The hottest August on record, and a memorable December in Scotland. The month from 23 July to 22 August was exceptionally hot, with a mean of 20.5C (bettered only in 1976). The period November 1994 to October 1995 was the warmest of any 12 month period since records began. The period April 1995 to October 1997 was also very dry (a rainfall deficit of 20" over the southeast). During the summer, some eastern and southern locations went 38 days without rain, and Margate went for 42 days. (The record length of time is 73 days, at Mile End in east London, during spring 1893.) Hence the driest summer on record in England and Wales. Before 2003, the sunniest year on record in England and Wales, with an average of 1730 hours of sunshine. On combined measures of sunshine, temperature, and rainfall, it was the best summer since 1976, and the second best since 1929.

January. Near average temperatures (4.8C). It was very wet in the south: the wettest in the London area since 1943. Changeable. Major snowstorm around Leeds on the 25th, with 40cms of snow in three hours.

February. Very wet and very mild (6.5). Notable hailstorm with thunder across the southeast on the 22nd.

March. Very sunny; over England and Wales only 1907 and 1933 were sunnier. Yet the heaviest snowfall of the year in southern Britain fell on the evening of March 2, particularly around Birmingham. 15 cm over Wales, the Midlands, and the outskits of London. Another Arctic plunge resulted in a snowstorm on the 28th, causing disruption NE England, with the Pennines badly hit: 35 cm at Holmfirth in Yorkshire. After the snow, -9.8 C was recorded at Altnharra in northern Scotland early on the 29th. The month ended with mild SWs. There were 227 hours of sunshine at Southend.

April. Very warm, sunny first half, but with cool spells in the second half. Northerly air became established on the 18th and led to several days of wintry showers and sharp frosts. It was the driest April for 11 years over England and Wales.

May. Dry and sunny. Notable heatwave in the first week, bettered only by May 1990. 26C in West Yorkshire on the 3rd, 28C in the Channel Islands (St. Helier) on the 5th and Southampton on the 6th. 27C was reached somewhere in the south every day 4-7th. As there was little wind pollution levels were high, although in some places there were 120 hours of sunshine in the first ten days. Temperatures were 12C lower on the VE celebration Bank Holiday Monday on the 8th. The remainder of the month was dull, quite cold, and with frosts midmonth in the north. The 17th was very wet over England and Wales, with some snow in some areas (Shropshire, Durham) as temperatures only reached 5C. Thunderstorm in Leeds on the 24th contributed to the deaths of12 people when an aircraft landed shortly after takeoff. Frost and snow in the second week.

June. Cool and cloudy first half, warm and sunny second half. Big temperature drop on the 30th as cold air plunge southwards. Earlier in the day temperatures widely exceeded 30C in the Midlands and south (33C in London and Worcestershire). The cold air caused a drop of as much as 20C in some places. Temperature drops of 15C in one or two hours were reported. Strangely, this cold plunge was accompanied by very little cloud and no rain. There was snow on the Scottish mountains, though. This month saw the highest temperature recorded in Belfast (29.0C on the 29th at Belfast Aldergrove Airport)

July. Dry, sunny, and hot (18.6). Widespread readings over 30C from the 20th on, culminating in 32.6 at Heathrow on the 31st. There was a 36 day drought in London from 28 July to 30 August.

August. A splendid month. The hottest (19.2C CET) and sunniest August on record, and very dry (many parts of the south-east being rainless - England and Wales had only 10% of the average - hence on average the driest on record, with 9.1 mm or 11%). For a week from the 15th 31C was reached somewhere in the country. Some spectacular thunderstorms at the start of the month: 85 mm of rain at Cardiff on the 2nd, with a gust of wind of 57 mph, and 81 mm at Burnham-on-Sea. The highest temperature of the month was on the 1st, with 35.2C at Boxworth (Cambs.) and 34.9C at Kew.

