British weather in July
July really is high summer. On average, July is the warmest month of the year, one can really hope for an extreme weather event in July. Location is important as to whether or not you get a really memorable hot spell. This is reflected in some uncertainty in the temperature measurements: hence 1976 and 1983 are generally agreed to be the hottest every (with 1983 just top), and 1990, 1994, 1995 are not far behind; yet locally, 1994 was the hottest. The hottest day of the year usually happens in July (about 44% of the time) - and most often between the 10th and the 20th. Clearly the best time to plan your barbie. July tends to be the wettest month of the year in eastern Scotland. July is also tending to become drier, particularly since 1970 in E and SE England. At the start of the nineteenth century it was the wettest month of the year; it is now among the driest, with rainfall averaging 55 mm. A large part for the explanation of this change is a marked decline in the frequency of thunderstorms. Westerlies increase in July. Hence parts of the west (NW Highlands) are much wetter and cloudier than May and June. Fort Willim averages 173 sunshine hours in May but only 110 July.
There are supposedly some indications that July begins with a westerly cyclonic period until the 9th, followed by a fine interlude. A thundery cyclonic period (from the 25th into August) tends to end the month. The days 3 July to 11 August, when Sirius rises and sets about the same time as the sun, are known as the "Dog days", and are supposed to be particularly warm because the heat of Sirius is added to that of the sun. Whereas the phenomenon is often true the attributed reason certainly is not. The lag between the hottest part of the year and the longest day is due to the lag in which the surface of the earth is heated up. In the 20th century 35C was exceeded 21 times somewhere in Britain; 6 happened before the dog days, 10 in them, and 5 after. Along with August, July is the least windy month of the year. Between 1780 and 1830, July was the wettest month of the year; it has since become much drier, so that now it is among the driest months of the year. Indeed, summer in general has become much drier since 1970.
The 12-15th is Buchan's first warm spell. Do not plan your holidays around it. However, the hottest day of the year is likely to be between 1-20 July.
The 15th is St. Swithin's Day; if it rain's on St. Swithin's Day (according to one version it only counts if it rains on his brdige in Winchester), it will rain for the next 40 days. St Swithin was a close friend of Egbert, King of Wessex, and was made Bishop of Winchester in 852 AD. He wanted a simple burial, but after his death, plans were made for his old grave to be dug up and the bones moved to a new shrine. The reinterment was scheduled for 15 July, but had to be postponed when it rained for 40 days. (The bones were eventually moved, nevertheless.) If you wonder if there's anything in this superstition, take a look at 1913 and 1924. In general the weather might be settling on that day into some pattern; if there is an anticylconic block, it is likely to continue for a while, and it is raining, it is by definition unsettled, and unsettled weather tends to continue.
Extremes for July in the 20th century
Highest July average overall = 19.5 (1983)
Lowest July average overall = 13.7 (1922)
38.7 (2019, Cambridge Botannical Gardens), 36.7 (2015, Heathrow), 36.0 (1911, Greenwich and Epsom), 35.9 (1976, Cheltenham).
Lowest minimum = -2.5 (15th, Lagganlia, Scottish Highlands, 1977; and on the 9th, St. Harmon, Powys, in 1986)
Some extreme weather events in July in the twentieth century
1900 Warm and sunny - the 11th= hottest of the 1900s. The temperature exceeded 32C (90F) daily from the 16-19th. There were some notable thunderstorms, however, particularly in the north on the 12th. This led to the "Ilkley floods" in Yorkshire: 110mm of rain in 24 hours on the 12th led to severe flooding; 94mm of the rain fell in 75 minutes. Many homes and bridges were destroyed, and the flood left a thick layer of mud. It was 35.1C in Cambridge on the 20th, the highest temperature of the year (and indeed from at least 1875 to 1906). The fine weather broke down with a series of thunderstorms between the 26th and 28th.
1901 One of the warmest of the century in Scotland. Generally sunny and warm. However, 92.2 mm of rain fell in one hour at Maidenhead on the 12th. This is the highest hourly rainfall in Britain, at least for the 20th century (see 1893). The equal highest temperature for Scotland, 32.8C, was set on the 20th at Dumfries; 32C was also seen in Scotland on the 18th and 19th.
1902 Mostly fine and warm.
1903 Very wet. Gales in the north on the 6th. Part of a poor summer. 110mm of rain reported at Buckhurst Hill (Essex) on the 23rd.
1905 Generally fine and dry except in Northern Ireland. 38 mm of rain fell in Liverpool on the 10th.
1906 Hot and fine.
1907 There were some severe thunderstorms on the 22nd. A ferocious hailstorm in South Wales stripped leaves off trees: 80 mm of rain fell at Pandy (Monmouthshire). There was flooding in Watford as 68 mm of rain fell in under two hours.
1908 The month was most notable for containing Scotland's equal hottest day: 32.8 at Dumfries on the 2nd (a record broken in 2003). The month was very warm at the start, before becoming cool and unsettled from the 4th. It was very wet midmonth. It then became warmer and more settled again, particularly in the south, from the 20th onwards.
1909 Cool and wet. Thunderstorms at the end of the month, with a tornado in Manchester on the 22nd. Violent thunderstorms on the 25th, particularly in Fife: 74mm at Carnbee. More rain on the 27th, including 75mm in Dorset.
1910 Cold, wet, and very dull - just 111 hours of sunshine in London.
1911 A magnificent month in a magnificent summer. Hot, dry, and sunny - part of a famous summer. There was a remarkable hot spell, which started on 17 July, although it is quite difficult to be certain about the exact temperatures, because of (a) uncertainty about screening, and (b) temperatures were taken in F rather than C. The reading of 38.1C - 100.5F - claimed at Greenwich on the 22nd is now not accepted, as the screening conditions at Greenwich were nonstandard; it is more likely to have been about 36.1C - still quite a temperature, and the record for July (until 2006). 97F (36.1C) was also recorded at Epsom, favoured because there was shelter from the light southerly breeze. There was a thundery outbreak at the end of the month with some heavy downpours (e.g. 28 mm in 15 minutes at South Kensington, London, on the 28th). Some of the most curious of all injuries caused by the weather happened at St Mellitus Church, Hanwell, west London, at the annual fete, when people sheltered from a thunderstom under a platform, which then gave way, and three people were injured by a falling piano. Of particular interest locally, Perth reached 32.2C (90F) on the 12th, which is one of only 5 times this has happened in Scotland, and is the highest reading for the Tayside region of the century. This month is the only July of the twentieth century that was dry and sunny throughout (but then only in the south). 300 hours of sunshine were widespread across the south and east, with 350 at many coastal southern locations. The highest monthly sunshine total record was set this month: 384 hours at Eastbourne and Hastings. There were 334 hours of sunshine in London. It was probably the sunniest month on record until July 2006. No rain at all was measured at Bath. In many respects one of the best Julys of the century in terms of consistent heat and sunshine.
