1961

Summer started late this year, in spite of a very warm April: a magnificent September. The four-month period ending with January 1961 was the third wettest of the century, with a total of 563 mm of rain.


January. A wet month.

February. A very mild month (6.9C CET - the mildest since 1945, and the next time one was warmer was 1990), with mostly unsettled westerlies. The temperature reached 18.3C in Bromley, London on the 14th, a record for the first half of February (but see 1998). It was stormy on the 26th, when a gust of wind of 116 mph was recorded at Tiree.

March. Very dry in the southeast: almost rainless in places. Very warm start, with temperatures above 15.9C on the 3rd-6th, and a heatwave towards the end, with temperatures above 21C (the low 70s in old money) during the 14-17th - and London saw 23C. On many days the warmest place in the country was east Scotland.

April. Very warm (10.0C).

May. Most of the month's rain fell in the firt nine days; the rest of the month was dry and sunny, particularly in the south. There were some damaging frosts at the end of the month.

June. Very cold first day, but then became much warmer, dry, and sunny. 31C was recorded a Abingdon on the 30 June.

July. 33.9C was recorded on the 1st in a few locations in the southeast. This was the highest temperature of the decade. Remember, the 60s were where the cold weather was happening at. The next day was much colder, the temperature reaching only 22C in London.

August. Generally a cool, wet month, although it was dry in parts of the south. There was a late heatwave: 32C in the south of England on the 29th, and it was still 25C at midnight.

September. Very warm: until 1999, the third warmest of the century (15.2C CET). There was a heatwave a the start of the month, with some severe thunderstorms. It was 31C on the 1st in the south, and 26C even at Selkirk. Some thunder that night. The next day, the 2nd, nearly made 90F: almost 32.0C at Gatwick on the 2nd (31.6C). The heatwave was followed by some notable thunderstorms during the night of the 2nd, particularly in the north. There were 66 mm of rain at Manchester, with heavy hail, and several hours of thunder, with lightning six times a minute at the peak just before dawn on the 3rd. 45 mm of rain fell in 60 minutes. 11 mm of rain in 10 minutes at Litton (North Yorks.). Obviously, there was some serious flooding. The thunderstorms continued on the 3rd and 4th, with more of the action further south. Violent storms in east Kent early on the 4th, with a power failure in Margate. Flooding to three feet depth in the streets of Poole. The Isle of Wight had 94 mm of rain during the night at Sandown. The thunderstorms moved off to the continent on the 6th. Later in the month, the remnants of Hurricane Betsy and Debbie arrived; the latter brought severe gales to Ireland and to western and northern parts of Scotland as it moved north on the 16-17th. The month was then settled from the 20th to 27th, but with more rain at the end.

October. A wet month. Exceptionally wet in North Wales, where 179 mm was recorded. It was a sunny month, particularly in the Midlands. It was warm (21C) in the east on the 10th. There was a severe gale on the 23-24th, with gusts in excess of 90 mph, affecting the NW.

November. Slightly cooler than normal; dry, and quite sunny. The month had an unsettled beginning. 18C was recorded in Exeter on the 1st, but there were snow flurries in the southeast on the 4th. Fog at night became a problem from the 5th until the 9th. It was then very wet in the south around the 10th. The first half of the month was quite cold, with mostly NE winds until midmonth. After a settled spell there was more rain.

December. Generally on the cold side (2.2C CET), sunny at first with some sharp frosts and heavy snow in the north on the 4th. The second week however was mild and unsettled with 16C recorded on the 10th. High pressure then built to the north of Britain meant that the second half of the month was very cold, with some severe frosts and much fog. Christmas Day was cold but sunny. There was a maximum of only -5C in places on the 28th. The year ended with heavy snow across the Midlands and south on the 30-31st.