1983

There was a very thundery May in 1983 followed by a superb July and August make this year memorable. Generally, an extremely thundery year. There were 40 days with temperatures above 27C between 3rd July and 31st August, including 17 consecutively (3rd - 19th July).

January. An extremely mild month (6.7), wet in the west, and windy. Dull in the north: Orkney could only manage 7 hours sunshine all month. A storm surge hit the NW on 31 January, but as the sea defences had been improved flooding was much less extensive than in 1977.

February. Dry and cold, much snow midmonth, particularly in the east. -14.2C was recorded at Lagganlia on the 19th.

March. Quite a dull and wet month. Cold from the 21st on, with snow showers in the north.

April. Mostly cold, particularly in the east, wet and dull, but with a more mild, sunny spell in the middle of the month. It was a cold, snowy Easter. The NE and north Midlands had snow late on Good Friday (1st). The north winds at first brought heavy rain to the east and Midlands that turned to snow. On the 2nd more snow spread south across the country, causing traffic disruption in the south. Snow in eastern England on Easter Day (3rd). Essex and Kent had 10-15 cm of cover, with more on the Downs, leading to many roads becoming blocked. There was some snow somewhere on each of the four days of the Easter holiday weekend.

May. Cool, dull, and very wet (England and Wales averaged 115 mm). An extremely thundery month. 20.3C was recorded at Weymouth on 25 May - notable for being the latest date on which 20C has been reached.

June. Mostly cloudy and cool. A very dry month in the south but with some notable thunderstorms. As hot air from the south met cool air from the northeast, there were some severe thunderstorms on the 5th over the south coast, with hail reported up to 75 mm, although most were around 30mm. There was a small tornado near Brighton, leading to a “crabfall”. The storm clouds were reported as an eery green colour. Coal picked up by a small tornado fell on Poole during a storm. The cold front associated with the depression led to more thunder and hailstorms on the 7th, particularly over Wales and the west: hailstones 75 mm in diameter were reported in a storm in Manchester, with spectacular lightning. Much damage. There were some unsettled westerlies in second week. It was then warm and settled before more severe thunderstorms on 23rd, with103 mm of rain near Alresford (Hants.). Unsettled end, with many places in the south having their first real substantial rain for three weeks.

July. The hottest July of the century (19.5C), and indeed the hottest month since records began (until July 2006). Also mostly dry and sunny, but with some severe thunderstorms. A ridge of high pressure extended from the Azores as the month started. The temperature reached the magic 32C somewhere in the country every day from the 12-16th, and the average daily maximum at Heathrow in the month was 27.6C. There were 17 consecutive days above 27C (80F) somewhere in the country between the 3rd and 19th, and 22 days above 27C in total; the temperature exceeded 21C somewhere in the country every day but one. There were 7 consecutive days over 30C from 11-17th July.  The highest temperature of the month was 33.7C at Liphook (Hants.) on the 16th (although this might be a high reading, with 33.0 at Hampton on the 15th and East Bergholt in Suffolk on the 16th being more reliable). A possible record high of 31.2C for Northern Ireland was set at Downpatrick (Co. Down) on the 14th; a more definite 30.8C was recorded at Shaw's Bridge, Co. Down (near Belfast; Belfast Airport saw 28.6C) on the 12th (the equal confirmed highest for the region, with 30 June 1976). The highest temperature recorded in the Isle of Man was set this month with 28.9C on the 12th. Cardiff recorded its highest ever temperature, of 33.1C, on the 13th. Even Coatbridge in Scotland reached 31.5C on the 12rh. It was also very humid. Some cool mist on North Sea coasts with NE winds; but the east coast improved later in the month as winds became more westerly. Thunderstorms on the 6th and 16-17th. Lightning deaths on the 6th; 95 mm of rain at Sevenoaks and 8 1mm at Croydon. More lightning deaths in the storms of the 16-17th. There was 68 mm of rain in 45 minutes at Cromer. Severe hailstorms. Flooding in the Pennines. A cold front moved south on the 18th, bringing more normal temperatures to the south for a few days before pressure built again. Penzance was flooded in the 22nd. 70mm of rain in one hour in Dumfries and Galloway led to flooding there. It was very warm again at the end, with 32C at Skegness and Liphook on the 29th. More widespread thunder on the 31st. The heatwave almost exactly coincided with the calendar month. This was my summer of love, and I remember being able to sit out in the sun in the parks of Dundee. Hence I make this the most interesting July for weather of the century.

August. Hot (17.3) and dry. There was a cool, showery start before it turned warm and sunny. 32C was reached Yeovilton on the 19th.

September. Average temperatures overall. It was very warm on the 24th: 26C in Exeter and Jersey.

October. The first three weeks were unsettled and quite windy, but warm with mostly westerly winds. From the 20th on it became fine, with some notable frosts: -6C at Bournemouth airport on the 30th.

November. Quite mild.

December. Mild and wet. Colder spell midmonth. It then became mild and unsettled, and stormy at times. There was 250 mm of rain in the last week of the month at Fort William. It reached 16C in several locations on the 27th.