1912 In the cold, wet summer, lucky Clitheroe picked up another 9 thunder-days. The first three weeks of the month were relatively speaking the best of the summer, being fairly dry and sunny. 32.8C was recorded at Camden and Tottenham on the 12th, making it the hottest day of the year. It was still duller than average, and the final ten days were very wet. Overall it was dry in the SE but wet in the Midlands.
1913 On the 10th lightning during a severe thunderstorm in London killed a 3-year-old boy. There were 15 hours of heavy rain in the London area on St Swithin's Day (15th): after this, there was rain on only 9 of the 40 following days. In Scotland it was one of the driest Julys of the century. Across the country it was the driest month of the year.
1914 Cloudy and warm. 32.2C was recorded in Surrey on the 1st. There were also some violent thunderstorms across the UK on the 1st; a man was killed by lightning in Rochdale. There was a cool spell between the 25th and 27th.
1915 A cool, wet month across England and Wales, with many thunderstorms. There were two notably severe hailstorms on the 4th, one tracking across north Devon, the other from Somerset to Bucks. The second of these was particularly severe. 50 mm hailstones were accompanied by driving winds, destroying trees and smashing glass. The Chew Valley was particularly badly affected.
1916 Cloudy, cool, and dry, although the final week was warm and sunny.
1917 Wet at the end of the month over the southeast.
1918 Warm, dry sunny first week, then cool, with fine end. A wet month. More storms; a hailstorm damaged crops and greenhouses in Surrey on the night of the 16th. -2C recorded at West Linton (near Stirling) on the 10th.
1920 A very poor summer: July was cold, very wet, and dull. Much of Britain had twice the average amount of rainfall, and Bethesda (north Wales) managed 343mm. A strong cold front gave some very low maxima on the 5th. Notable depression on the 17th led to serious flooding in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
1921 Very sunny, very hot (18.5), and very dry, exacerbating the prolonged drought. 34C recorded in E and SE England on the 10th and 11th. At times, it was unusually windy for such a hot, dry spell.
1922 The coldest of the twentieth century (13.7C CET). Also very wet in places, particularly the south; there was a total of 185 mm of rain in Norwich. It was windy at the start of the month. There was a wet start to the month, with 62 mm of rain falling at Newbury being the heaviest fall in heavy rain that affected the south. 69 mm of rain fell at Norwich on the 15th alone. 74 mm of rain fell at Coventry on the 22nd. A dull month too; yuk.
1923 A warm month with a heatwave and violent thunderstorms in the second week. The month had a warm if somewhat unsettled start, but it then became very hot: 32C was reached most days somewhere in the country from the 6-13th. The temperature rose to 35C in several places on the 12th and 13th, with the highest reading being 35.6C at London (Camden Square, of course) on the 13th. Before 1990, the record high for Wales was 33.9C at Newport (Gwent) on 12 July. There were scattered thunderstorms on the 7th, and then some violent thunderstorms: part of Eton chapel destroyed by lightning on the 10th. A cloudburst in the Carrbridge region swept away the rail bridge for the second time in ten years. The month is also notable for the thunderstorm that hit London from the SW on the night of the 9-10th; this was one of the most severe and longest storms of the century. The storm contained some of the most vivid and prolonged lightning observed in this country: nearly 7000 (6294 to be precise) lightning flashes were recorded at Chelsea in six hours starting at 11pm - that's nearly 18 flashes a minute! Many houses were struck by lightning, and some caught fire; a house at Walton-on-the-Hill was destroyed. There was some torrential rain - about 50 mm widespread across London and the eastern Home Counties, with nearly 82 mm recorded at Seaford (on the Sussex coast). There were more violent storms on the night of the 10-11th.
1924 There were 13.5 hours of sunshine on St Swithin's Day (15th): it then rained on 30 of the next 40 days. There were some violent storms: 103 mm of rain fell at Wisley on the 22nd; the same day 28 mm of rani fell in 20 minutes at South Kensington, with large hail and ball lightning.
1925 A severe thunderstorm in the London area on the 22nd with damaging hail.
1926 A severe thunderstorm in the SW on the 17-18th with damageing hail around Dorset.
1927 Unsettled and wet, with some notable thunderstorms. On the night of the 6-7th, 78 mm of rain fell at Deal and 72 mm at Clacton. 45 mm of rain fell in a thunderstorm on the 11th in East Anglia. 27 mm fell in 25 minutes in a thunderstorm at Kensington on the 11th.
1928 Cool and wet from the 3rd to 6th, but then warm dry and sunny until the 26th. Many places went 20 days without rain. The temperature reached 92F (33.3C) in London on the 22nd. There were thunderstorms at the end of the month. A very dry month in Yorkshire overall, with just 9 mm at Pontefract. A very sunny month in the Midlands and east, but dull and wet in northern Scotland.1930 A cool (15.2) and wet month. Exceptional rainfall in the North Yorkshire Wolds from the 20-23rd gave almost continual rain for four days, giving 250mm of rain, leading to flooding of the Derwent. The Whitby lifeboat was used for a rescue at Ruswarp, two miles inland. The rivers Esk and Leven were also severely affected, with bridges destroyed. Northerly winds gave a maximum of 11C. This was all caused by a depression lingering off the coast of Lincolnshire. England and Wales rainfall was twice the norm. Castleton (Yorks.) had 300mm for the month. The month had low daytime maxima, particularly from the 10th on, although because it was so cloudy the minima tended to be above average.