September. About average temperatures; very wet and dull in the east, sunny and dry in the west. There was thundery rain in the south on the 2nd; 17 people hurt when lightning struck a tree at a football match at Aylesford (Kent). Cool first few days. Flooding around Liverpool following thunderstorms in the night of the 5th. 83.8 mm at Chiveley (Berkshire) in 24 hours from 9am on the 10th, 38.6mm of it one hour after 9pm; 78 mm at Tivington (Somerset), and some heavy rain in the north. Continuous rain from 8-12th over northeast Scotland, although heavy downpours over northeast Scotland started on the 1st. Kinloss and the Moray Firth recorded 274 mm of rain between September 1 and 11th (and 295 mm all month) - thirteen times normal! Flooding, rivers rose 11 feet, much crop damage, and Aberdeen was cut off. Aberdeen had 344% of the normal rainfall. The England and Wales rainfall average was 123 mm.

October. Very warm and very sunny. The CET average of 12.9 was the second highest on record (after 1969, before it was pushed into third place by 2001), although this was attained with the assistance of a very high average minimum.A warm spell at the start of the month, with temperatures of around 25C in the south on the 8th and 9th, with 25.5C at Prestatyn on the 8th, the highest temperature this late in the year since 1978. On the 8th, under cloudless blue skies that were enjoyed across much of Britain, Torquay had 10.8 hours of sunshine. There were severe gales in the NW on the 24th.

November. Generally a very mild, sunny, and wet month except in the southeast. 18C was recorded at Falmouth on the 13th; then the temperature was close to freezing all day along the south coast on the 19th. Heavy rain in the Exeter area gave 100 mm between the 10th and 13th, and then on the 14-15th, leading to flooding around Edinburgh and Tyneside.

December. The coldest December since 1981, and generally wet. A very easterly month. A major incursion of arctic air into Scotland at the end of the month caused a wonderful spell of wintry weather (sadly the year before I moved here). From the 18th on, high pressure over Greenland fed extremely cold Arctic south. There was a Christmas Eve and Christmas day northerly blizzard in Scotland and the northeast, with a severe blizzard in the Shetlands on Christmas Day, with 35 cm of snow driven into large drifts. There were some snow flurries as far south as the Thames. Around 15 cm of level snow fell in the early hours of the 26th in North Wales down to sea level. Both daytime and nighttime temperatures were very low. There were four consecutive nights from the 26-27th recorded beneath -20C (Altnaharra managed it on all nights: -21 on the 27th, -24C on the 28th, and -27.2C on the 29-30th). A new December record was set: -27.2C at Altnaharra in the Highlands soon after midnight the 30th; this is also (with Braemar in January 1982) the equal record lowest temperature recorded in Britain this century. As the winds then strengthened, the temperature there rose from -21.2C (the midday reading!) to -1.0 in under three hours on the afternoon of the 30th. The wind started to pick up in the wee hours of the 30th, and if it had not been for this annoyance, it is possible that the magical -30C would have been breached. As the temperature continued to increase (to all of 1.7C on the 30th) the daily range was an enormous 28.9C, close to, and indeed probably is, the greatest UK daily temperature range. Although it was nowhere near as cold in the south, it was still cold: the lowest temperature at Elmdon (near Birmingham), for example, was -9.0C on the 29th. The maximum at Braemar on the 29th was only -15C; even Glasgow (airport) only saw a maximum of -12C on the 29th, followed by a new record low of -20C for Glasgow. The maximum at Fyvie Castle on the 29th was -15.9, the lowest maximum for Scotland and indeed the UK on record. Nearby in Wishaw the maxima on the 25th to 30 were -3.9C, -8.8, -11.4, -12.7, and -15.8, with dense freezing fog, and a minimum of -23.1 on the 29th. Much of Scotland remained beneath freezing for the last week of the year. More of this please! On the 30th the calm was replaced by an easterly, and temperatures started to rise again. There was freezing rain on the 30th in parts of the west and south of Britain. As temperatures rose, so did the pipes burst, giving plumbers a busy and lucrative time. It was a particularly wet month in the south of Britain.