1949

1949 saw a record-breaking September and a smashing Easter. This year contains the earliest date on which 26.7C (80F) was attained this century. At 11.53, the equal warmest autumn of the century. A very sunny winter (206 hours in London). On the whole, a very good summer in the south, and a warm, sunny year overall. Shanklin set the UK record number hours of sunshine with 2263 hours: good old Isle of Wight. My mother was right to take us on holiday there. (This figure might well have been beaten by St Helier, Channel Islands, with 2340.3 hours in the sunny year of 1893.) It was the driest year overall since 1933 in England and Wales. It was the last time that March was the coldest month of the extended winter.


January. The month started unsettled and wet, with some very low pressure on the 1st (950 mbar recorded at Holyhead, Anglesey). It was quieter later, becoming mild and dry. Overall it was the driest January in England and Wales since 1911, but it was a wet month in Scotland.

February. An exceptionally sunny month, with an England and Wales average of 117 hours - the record until 2008. In places February was sunnier than the dullest June. Ross-on-Wye saw some sun every day. It was also a dry month everywhere. Tynemouth only had 12 mm of rain. There were some severe frosts in the first week; -7.8C at Wittering early on the 4th.

March. March was the coldest month of the "winter" (which is defined meteorologically as December, January, and February). The first week was cold, with three or four inches of snow lying at places as far apart as Bolton and Whipsnade on the 6th and 7th. The month also started with a gale in the evening of the 1st. The month overall was dry, particularly in the east. Dull in the east but sunnier in the west.

April. A very warm Easter; it was 23C over a wide area on Good Friday the 15th, and then 29.4C in London (Camden Square; also 28.9C at Greenwich, Kensington Gardens and Wealdstone) on the 16th (Easter Saturday), the record maximum temperature for April, and for Easter, brought on southerly winds. In the heatwave, many other parts of London also reached nearly 29C. Bude in Cornwall and Kelso in the Borders even reached 24C. This is the highest maximum for April on record. It is also the earliest date this century when 80+F was reached. Given the highest April maximum occurred only midmonth, it must be possible to exceed this. Although a cold front moved east on Easter Sunday (17th), a some places still exceeded 23C (Whitstable seeing 27.8C), so the temperature exceeded 21C on all four days of Easter in some locations. The 22nd was very wet in Scotland, Loch Sloy receiving 104 mm of rain. The month was very wet in the west, but dry and very sunny in the east.

May. Very sunny, particularly in the west. 289 hours of sunshine were recorded at Pembroke, and 277 at Blackpool. A dry month in NE England but wetter than average elsewhere.

June. After a cool, wet start, things became much better. It was dry from the 12th onwards across the country, and some places had no rain after the 7th. The last 17 days saw unbroken sunshine in the west. It was hot from the 25th on. On the 26th it was 29C at Glasgow and Falkirk; on the 27th it was 31 in Southend and 30.5 in London. It worked out to be the driest June since 1942.

July. There was a great deal of warm and sunny weather this month. It reached 33.3C at Worcester on the the 12th, the hottest day of the year. The heat triggered some thunderstorms midmonth. 105 mm of rain fell at March on the 15th. There were some violent thunderstorm in London on the 16th: lightning deaths at Plumstead and Walthamstow. 62mm of rain at Barking. There were some violent thunderstorms in the SW on the next day (17th): 48 mm of rain fell at Cannington (Somerset) in 30 minutes - and then two hours later another 35 mm fell in another 30 minutes! 31.7C (89F) was recorded at Kensington Palace on the 25th. Overall a very warm month (17.4C CET)l the warmest July since 1933.

August. There were summer gales at first. After the first week and widespread storms on the 2nd, it became mainly sunny, dry, and warm. There were several thunderstorms in the last ten days. It was a very sunny month in the southwest, with 250 hours of sunshine at Falmouth.

September. The warmest of the century by a long way (16.3C CET) - also the warmest September until 2006. Importantly, it was also the last time the highly magical 32.3C (90F) was reached this month (the Met Office giving "91F", which translates to 32.8, Maldon, Essex, on the 5th). The night before the minimum was 21C at Kew. 27C was recorded in southern England on the 11th. It was a very dry month - the driest at Kew for twenty years, with just 9 mm of rain all month. There were though widespread thunderstorms on the 22nd, giving most of the rainfall total of the month. The final week was fine, with 77F recorded at Brighton on the 26th and 78F at Rotherham. This month was the last of six Septembers when 32.3C was reached, all of them occurring in the first half of the twentieth century. Since then we wait.... Until 2016.

October. A very wet second half. 26C was recorded in Essex on the 3rd and 4th. The temperature did not fall beneath 17C in London on the night of the 14-15th. Very wet between the 16th and 26th. On the 23rd, a southerly gale damaged the sea wall at Folkestone. The month was drier than average from Cheshire to Durham.

November. Unsettled month working out to be average rain, sun, and temperature.

December. A mild Christmas: Pembroke saw 11.7C on Christmas Day, but Boxing Day was even more mild, with13.9C at Bodiam (Sussex) and Manchester airport.

]