1931 Dull and wet with average temperaturs, helped by some mild nights.
1932 Unsettled: Cranwell (Lincs) had 131mm on the 11th and 61mm on the 13th.
1933 Very warm, sunny and dry. It turned very hot at the end of the month, with 34C recorded on the 27th.
1934 Hot and sunny start. Kew recorded 131 hours of sunshine in the first ten days. There was a notable warm spell between the 4th and 12th, with 9 consecutive days over 27C (80F) at Nottingham. Some places reacher 32C, and it was even 31C at Perth in Scotland. The highest temperature was 33.3C at Attenborough (Notts.) on the 11th. 116 mm of rain in 100 minutes fell at West Wickham (London) on the 22nd.
1935 A very dry and sunny month.
1936 Cool and very wet: the wettest of the century over England and Wales (e.g. Cambridge had 350% of the normal amount, and rain fell on every day of the month near Bristol). Also very windy, with some gales in the south. A thundery month: ten thunder days at Wakefield. A vigorous depression on the 3rd gave heavy rain across the south, causing local flooding and damage to crops. Some localised downpours on the 3r6th; 77mm at Fordham (Cambs.). On the 7th there were 78mm at Northwood (Middsx), most of it in about half an hour. Severe thunderstorms on the evening and night of the 9-10th across the south, London, East Anglia, and Midlands. 60mm in Norwich, with very frequent lightning, and 72mm at Erpingham. 46mm in 75 minutes at Sprowston. Heavy hail did much damage: 300 ducks were killed by hail near Thetford (Norfolk). Flooding. 57mm of rain in 80 minutes at Eastbourne. The month continued unsettled. On the 17th Auchnafree (near Perth) had 74mm of rain, most of it in one hours. A notable gale in the south with gusts of over 60mph on the 18th. In contrast, Shetland had a very sunny month.
1937 A very dull month. Torrential rain on St. Swithin's Day (15th) as a result of thunderstorms over England. (I don't know what happened for the next 40 days.) In some places it was described as the worst day in many years. It happened as a cold front moving in from the Atlantic met a depression rising coming north from the Bay of Biscay. Many places across the south recorded over 50mm. Waltham-on-the-Wolds (Leics.) had 145mm, Boston (Lincs.) had 137mm, and Pensford (Somerset) had 106mm. Further to the east downpours were more localised depending on where the thunderstorms were. Stanstead had 68mm. Three thunderstorms affected Bristol, causing double flooding. There was flooding in Weymouth. Traffic disruption, power cut off, lightning damage.
1938 Dull, cool, and wet across most of the country apart from the SE. A notable tornado hit Boxmoor in the Chilterns on 7th. The 90 m track extended for 9 miles, destroying haaystacks and trees and lifting cars.
1939 The temperature fell to -0.1C at the Rickmansworth frost hollow on the 2nd. The month was very wet in Scotland. 80 mm of rain fell at Borrowdale on the 21st. It was a dull month everywhere.
1940 Cool and very wet: the wettest of the century for Scotland. The 10th was a very wet day, with 25mm of rain widely, and over 50mm in places as far apart as Aberden and Berkshire; Scarborough recorded 106mm. Large hailstones at East Kirkby (Lincs.) smashed glass and flattened crops. On the 11th, 80mm more on the Brecon Beacons, and 90mm at Redcar on the 17th. Flooding in Cromarty on the 26th. The end of the month wasn't quite as wet as the rest as high pressure settled over the south of the country. The start of 11 consecutive colder-than-average months - the longest such run of the century.
1941 The hottest month of the war years. There was a warm and mostly dry start; the weather then became hot, before a thundery breakdown and cooler temperatures. 80 mm of rain fell in a 100 minutes at Penn (Bucks.) on the 13th. Sunnier than average in Scotland, duller than average in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
1942 Cool and unsettled.
1943 Generally dry and sunny. Hot final week: 33.9C at Worcester and Croydon on the 31st - the hottest day of the year. There were some violent thunderstorms across eastern England at the very end of the month as two fronts crossed the country.
1944 Generally dry but very dull. Kew, Oxford and Falmouth had the lowest sunshine totals in July for over 60 years: London averaged just three hours of sunshine a day. There was severe flooding followed 118mm of rain in two hours at West Wickham (SE London) on the 22nd.
1945 Overall generally a dry month, particularly in Norfolk and east Yorkshire. There were though some exceptional thunderstorm on the night of the 14-15th. There was incessant lightning all night over the southeast. 80 mm of rain at Old Woking. 43 mm of rain fell in 20 minutes at Neston (Cheshire) on the 15th.
1946 A month with many severe thunderstorms and some damaging hailstorms. There were some exceptional thunderstorm on the 2nd. 131mm of rain in two days led to flooding around Bury St. Edmonds, with hail damage. However, 30.6C was recorded in London on the 2nd. More storms in the south and east on the 3-4. The weather was fine between the 6th and 12th. More storms on the 16th. More storms on the 26th led to flooding, damage, and fatalities in London and the southeast; 30 mm of rain fell at Shoeburyness.
1947 Very warm (17.0C CET). 140 mm of rain in a storm on the 16th at Wisley (Surrey), 102 mm of it in 75 minutes, the ninth highest rainfall rate this century. There was damaging hail across East Anglia.
1948 There was a short but intense heatwave at the end of the month: 35C.0 at Milford (Surrey) on the 28th, and 34.4 at Worcester on the 29th. The high minimum of 23.3 at Westminster (London) was not bettered until 1990. However, the hot spell was preceded by a cold snap: most of July was unusually cool. In spite of some people's claims that "summers were better when we were lads and lasses", the 30s, 40s, and 50s were rather lean for very high temperatures. 1948 was the only year when 35.0C was reached after 1932 and before 1957. The 27.2C recorded at Benbecula on the 30th remains the highest temperature recorded in the Western Islands.
1949 There was a great deal of warm and sunny weather this month. It reached 33.3C at Worcester on the the 12th, the hottest day of the year. The heat triggered some thunderstorms midmonth. 105 mm of rain fell at March on the 15th. There were some violent thunderstorm in London on the 16th: lightning deaths at Plumstead and Walthamstow. 62mm of rain at Barking. There were some violent thunderstorms in the SW on the next day (17th): 48 mm of rain fell at Cannington (Somerset) in 30 minutes - and then two hours later another 35 mm fell in another 30 minutes! 31.7C (89F) was recorded at Kensington Palace on the 25th. Overall a very warm month (17.4C CET)l the warmest July since 1933.
