1972

The early 70s seem rather dull, weather-wise, don't they? I certainly don't remember much out of the ordinary from my childhood in Southampton apart from the odd bit of sun and the odd bit of rain. 1972 in the UK saw a terrible spring, and early summer was very poor, with many parts of the country having to wait until 12 July to see temperatures over 70F. August to October was very dry. Overall it was a cold year (mean 14.2 ºC in the CET): there hasn't been a colder year since.


January. There was an intense but brief cold spell four days at the end (from the 28th). Temperatures  fell to -15.6C at Gatwick on the morning of the 31st. At Cheltenham and Binbrook (Lincs.), the maximum on the 31st was -4C, and then there was a low-level British low for the month of -17.7C at Warsop (Notts.) and East Malling (Kent) on the the 31st. Places in the SE had 72 hours of continuous frost. I don't remember it at all!

February. Right at the start of the month, temperatures fell to -17.0C at Edinburgh. The Siberian high that had brought late January's cold snap retreated on the 1st, replacing the polar continental air with mild westerlies, not before the lowest temperature of the year was recorded with -18.3C at Corbridge (Northumberland) on 1 February. It was a dull month.  It was the dullest February recorded at Durham since 1940 and Oxford since 1947. 

March. On the mild side. The month had a stormy first week then was more settled. 19C was recorded in Hastings on the 21st.

April. A very average month. It was changeable for the first two weeks then settled from the 14th to the 27th.

May. Slightly cooler than average. It has been noted that, most unusually, the temperature failed to reach 70F (21C) anywhere in Britain this month (although 22.0 at Brighton on the 2nd has been claimed). It was a wet month.

June. Very cold; the temperature never exceeded 23C. It was the equal coldest of the century (11.8C, along with 1909 and 1916), and only 1675 was colder. Fortunately there hasn't been a June as cool since. It was wet as well. Northern Ireland recorded the lowest temperature of the month, with a minimum of -1.2C. It was though dry in the London area.

July. Many parts of the country had to wait until the 12th for the first day of the year over 21C (70F). It was sunny and warm in the middle of the month, but then there were some notable thunderstorms. On the 19th, lightning killed cattle at Romney Marsh. There were landslides around Exeter on the 19th, following 91 mm of rain, 89 mm of it in two hours early in the morning. Lightning strikes caused widespread power outages. On the 23rd, hail was large enough (reported as 27 mm in diameter) to break windows in the Nottingham area; 31 mm of rain fell in half an hour at Newark; and traffic was brought to a halt on the M6 in Staffs, as 44 mm of rain fell in 20 minutes at Farley (Staffs.). There were more thunderstorms began on 31st July. 50 mm of rain in a couple of hours near Chingford. There were ightning damage and injuries across the country. Flooding around Manchester. The hottest day of the year was in Scotland, in Perth: 29.4C on the 20th.

August. Overall dry and cool. Rainfall overall was less than half of the average over large areas of England and Wales, and less than a quarter of the average was recorded in some Eastern and Southern counties.However, there were some severe storms again from the 1st. 70mm of rain fell near Chesterfield. Old Costessy (near Norwich) had severe flooding following 135mm of rain in about 2 hours early in the morning.  small tornado near Ipswich. It was dry almost everywhere after the 8th, and the the third week was sunny. September. Very cool (11.7C CET) and dry: the driest of the 20th century in Scotland. There was however some heavy thundery rain in the southeast on the 19th. Sunshine was above average in the North West and below average in eastern England. It was the dullest September recorded in Hull since 1941.

October. Average temperatures (10.6C CET). It was though the driest October since records began in Ipswich with 3mm. It was the sunniest October since 1951 over Scotland and a sunny month in SW Scotland and NW England. 

November. A month with average temperatures overall. There was though  a mild first week, with 19.5C in Hereford on the 6th.

December. The Foehn effect led to a reading of 18.0C at Aber, near Bangor, on the 18th; on that day Cape Wrath made 17.7. Very stormy in the first half of the month. 955mbar recorded off NW Scotland on the 1st.