 1 mm of rain fell in London (1.2 mm at Croydon, to be precise). There were some fogs and frosts at night, but also some sunny and mild days. 22C was recorded at a few spots across the south on the 26th.

April. Another very warm April (10.2). It was unsettled until the 19th, and then fine.

May. It was very wet in the NW on the 1st, with Kinlochquoich receiving 115 mm of rain. A mixed month with a heatwave and two cold snaps. There were also some sharp frosts around the 7th. There was an extraordinary heatwave at the end of the month. 32.8C was widespread on the 29th in London and the southeast (London, Horsham, Tunbridge): it is also the hottest late spring Bank Holiday on record. This is one of those three occasions when the hottest day of the year was in May (with 1922 and 1965). It is also the joint record May maximum temperature. Hailstones as big as marbles fell in a storm at Bermondsey on the 29th. There was a devastating flash flood following a severe thunderstorm at Holmfirth (West Yorks.) on the 29th, with loss of life. The storm happened in the late afternoon, and gave intense rain, thunder and lightning, hail, and wind: rainfall was very localised, but Glossop saw 114 mm, mostly in two hours, although some places might have seen 150 mm. The 30th was also very hot. Benmore (Argyll) recorded 27.8C, as it did also on the 29th. It followed a very cold week midmonth, with frost, from the 14th-22nd.

< P>June. Mainly dull and cool. It was drier in the SE and E but wet in the west. The Normandy Landings had to be postponed from the 5th to the 6th because of the forecast of poor weather. A severe gale on the 5th with gusts of 64 mph in the far NW. Indeed, this depression was the record lowest for Britain in June (976.8 mbars). In any case, wind and swell caused problems for the landings. Later in the month a storm in the Channel caused further disruption.


July. Generally dry but very dull. Kew, Oxford and Falmouth had the lowest sunshine totals in July for over 60 years: London averaged just three hours of sunshine a day. There was severe flooding followed 118mm of rain in two hours at West Wickham (SE London) on the 22nd.

August. Mainly dry and warm, especially the first half. It was 31C in the south on the 16th. The weather changed on the 18th. Later, -3C was recorded at Dalwhinnie on the 27th. A dry month particularly in the north of England and Scotland.

September. Mostly cool and unsettled but with anticyclonic spells between the 9th adn 12th and 17th and 18th. Very wet in the NE; Newcastle had three times the average rainfall.

October. Wet and cold. Also of note this month; with victory in distant sight, the government allowed information about the weather to be broadcast on the radio again, if only a forecast for the day before yesterday.

November. Dull, wet and stormy across the country. There was a total of 113mm of rain on the 13th in Snowdonia. A very wet month in Edinburgh.

December. Dry in the south (with half the average rainfall at Kew) and wet in the north. A foggy Christmas. There was intense freezing fog in the south 19-29th, with everything covered in rime. Many areas in the south had subfreezing maxima on Christmas Day. Further north, in Scotland, mild Atlantic air gave much less interesting (and less dangerous) conditions.