1950 Wet and unsettled in the south, drier in the north. A sunny month in Scotland. On the 10th, 3000 ducklings were killed by hail at Illington (Norfolk).
1951 The first three weeks of the month were very dry; after the dry June, there was talk of drought. It was warm and anticyclonic from the 13th to the 21st. A trough of low pressure crossed the country on the 22nd, with much colder air following. This led to some violent and unusually widespread thunderstorms: only parts of East Anglia and the East Midlands "escaped" them (or, as those of us who love storms think, were unlucky). 25 mm of rain fell over a very wide area from the SE to Scotland, with much flooding and lightning damage. There were three deaths due to lightning. At Kenton, near Exeter, 25 mm of rain fell in an hour, and 74 mm fell that day, with consequent flooding. 77 mm fell at Farnham. Some main roads in the south were closed due to flooding and road damage.
1952 dry month in the south; less than a quarter of the total from the Wash to the Isle of Wight for the month. Some places had no rain between the 12th and 28th. A heatwave at the start saw 34C in Jersey on the 1st. 33.3C was reached at Camden Square, Heathrow, and Southampton. There were some severe thunderstorms across the Midlands and Northern England on the 1st; 1.73 inches fell at Bredbury (Cheshire), and 1.72 inches fell at Ilkeston (Derbyshire) in half an hour. Temperatures dropped from 90F to 60F from the 1st to 3rd at London Airport. It then became warmer again, with 31C at Mildenhall on the 6th. The month was sunny in NE England and SE Scotland.
1953 Wet in the NW, dry in the east, particularly Fife and East Yorkshire. Sunnier than average in the SW and west but duller in eastern England and Scotland. There were few warm days.
1954 Wet, cool, and very dull. The mean temperature at Birmingham for the month was 13.7C, and Aldegrove (Northern Ireland) had just 86 hours of sunshine.
1955 Mostly sunny, hot (17.7C CET), and very dry. Parts of Suffolk and Cornwall (e.g. around Camborne) had no rain at all this month. In contrast, there were some exceptional deluges in thunderstorms, particularly on the 18th, as very hot air (30C in the south) met a stationary cold front. In particular, there was 279.4mm at Martinstown, Dorset, on the 18th, in 15 hours; 190 mm of this fell in 4.5 hours. This is the British record for daily rainfall. The rain came with storms in two waves, the first starting at 2.30 pm and the second at 9 pm. Heavy rain fell over a large area of Dorset: Dorchester received 187.5 mm and Weymouth 178.8 mm. Flooding in Weymouth. 108 mm of rain at Maidstone and another lightning death at Ramsgate on the same day, which 84 mm of rain (see October this year). Serious flooding in Weymouth. Thunder first broke out on the 11th, as the high pressure slipped south. There were 5 lightning deaths across the country on the 14th, including 3 people sheltering under a tree in my native Southampton (Please do NOT shelter under trees in storms), and a woman leaning on a metal fence at Royal Ascot. It was Wales's sunniest ever month, with 354.3 hours of sunshine at Dale Fort, and probably the sunniest month on record in the NW generally.
1956 Part of the worst post-war summer - cold, dull, and wet. Any sunny spell ended in thunder! It was the wettest July in London since records began. There were some heavy thunderstorms in the south on the 9th: 56 mm of rain fell on Kew. There was also flooding in the east on the 9th. 79 mm of rain in a storm fell early on the 9th at Epsom. Very large hailstones disrupted flights out of Heathrow on the 18th. 82.9mm of rain in a storm at Hascombe (Surrey) on the 18th, and flooding at Swanley (Kent). There was another 39 mm of rain at Kew on the 19th. 98 mm of rain fell in nearly 2 hours (114 minutes) at Staines on the 18-19th. After a short spell of warm weather, there was an unseasonable and violent gale on the 29th, with the pressure falling to 976.6 mbar (the deepest July low on record) in Somerset (Yeovilton), disrupting a Channel boat race, and flooding in Blackpool. There were, unfortunately, many fatalities, mostly from falling trees. The south and west were particularly affected by the gale; the highest gust was 93 mph, at the Lizard, but even central London recorded a gust of 69 mph. Many beech trees in Arundel Park were felled. At Ardclach (near Nairn) there was 109 mm on the 29th and 124 mm on the 30th. That's wet.
1957 On the 3rd Plymouth had 60mm of rain in one hour, with flooding and lightning damage. The south-east was badly affected by storms; hail damage to fruit in Kent. Serious flooding in Evesham and Rhyl on the 4th. The fine weather and hot spell across most of the country ended on the 7th, and westerlies dominated the rest of the summer. On the 12th, the River Wharfe at Otley (West Yorks) rose four feet in a few minutes following a thunderstorm. Andover was flooded twice this month. On the 26th, the Royal Welsh Show at Aberystwyth was flooded to three feet. A dull month in Yorkshire after a warm and sunny first few days.
1958 Very wet with some flooding.
1959 Hot (17.3C CET) and very sunny. Part of a superb summer, but some thundery interludes midmonth. There was a very warm spell in the 4-8th. The highest temperature of the year was recorded on the 5th: 35.6C at Gunby (Lincs.; although this reading might have been too high), with a more reliable high of 34.4C at Cromer and 33.3C at London Heathrow and in Norfolk. There were some violent thunderstorms in the south from the 9th to the 11th as low-pressure systems moved NE from Spain across southern England, with some particularly spectacular thunderstorms on the night of the 10-11th. Hailstones with a diameter of 5 cm caused damage at Wokingham on the 9th; this was the first identified supercell storm. At Watford, 19 mm of rain fell in 10 minutes on the 9th. 63.5 mm of rain fell in 20 minutes at Hindolveston in Norfolk on the night of the 10-11th (equal third highest rainfall rate of the century, and is still the highest 20 minute rainfall record for the UK); 59 mm of rain fell in 100 minutes at Heathrow, and 44mm in 30 minutes at Northolt; and a total of 89 mm at Swaffham Priory (Cambs.), with flooding. Then many places had no measurable rain from the 11-25th across the southeast. There were more thunderstorms at the end of the month.; 45 mm of rain in 60 minutes at Garstang on the 26th. As a consequence rainfall totals for the month were very variable across the country.
1960 Rain fell every day over the Pennines. This month there were 303 mm at Darwen (Lancs.), and 235 mm at Princetown (Dartmoor), as five substantial depressions crossed the country.
