1985

At last a year with a semblance of winter. The wettest summer on record. An exceptional Indian Summer in October was followed by a very cold November. In many areas the hottest day of the year was in October.


January. Very cold (0.8C CET) with frequent snow in the first three weeks. There was heavy snowfall in Kent on the 5th (25 cm of snow around Ramsgate and Margate), with maxima of -4C. The 7th was a cold day, with temperatures beneath freezing over much of the country; -16 at Jubilee Corner (Kent) on the morning of the 8th. As the cold air retreated temporarily to the continent, temperatures rose for a while, but the cold soon returned with a vengeance around the 13th. Some very low maxima on the 16th, which was one of the coldest days of the century in parts of southern Britain: -6C at Brighton and in Kent on the 16th and Shrewsbury and Wittering on the 17th. 20 cm of snow over much of the south. Thaw from the 19th, preceded by a blizzard over the Highlands. There was a minimum of -19C on the 25th, rising to only -9, and a minimum of -22.4 at Aviemore on the 27th, and -23C at Braemar. The weather was even worse in Europe.

February. Overall, anticyclonic, dry, and cool (2.1C CET). The first week was mild. There was a very cold spell starting on the 7th, with heavy snow in the south on the 8th and 9th. Then strong easterly winds brought beneath-freezing temperatures. In some parts of the south from the 9-13th the highest temperature was -4C. In some parts of the country the temperature only climbed above freezing on the 19th. It was sunny at the end of the month.

March. Mild early in the month with some rain. There was a cold, snowy spell midmonth, and particuarly snowy over the north at the end of the month. The temperature fell to -15C at Aviemore on the 18th.The maximum was only -2C at Lerwick on the 28th. There was a mild end to the month.

April. Unsettled. It was mostly warm until midmonth, but with cold spells later. Cromer saw 20.2C on the 3rd. A wet start to the month; the 7th was particularly wet. It was 21.4C in London on the 19th, but the next day was much colder across the country. There were snow showers on the 24th in the north, and again on the 27-29 th, on cold NW winds. After some sharp frosts it turned milder at the end of the month.

May. Unsettled: dull and wet in the east, with heavy rain at times elsewhere. Thunder. Thunderstorms led to lightning strikes, flooding, and hail damage. There were some notable hailstorms in Suffolk and Essex on the 26th. The "Dunmow hailstorm" was particularly damaging; the sky was reported as turning green, hailstones up to 65 mm fell, and nearly 32 mm of rain fell in half an hour mid-afternoon.

June. Very wet in East Anglia. A 25m tree at Aldenham School (Herts.) was struck by lightning and exploded. Snow in northern Britain on June 7.

July. There were some warm and sunny spells in the southeast. 29C was recorded in Southampton on the 4th. The second week was anticyclonic in the south, but wet in the north. 30C was recorded at Jersey on the 13th; this was followed by a thundery spell. There were some severe thunderstorms in Ireland on the 25th and 26th, with heavy rain and large hailstones. The rain also affected southern and western Scotland: Murrayfield (Edinburgh) had 84 mm of rain in 24 hours. London Heathrow recorded 29.8C on the 25th. On the whole, while the month was warm and sunny in the SE, it was dull and wet in the north.

August. Generally cool, windy, and unsettled. Very wet in Scotland: the wettest summer of the century in Glasgow, and 345 mm of rain in the month at Eskdalemuir. On 14 August a gust of wind of 93 mph, caused by a downburst during a thunderstorm as cold air sinks to the ground, was recorded at Coningsby (Lincs.) during a thunderstorm.

September. Mostly warm and quite sunny. Although it was dry in the south and east, it was a cool, very wet month in the north and west, with moist and often strong SW and W winds: Glasgow had its wettest September on record; however Manston (Kent) only had 10% of its normal rainfall. Local highs of 27C on the 12th and 13th in a late hot spell. On the 18th, 95 mm of ran fell at Dundrennan in SW Scotland. There was a good warm fine spell at the end of the month.

October. Sunny and dry. There was a notable "Indian summer". I'd just moved to Coventry, so was under the impression that this was a typical October for the south Midlands. There were widespread temperatures of 27C+ (80F) on the 1st and 21C+ for several days thereafter. The all-time highest October maximum of 29.4C (until 2011) was reached at in March (Cambs.) on the 1st. (Hence the pub quiz question: "When was the October record set in March?") Over much of eastern England it was the warmest day of the year, and a wide area saw temperatures over 80F. Cambridge saw 28.3C, Newcastle 25C, and 21C at Elgin. The sun shone, and a southerly breeze brought hot air up from Africa. Yet on the 30th the maximum was only 6C in Jersey, as it turned much colder on easterly winds. It was more unsettled midmonth; Kirkwall recorded a gust of wind of 100 mph on the 10th. Although it was warmer than average (11.0C CET), it was not extraordinarily so.

November. Cold (4.1C CET) and wintry. There were a few mild days early on, with Guernsey seeing 18C on the 8th. There was a severe frost in the southeast on the 14th (-8C). Snow in the south on the 18th. The 19th was a cold day, with temperatures close to freezing in easterly winds. 2-5 cm of snow were laying in Kent and east Sussex by the 20th. Even Jersey had a cover of 12 cm of snow on the 20th. It was then less cold, then very wintry in Scotland at the end of the month, and a particularly cold spell from the 27th to 29th. Snow showers moved north: 12 cm on Shetland by the 27th. The 27th was a very cold day, with temperatures beneath freezing all day in Lincolnshire with snow. There was a minimum of -14C across central Scotland on the 28th/29th, with a maximum the following day of only -8. -20.9 at Kinbrace in the Highlands on the 30th. The month ended with very mild air spreading north during the evening of the 30th, where the temperature got up to 14C in the southwest. This was month saw the second lowest November temperatures of the century (after 1919), and was the coldest November since 1919. Altogether snow fell on five days in London, and 19 days in the more vulnerable parts of Scotland.

December. Mild and wet. There was an exceptional warm spell on the first three days of the month. 17.7C at Chivenor (North Devon) and 17.2C recorded at Bude (Cornwall) as a consequence of the Fohn effect on the 2nd, with dull, wet, unsettled weather. Flooding in the south. Very mild until Christmas Day; there was then a cold spell in late December in the north, with some severe frosts and snow showers. -17C recorded at Glenlivet on the the 30th.