1960

1960 saw a very wet summer and autumn. The period July 1960 to February 1961 was exceptionally wet, with much flooding, particularly in the West and especially Devon. It was the wettest autumn on record for much of southern England. The longest sequence of consecutive warmer-than-average months (17) ended with July.


January. Slightly cooler than average. There were some heavy snowfalls midmonth across the south. A blizzard closed the east coast railway in Scotland on th 18-19th, with 1 m drifts. A wet month overall.

February. Near average, but the first in a sequence of 17 consecutive warmer-than-average months. Nevertheless there were two heavy snowfalls in the north midmonth. It was very warm at the end of the month, with 17.8C recorded at Herne Bay.

March. Quite average.

April. On the mild side.

May. Started cold, but warm weather spread south. On the 2nd it was only 6C in London but 16C in Edinburgh. A warm spell followed.

June. Warm and sunny overall, but with a cool, changeable second week. The final in a sequence of 17 consecutive warmer-than-average months. There was a hot spell after midmonth, and on the 18th, 32C was reached locally (e.g. Wyton). There were some violent thunderstorms on the nights of the 22-23 and 23-24, after a hot spell. It was 28.9C at Morecombe and 28.3C at Rhyl on the 22nd. There were 8 hours of continuous thunder in the West Midlands overnight on the 22-23. East Anglia was particularly affected on the 23-24th. 100 mm of rain fell in just over 5 hours at Duns Tew Manor in Oxfordshire on the on the 23rd, and 75 mm overnight in Suffolk. The lightning was particularly prominent: there were over 7000 strokes at Woolhampton (Berks.) between 1.45 am and 6.45 am on the 23rd. There were two lightning-related deaths.

July. Rain fell every day over the Pennines. This month there were 303 mm at Darwen (Lancs.), and 235 mm at Princetown (Dartmoor), as five substantial depressions crossed the country.

August. Unsettled: cool and wet with frequent thunderstorms. A thunderstorm gave 41 mm of rain near Southsea on the 2nd. 85 mm at Monkmoor (Shrops.), and 82 mm in two hours at Old Malden (Surrey). 40 hours of rain fell at Brighton between the 9th-11th, giving 125 mm of rain, as two depressions passed by; it was cold, too. More thunder midmonth, with 25 mm in 15 minutes at Harlech on the 13th, and 56 mm at Cleethorpes on the 14th. A thousand foot high waterspout spotted near the Isle of Sheppey on the 18th. Heavy frontal rain in Northern Ireland on the 24th; 150 mm fell at Coleraine (Northern Ireland) in 24 hours; then there were 50 mm of rain across much of northern Scotland on the 25th, with 91 mm at Forres. There were golf-ball sized hailstones on the 26th that damaged the tomato crop in Jersey. The only warm spell saw temperatures of 25C in the east on the 22nd.

September. Heavy rain in the SW on the 28th, with flooding. On the 30th, Exeter was almost cut off.

October. Quite a month, with some severe thunderstorms. Dull and very wet (the second wettest of the century). Low pressure dominated the first week, but with some warm, humid spells in the sun: 21C at Maldon (Essex) on the 6th. There was some serious flooding, at its most severe in Devon. In the five days ending on the 2nd Teignmouth had 175 mm of rain. There were 60 mm in 2 hours near Lyme Regis on the 2nd. Two notable spells of flooding in the Exeter region, on the 6th and 26/27th. More heavy rain in the SW in the following week; nearly a 1000 houses flooded in Exmouth on the 6th. There was a severe thunderstorm gave Horncastle (Lincs.): 184 mm in 5 1/2 hours on the 7th between midday and 6pm: 178mm fell in 3 hours, with most of the rain falling between 2.30 and 4 pm - this is the highest known 3 hour rainfall total in the UK. The result was severe flooding: 100 homes were flooded, a man drowned, and many shops were damaged. Four miles away at Revesby reservoir the fall was 162 mm. More thunderstorms later in the week: 103 mm at Luxborough (Somerset) on the 8th, and 87 mm at Danby Lodge (North Yorks.) on the same day. There was widespread flooding in the south. The second week was drier, with cold and sunny weather in parts. Prolonged easterly winds on the other hand gave the north and west of Scotland a particularly dry month. From the 17th there was more heavy rain, followed by thundery showers. Aberdeen managed only 12 minutes sunshine from the 18-31st. More rain in the SW on the 26-27th, as rivers rose to their highest level this century, leading to further extensive flooding. There was a total of 314mm of rain at Exeter, three times the average.

November. The very wet autumn continued with a wet November. 175 mm widespread across the country; 624 mm in Snowdonia. It was very dry in the NW of Scotland again, however. As is often the case with very wet months, it was a relatively sunny month.

December. Flooding in South Wales on the 3rd following heavy rain, with 152 mm falling on the Brecon Beacons.