1961 33.9C was recorded on the 1st in a few locations in the southeast. This was the highest temperature of the decade. Remember, the 60s were where the cold weather was happening at. The next day was much colder, the temperature reaching only 22C in London.
1962 The hottest temperature reading of the year: 27.8 at Writtle (Essex) on the 3rd. This is the lowest yearly maximum of the twentieth century (equal with 1920). It was a changeable month, with beneath average sunshine and rainfall, although heavy rain fell in the SE on the 26th.
1963 Mostly cool and dry, but warm and sunny towards the month's end.
1964 55.9 mm of rain fell in 15 minutes at Bolton on the 18th. This is the second highest rainfall rate this century (afeter June 1970).
1965 The month was the third coldest of thje century (14.0C CET), and one of the coldest of the century in Scotland), dull, and wet. Northerly winds at the start of the month brought bright, cold, dry weather. Close to freezing by the 4th in the Midlands. There was heavy rain on the 6-7th. More unsettled midmonth, with some heavy rain as a depression moved NE across the country; 105 mm of rain in 48 hours at Paignton (Devon). The 14th was the warmest day of the month; 25C at Hoddesdon (Herts.). However, 140 mm of rain fell in 220 minutes at Wadebridge (Cornwall). Quiet midmonth. Thundery spell from 19-25th. 29 mm in 18 minutes at Stanstead on the 20th. Tornado at Wisley (Surrey) on the 21st. Flooding in south Lancashire on the 23rd. There was 45 mm of rain at Hastings on the 30th as the month continued unsettled, ending with some snow on the Cairngorms. It was -1.7C at Kielder Castle on the 17th and -0.6 at Newport (Shropshire) on the 31st.
1966 The highest temperature of the month was 29C in Perth on the 21st, as cold easterlies circulating around low pressure affected much of the SE of England.
1967 The second warmest (16.7) month of the 60s. There were some severe thunder and hailstorms on the 13th, particularly around the Chippenham-Melksham area of Wiltshire, where large (57g) hailstones caused devastation to glass.
1968 Generally dull, cool, and wet, especially in the south, but with two exceptional thundery outbreaks. The first ten days were very active. A slow-moving cold front ended June's hot spell on the 1st, which saw temperatures of 33C in London, with severe and prolonged thunderstorms in the north and west, with darkness at noon, from mid-morning on the 1st to late afternoon on the 2nd. A hailstone at Cardiff airport on the 1st measured 7x6 cm. I wouldn't like that to fall on me. Lightning deaths on the 1st. The rainfall on the 1st was accompanied by a notable dustfall, comprising sand carried from the Sahara, when thunderstorms in Algeria at the end of June lifted the sand, which was then transported north at a height of 3-5 km on southerly winds. The rain was said to be coloured "red and brown", so that on the morning of the 2nd much of the south was covered with brown streaks. On 2 July, 35.7 mm rainfall fell in just under 9 minutes at Leeming Bar (Yorks), giving a sub-10-minute total of 238 mm/hr, a UK record for such a short time (until 2003). 184 mm of ran recorded on the Isle of Man. Deep drifts of hail on the roads in Yorkshire needed bulldozers to clear them. More exceptional storms on the 9th, this time in the southwest. Pressure was high, but then on the evening of the 9th a depression deepened as it moved across southern England. The 10th was very wet. 100 mm of rain fell across a large area of the country from Devon to Lincolnshire. 175 mm at Chew Stoke in Somerset mostly in 6 hours, 125 mm in 17 hours at Bristol, leading to flooding and damage. Many bridges were swept away. A large tract of land from Somerset through the south Midlands to Lincolnshire had more than 75mm of rain. The Cheddar Caves were flooded for the first time in living memory. There was then a notable gale on the 11th in thundery weather, particularly affecting the Southend area and the east of England, as the depression finally cleared away. Things quietened down a bit for the rest of the month, which overall was very cool (the next cooler one was 1980), and part of yet another poor 60s summer. It was however fine in the north and west, such as SW Scotland, particularly from the 18th. There were 75 mm of rain in a thunderstorm at Ilford on the 31st.
1969 With a CET of 16.8, this was the warmest month of the decade (but for comparison, there were 9 hotter months in the 90s). I remember sitting out on the lawn, enjoying the summer heat, reading Arthur Ransome stories. It was 32.8C at Letchworth on the 16th. It wasn't always dry, however. Two days of heavy rain in the SW gave rise on the 28th to fears of a repeat of the August 1952 event at Lynmouth; fortunately, this did not happen.
1970 At 15.2C CET, quite a cool month overall, although an early heatwave saw the hottest day of the year: 32.2C at Aldenham (Herts.) and Stratford-upon-Avon, on the 7th. It was a dull month, largely unsettled, and with frequent NW winds. It was very wet in Tiree with 136 mm of rain, but only 28 mm fell at Walton-on-the-Naze.
1971 Generally warm, sunny, and dry, but with some severe thunderstorms in east Norfolk late in the month. Also 40mm of rain in 14 minutes at Watchet (Somerset) on the 27th, and 88mm at Gorleston on the 28th.
1972 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.
1973 On the cool side. A notable thunderstorm caused disruption in SW London on the afternoon of the 6th: 118 mm of rain fell in two hours, leading to flooding. There was flooding in the Pennines on the 15th as a depression came to a halt. Flooding when waters rose ten feet at Burley (Derbys.). Rush hour traffic took 90 minutes to travel two miles between Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme.
1974 At 15.2, a cool month. We'd have to wait until 1980 for one cooler - if that's the kind of thing you like waiting for, of course.
1975 Very warm (17.4C) but often unsettled and thundery, although it was generally very dry over the south. On the 13th temperatures reached 25C in the Midlands, but an early morning storm on the 14th saw some violent thunderstorms across the Midlands, with 55 mm hailstones. There was much damage to cars and glass in Sutton Coldfield. Also on the 14th, 105 mm of rain fell at Inverbeg, near Loch Lomond. A thunderstorm gave 156 mm of rain at Borrowdale in Cumbria on the 22nd. There were four consecutive days over 30C right at the end of the month, with the hot spell then continuing into August.
