1982

There were record-breaking lows in January 1982. Although December 1981 and January 1982 contained some exceptional weather, the mild spells meant that overall the winter was to then only 8th coldest of the century. This year we had to wait until September for summer, with what was before 1997 the wettest June of the century.

January. A good winter continues. It began mild and wet at the New Year, but then became very cold from the 5th to the 15th with some record low temperatures. December's cold air was never far away, and with anticyclones in place over Greenland and Scandinavia a cold front moved south, pushed down by northeasterlies, with cold air slowly reintroduced from the 3rd, preceded by heavy rain. Between the 5th and 8th over 100 mm of rain fell on the Southern Uplands and Pennines. As the ground was frozen, it just ran off. As a result there was severe flooding in the York district when the River Ouse broke its banks after rising to 5m above normal. Ice floes became jammed under bridges. The flood waters then froze over. On the morning of the 5th there were over 40 cm of level snow at Braemar. There was more snow in the north on the 7th; and -23C at Braemar; the next day Grantown-on-Spey fell to -26.8C. The battle between very cold and mild air in the south led to blizzards; the Midlands and Wales had 30-50 cm of snow on the 8-9th with easterly gales. Many places were cut off (e.g. Torquay and Weymouth). Some drifts were 20' high. Lasting 36 hours, this was one of the most severe blizzards of the century across the Southwest and Midlands.Throughout the snowfall temperatures hovered around -3C. In the far SW mild air encroached, giving an ice storm as rain fell onto frozen ground and surfaces. Electricity pylons were particularly susceptible to ice damage. As the cold front straddled Devon, the temperature was 10C to the south, but at the same time only 2C a little further north. Then with clear skies, light winds, and snow cover, Braemar fell to -27.2C (equal British record for the lowest reading) on the morning of the 10th, and logged several other very low minima that month. The maximum on the 10th was only -19.1C: a record low maximum for Britain; with a freshening easterly wind even Weymouth did not rise above -4C that day. The following day the minimum was -26.3C. There were some other very low temperatures in Scotland on the morning of the 11th, including -26.6 Cat Bowhill, and -26.2 at West Linton, both in the Borders. The English record lowest minimum was also set early in the morning of the 10th (beating that just made in December 1981!): -26.1C at Harper Adams College, just outside Newport (Shropshire). The maximum at Benson (Oxon.) was only -10C on the 13th. The nights of the 11th and 14th were also extremely cold. Bedford (the closest reading I have for Cambridge that year, where I was at the time) went down to -15.9C on the 14th. Many places had continuous frost from the 7th to 11th. Then there was some freezing fog. Mild air reached Scotland on the 13th and the south on the 15th. Nevertheless, there was snow cover at Balmoral from 4 December to 28 January. However, as it was mild at the beginning and end of the month the month overall was not that cold.

February. Slightly more mild than average. What a pathetic end to a wonderful winter!

March. <>A gust of 100 mph was recorded at St Abbs Head on the 3rd.

April. A pretty average month, slightly warmer than usual (8.6C).

May. Again, snow showers at the start of the month. Overall though it was slightly warmer than average.

June. The wettest this century in England and Wales before 1997. Much of the rain came from thunderstorms. King's Lynn had 13 thunder days that month. Some notable thunderstorms at the start of the month, which began hot and humid. Thunderstorms on the afternoon of the first led to flooding around Huddersfield. There was 90 mm of rain in two hours at Wooton Bassett (Wilts) on the 2nd. 92 mm of rain at Cheshunt (Herts.) and 61mm at Enfield on the 4th. Cheshunt then had a further 35mm of rain on the 5th (that meant twice the normal monthly rainfall in two days). Thunderstorms were widespread on the 4-6th, with lightning deaths. 39 mm of rain in 25 minutes at Stoke-by-Clare (Suffolk) on the 6th; 96 mm at Skipton (North Yorks.) on the 6th. At the same time, 30C was reached at Tummel Bridge on the 5th. There was a notable hailstorm in Bristol on the 18th. Two days of rain over northern England on the 21-22nd, with low daytime temperatures of only 10 degrees. The area around the Humber had 100 mm of rain in 75 hours in that spell. Heavy downpour in Epping Forest on the 25th causing muddy flooding. On the 26th a severe storm in north London led to the death of three children by drowning in a swollen stream at Hendon. 36mm at Stanmore, most of it in half an hour. A severe hailstorm at Ludlow (Shrops.) on the 26th resulted in foot-deep hail drifts. There were only 20 minutes of sunshine in Newcastle from the 17th to 26th inclusive. The month was however very dry in northern Scotland.

July. Fairly warm and dry; quite sunny in the north. Some notable thunderstorms in the second week, particularly in the southwest on the 11th. On the night of the 11-12th, Bruton in Somerset (see also events of June 1917 in Bruton) received 113 mm of rain in 16 hours; the River Brue burst its banks, leading to flooding. Lightning strikes led to loss of power. More storms the next night, spreading on the 14-15th over the rest of the south. On the 14th, 22 mm of rain fell in 14 minutes at Stanstead (Essex), with lightning strikes. Prestwick airport recorded 95 hours of sunshine from the 18-24th.

August. A hot and thundery first week. The hottest day of the year was the 3rd, when 30.7C was recored at Morley St. Botolph (Norf.) There were 123.6 mm of rain in 3 hours at Ely on the 4th. The 3rd to 5th were the three hottest August days on record at Lerwick, with 23C being exceeded each day. There were heavy thunderstorms with localised flooding in Norfolk on the 6th. Overall the month's mean temperature was in the end close to the average.

September. Warmer than average. The first three weeks were fine and warm in the SE, although it was unsettled in the N and W. Notable heatwave. The last ten days were wet and stormy, with tornadoes on the 21st.

October. Very dull, cold, and very wet. The second half was particularly unsettled. The month was most notable for a slow-moving cold front that gave 40mm of rain over 60 hours in parts of East Anglia and the southeast from the 20-22nd.

November. Unsettled, wet, and often stormy. Mild in the south. It was 19C in Kent on the 1st. Generally a southwesterly month, but with some snow around the 14th.

December. Wet and windy, cold in the north. A gust of nearly 90 mph was recorded at Leeming on the 15th. A pressure reading of only 937.6 mbar was recorded at Stornoway on the 20th. This was the lowest pressure reading in Britain for nearly a hundred years.