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.


January. There was an intense but brief cold spell four days at the end (from the 28th). Temperatures fell to -17.0C at Edinburgh and with a low-level British low for the month of -17.7C at Warsop (Notts.) and East Malling (Kent); it even fell to -15.6C at Gatwick on the morning of the 31st. At Cromer and Binbrook (Lincs.), the maximum on the 31st was -6C. Places in the SE had 72 hours of continuous frost. Because of the way in which minima are recorded (by "throwing forward" to the next day), in some parts of the Midlands the lowest temperature in January was actually attributed to February.

February. 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.

March. On the mild side.

April. A very average month.

May. Slightly cooler than average. Most unusually, the temperature failed to reach 70F (21C) anywhere in Britain this month. Wet.

June. Very cold; the temperature never exceeded 23C. Equal coldest of the century (11.8). Wet as well. Northern Ireland recorded the lowest temperature of the month, with -1.2C.

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. Lightning damage and injuries across the country. Flooding around Manchester. The hottest day of the year was in Perth: 29.4C on the 20th.

August. Overall dry and cool. 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. A small tornado near Ipswich.

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.

October. Very average (10.6C).

November. A month with average temperatures overall.

December. The Fohn 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.