1976 Wonderfully hot (18.2), particularly notable as part of the whole summer, as high pressure dominated the British Isles. It was even hot in Scotland; Wauchope (Borders) reached 32.4C on the 2nd. Even Braemar reached 30C on the 8th. 27C (80F) was exceeded somewhere in the country every day from 22 June to 16 July. Heathrow had 16 consecutive days above 31C between 23 June and 8 July. Somewhere in the country reached the 90s (32C) for 15 consecutive days from 23 June and 7 July. The summer was quite poor in the Western Isles, however, as fronts coming around the high affected the far NW. Cheltenham reached 35.9C on the 3rd, the highest corroborated maximum. Also very sunny: there was 318 hours of sunshine at Cromer. Fronts moved east on the 9th, bringing some rain to some places, and slighlty cooler weather. While there were some high minima in urban districts, clear skies led to ground frosts in the country. It was also very dry; London saw a record drought of 38 days from 21 June to 27 August
1977 Very dry: the driest July since 1935 in many places. Much of the east saw less than 12 mm of rain, and East Bergholt (Suffolk) had just 0.2 mm. Slightly cooler than average overall. Although the first week was warm, the rest of the month was cool, with winds first from the NE, and then from the NW, as high pressure was located to the north and west of the country. It was however a very sunny month. 20 mm of rain fell in 10 minutes at Penmaen (Wales) on the 8th. There were some cool nights: the lowest July minimum record of -2.5C was set in the Scottish Highlands, at Lagganlia, on the 15th; at the same time, the highest temperature of the year for the UK (30.0C) was recorded in several places in Scotland (Paisley, and Glenlee, 7th; Onich, 11th). The minimum at Santon Downham (Norfolk) on the night of the 29-30th was only 1.3C.
1978 At 14.8C, the coldest July of the 70s. The first week was cool and very showery, with predominantly northwesterliy winds. At Manchester the temperature remained below 15C until the 9th. On the 5th, there was a maximum of only 10C in northern Scotland, and of only 12C in parts of England. It was often windy, too. There were 79 mm of rain at Glenmoire Lodge in the Cairngorms on the 3rd.
1979 About average temperatures overall. A dry month, and some places on the south coast recording no rain until the 28th. There were storms on the 28th and 29th and a 6 year old girl was killed after being struck by Lightning on Skegness Beach on the 29th.
1980 The 1st was one of the coldest July days ever, with maxima of around 10C along the east coast, and only 12C along the south coast. Overall a cold month (14.7C); it was dull and wet in the first three weeks, with a thundery, warmer last week. 77mm of rain fell in the Eastbourne area in east Sussex on the 7 th causing flooding. 98mm of rain fell at Brixworth (Northants.) on the 26th.
1981 There were notable thunderstorms on the 9th. An afternoon storm in central London gave 58 mm of rain in forty minutes and caused widespread disruption. Large hail and six lightning flashes per minute, and wind squalls up to 48mph. Flooding around Kings Cross and Tottenham Court Road. Lightning death at Yeovilton (Somerset). As the storm moved northeast, Romford town centre was flooded to two feet deep. Two thunderstorms at Brentwood (Essex) gave 104mm of rain on the 9th. Another storm gave 80mm of rain in 80 minutes at Littleover (Derbyshire). An evening storm gave 54mm in one hour at Bury St Edmunds. On the 11th there was a notable downpour in Glasgow, with 18mm in 15 minutes. There was a cold spell later in the month, with parts of eastern England only reaching 12C on the 24th.
1982 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) receied 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.
1983. 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.
1984 Mostly dry, sunny and warm, but with some notable thunderstorms. High pressure built during the first week, and 31.7C was recorded at Heathrow on the 8th. As usual, the fine weather then broke down. York Minster was severely damaged by lightning on the 9th. I remember at the time that there was some talk about it being a sign from God. All I can remember that soon after I was in a train from Cardiff going to Newcastle, and I was slightly disappointed that you couldn't see anything from the railway. An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale hit north Wales on the 19th. Maidenhead had 21 mm of rain in 1 hour on the 22nd; Bracknell had 43 mm in less than 50 minutes on the 23rd; and 91.5 mm fell at Hayling Island on the 24th.
1985 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.
1986 Slightly cooler than average, with some very low minima on the 24th: +0.5C at Eskdalemuir and -1.2C at Carnwath.
1987 A month of two very different halves. It was dry, fine and warm for the first half, with 30C recorded in places on the 5th and 6th. However, there were 70 mm of rain in the English-Scottish borders on 10th. Then the period July 14th to August 13th was exceptionally cool, wet, windy at times, and dull. In this period, Luton recorded only 80 hours sunshine, with only 25 hours from July 14th to the end of the month. There were some notable thunderstorms in this period: 88 mm of rain in 5 hours at Slapton on the 17th, and 50 mm fell in 20 minutes at Epping on the 29th.
1988 An unremittingly disturbed month. It was dull and cold (overall CET 14.7, the coldest since 1965); the temperature did not exceed 21C in many places of the south during the whole month. Even London failed to exceed 22C. The highest all month in Plymouth was only 18.3, and at Land's End it was beneath 16C all month. It was the wettest July since 1936 in the south and the wettest of the century in Scotland. It rained every day of the month in Cumbria and western and southern Scotland, and on 23 days over most of the UK. We haven't had a colder July since.
1989 Very warm (18.2), dry, and sunny. Anticyclonic. The high of 34.2 at Heathrow on the 22nd was the highest temperature since 1976 (although of course even better was to come in 1990). The mean maximum at Edinburgh airport (21.7) was the highest since records began in 1948.
1990 Warm (16.9), and very dry: only 7 mm at Heathrow, the driest since records begain in 1947. The first week was cool, windy, and unsettled; it then became consistently hot, sunny, and dry. The temperatures peaked on the 20th and 21st, with temperatures of 32C in parts of the south, and 33.3C at Jersey on the 21st. There were some cool nights at the end of the month, with 0.9 at Glenlivet on the 23rd, and some reports of ground frosts.
1991 Changeable and warm. Very dull in Cornwall. 30.3C at Kinlochewe in Scotland on the 4th. Very wet in the southwest.
1992 Cloudy, wet, but at least warm. Severe thunderstorms over the southeast on the 20-21st, with parts of Sussex, Kent, and East Anglia receiving 40mm.
1993 Unsettled and cool. The dry weather at the end of June continued for the first week. The highest temperature of the year was 29.7C at East Bergholt (Suff.) on the 4 July; this is particularly notable, as it is the only occasion since 1981 when the annual maximum failed to exceed 30C. On the 9th an exceptional cold front brought heavy rain and a large temperature drop to the south, along with a strong northwesterly. Whipsnade had a midday temperature of 7.5C. At Birmingham airport the 1 om reading was 9.8C, Lerwick 8.5C; snow was recorded on some of the higher peaks in Scotland. In some places such as London there was an instant dramatic fall in temperature. At Heathrow the temperature fell from 18.5C to 10.7C in minutes in the early afternoon.
1994 Very warm (18.0C CET) and very dry. It was around 33C in Norfolk and London on the 12th, and Lakenheath on the 24th; the highest accepted temperature for the month was 33.4¡C, recorded at Morley St Botolph, Norfolk, on July 12. A cold front moved east on the 24th, starting off some thunderstorms over Wales in the morning. Severe thunderstorm at Birmingham on the 24th, with large hail (15mm). There were deaths caused by lightning. There was a particularly damaging hailstorm over south Lincolnshire. 22,000 lightning strikes over east Staffs and north Derbyshire. Flooding. Violent hailstorms around Oxford.Many parts of the southeast had the hottest night of the century at the end, with minima above 20C.
1995 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.
1996 Dry, sunny, and warm. There were some cool nights at the start of the month, and NW winds brought sunshine, showers, and thunder. It warmed up on the 9th. 33.0C on Jersey on the 22nd. The 16 month period from April 1995 to the end of July 1996 was the driest at Manchester (airport) since records began. Violent thunderstorms on the 23rd, with flooding in Sussex and Aberdeen. Heavy hailstorm at St Albans on the 23rd.
1997 Warm but changeable. The month started with heavy rain across northeast England and Scotland on the 1st, with severe flooding around Elgin, Forres, and Keith, and the Moray Firth. Kinloss recorded 76.6mm of rain in 36 hours, although more probably fell on parts of the Grampians.
1998 Rather cool (15.5) and very dull. Changeable. Dry in the east of England but wet elsewhere, particularly Scotland. A storm at Ferryhill, Durham, gave 68 mm of rain in 3 hours, and 50.6 mm of that in 90 minutes, leading to local flooding. Following heavy rain on the 31st, a landslide blocked the West Coast railway line at Lockerbie.
1999 Very warm, sunny, and dry: the tenth warmest of the century. A very warm spell at the end of the month, with 32C recorded at Worcester. The south of England was particularly dry, recording only 10% of the average rainfall. However, thunderstorms at the start of the month lead to flooding in places. Severe storms on the night of the 2-3rd in the SE: there were 150 flashes in 156 seconds at Denham (Bucks.), and at Cropwell Bishop (Notts.) lightning was continuous enough to switch off the automatic overhead street lighting! There were more violent storms on the 5th: 122mm of rain at Sible Hedingham (Essex) on the 5th. These storms were accompanied by squally winds, hail, tornadoes (a particularly one at Selly Oak), and flooding (e.g. Manchester, Colne Valley, Andover, and around Cannock). More notable storms on the hot final day, particularly in the SE. 30C was reported several times throughout the month, and Northolt recorded 31C on the 31st.
2000 Very dry in the north, but cool and cloudy in eastern England - elsewhere temperatures were about normal. It was the driest July for 100 years over most of Scotland and Northern Ireland, with just 20% of average rain. England and Wales were also quite dry. Drought in the Inner Hebrides. Sunny in the far NW (139% at Tiree). Cromer's average of 16.5C was the lowest since 1965. Some localised heavy rain and thunderstorms, with the most severe thunderstorms in the first week. 57.2 mm in 55 minutes at Chaddesden (Derbys.) on the 2nd. Storms led to flooding in Cleveland and Chester. Quite a dull month, particularly in the east (the dullest since 1992). On the 10th snow fell on Cairngorm. After a cool start, warm weather moved in on the 17th.
2001 Warmer than average, except in the far north. Overall an average amount of rainfall, but because recent Julys have tended to be dry, it was the wettest since 1993. Hot and humid beginning and end, with a cooler, unsettled spell sandwiched in between. Hot start, with some notable thunderstorms. Severe storms, with accompanying heavy downpours, affected North Wales and SW Scotland on the 3rd, and south Wales on the 4th. Flooding in Lanarkshire and outskirts of Glasgow on the 3rd. At Wishaw the storm started at 10.45pm, peaking at 60 flashes of lightning a minute, and giving 69.2 mm of rain in one hour. There was flooding in Cardiff, following 67 mm of rain in less than six hours, although it is likely that more than 125 mm fell in parts of mid-Wales. More severe storms affected the south, SW, and Midlands of England on the 5-7th. Meanwhile 32C (90F) was recorded at St Helier (Jersey) on the 3rd, and Rickmansworth (Herts.) on the 5th. After the first week, the weather became much cooler and more unsettled. Norwich recorded 61 hours of sunshine in the first seven days, and only 20 in the next seven. There were some unusually low minima midmonth, with +0.3C recorded at Sennybridge (Powys) on the morning of the 16th, and 3C widespread across the Midlands.There was more heavy rain 17-19th. After the unsettled spell, a ridge of high pressure brought fine, hot weather to England and Wales, with temperatures peaking around 32C in London on the 28th and 29th. It was the dullest July for 10 years across parts of Scotland, while it was sunnier than average across England and Wales.
2002 Overall, very wet: the wettest July since 1988. Very wet first two weeks in the south and east. Some severe thunderstorms at the end of the month, and some flooding in central Scotland. There were 113 mm of rain in 24 hours at Penistone (near Barnsley) on the 30th. Hence although it was a very wet month, most of the rain fell in the first 12 and last 2 days; hence parts of the SE had no rain at all in between these dates. Mean temperatures were slightly beneath average. The beginning of the month was quite cool, but there was a short heatwave near the end of the month before the thundery breakdown right at the end. In this heatwave, 32.6C was reached at Northolt in London on the 29th (the highest July temperature for 6 years). With such disturbed weather overall it was quite a dull month (the dullest for 10 years, in fact). Coltishall (Norfolk) had only 13 hours sunshine up to the 10th.
2003 Very warm. The month had a cool start and unsettled second half, but after the first 5 days it was always warm. There was a heatwave mid month. 33.6C at Wisley (Surrey) on the 15th, the country's highest July maximum since 1989, and it even made 30C at Prestwick in Scotland on the 16th. There were four consecutive days above 30C. Although it turned unsettled and cooler it was still quite warm. The heatwave was followed by somee thunderstorms, particularly in the west, with flooding. Heavy rain fell in the SW and Wales, with around 50 mm, on the 24-25th; and 42 mm fell at Aspatria (Cumbria) on the 29th. The month was slightly wetter than average in the south and west, but drier in the east and north. Sunshine was above average.
2004 Close to being an average month: slightly cooler, wetter, and duller than usual. It was however slightly drier than average in Scotland. Quite wet and cool in the first half, warmer and sunnier in the second. A strong depression early brought north-easterly gales and then heavy rain to the south on the 7-8th. Indeed, in much of the south more than half the month's total; rainfall fell on just the 7th, with up to 30 mm in less than 24 hours across much of the south. This was followed by severe thunderstorms. Wittering, near Peterborough, saw 109 mm in just over 24 hours. It was followed by northerly winds; at Sennybridge the maximum on the 8th did not exceed 10C (9.6C, one of the lowest July maximum since 1993). There was a warmer spell at the end of the month, with 30C being reached at Heathrow on the 29th. However, the period from the middle of June to the middle of July was the worst summer spell since 1981.
2005 Overall slightly warmer than average. Slightly wetter than average in the south, dry in the north. Cool and cloudy beginning and end, with hot, sunny spells midmonth. Parts of Scotland had their hottest day for 15 years on the 11th and 12th; 30.3C recorded at Aberfeldy was the highest since 1976. It reached 30.9C at Heathrow on the 14th. The north and east were particularly cool at the end of the month, with a maximum of only 10.9C near Durham on the 28th. A tornado devastated parts of Birmingham on the 28th, causing severe damage in the Kings Heath, Small Heath, Moseley, and Balsall Heath regions, reaching T5 intensity and cutting a swath of damage 500 m wide with winds estimated at more than 140 mph, blowing over a 1000 trees, injuring 19, and causing £39 million of damage. Several other tornadoes affected the Midlands on that day.
2006 The hottest and sunniest month on record (19.7C CET), in both England and Scotland. It was particularly warm across the east and noth (in fact July 1983 was hotter along the south coast and in the west country). Scotland also had its hottest month on record. Shanklin and Eastbourne saw 343 hours of sunshine. On average there as more than 50% sunshine than average (263 hours in England and Wales). There was a heatwave at the start; some violent thunderstorms, particularly in the NW, on the 2nd, as it reaches 32C in London (Heathrow). There was severe flooding in west Yorkshire following the storms. 82 mm of rain fell in a storm at Yare (Glocs.) on the 5-6th. After a cooler spell, the sunshine and heat returned, with a new high temperature of the year, 32.7C, at London Heathrow on the 17th. This didn't last long: on the 19th a new July record maximum is set, beating the previous record of 1911, with 36.5C at Wisley (Surrey) and 36.3C near Gatwick Airport in Sussex. It even reaches 30.5C at Prestwick in Scotland, and 34.2 (Penhow, Newport) was a new Welsh July record. 30C was reached somewhere in the country on every day from the 16th to the 27th apart from the 23rd. After cooling down slightly, the heat returned, with 34C being recorded at Charlwood (Surrey) on the 25th. There were thunderstorms after the 19th. There were some humid and thundery spells throughout the month.
2007 Very unsettled. Cold and wet with some truly exceptional flooding. It was very wet (with 129.5 mm, 219% of the England and Wales average, it was the wettest July since 1936), cool (the equal coolest since 1993; you have to go back to the miserable 1988 for one colder), with close to average sunshine. Some very heavy rain on Thursday night and Friday 19-20th saw some exceptional flooding in the South and Midlands on the 20th and afterwards. 100 mm of rain (four inches) fell over a wide area from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, to Wiltshire. Brize Norton (Oxon.) had 127.6 mm, 101 mm of it in 7 hours, and Pershore (Worcs.) had 145.4 mm. This heavy rainfall leads to the worst flooding in living memory, particuarly in Gloucestershire. The last two days were more settled, reaching 24.7 in central London on the 31st, but with some cool nights.
2008 Very cool and wet first three weeks, but warm, sunny, and humid from the 23rd. Overall temperatures were about average. The England and Wales average rainfall total was 104 mm, 79% above average. The temperature reached 29.7 at Kew Gardens, London on the 27th and then 30.2C (the highest temperature of 2008) on the 28th. 59 mm of rain fell in a thunderstorm at Pershore in the afternoon of the 28th. Sunshine was about average overall, although it was dull in east Scotland (and I can vouch for that).
2009 Heatwave at the start of the month. The weather changed on the 5th as the pattern changed to mobile westerlies. Overall slightly beneath the long term temperature, but it was slightly warmer than average in northern and eastern Scotland. It was a wet month, with and England and Wales average of 130.3 mm being 227% of the long-term average. Scotland saw 148% of normal rainfall, and Northern Ireland 151%. It was very slightly less sunny than average (95%). The highest maximum of the month was 31.5C at Stratfield Mortimer (Berks) on the 1st. The minimum on the night of the 1st-2nd was 19.8C at Aberdaron (Caernarvon). The maximum at Spadeadam (Cumbria) on the 17th was only 12.2C.
2010 Dull and very wet in the west, very warm and sunny in the southeast. Overall the CET was above average, and July 2010 was the warmest since 2006. It was the first westerly month since November 2009. Highest temperature of the month was 31.7C at Swanscombe (Kent) on the 9th. The temperature at Olympic Park (London) didn't fall beneath 20C on the the night of the 1-2nd. Overall it was quite a wet month, with an average of 66 mm, 116%. It was very wet in Scotland, with 208% of the average amount. 360 mm fell at Capel Curig in Snowdonia. Overall the pressure was beneath average, and it was quite a windy month at times. Heavy rain in east Scotland on the 20-21, peaking with a tremendous deluge around 9 am, lead to the worst flooding in Perth since January 1993. Overall it was quite a dull month, with an average of 170 hours, 80% of the 71-00 average, making it the dullest July since 1998.
2011 A cool month, with frequent N and NE winds; the coolest on average since 2007, and locally in the south since 1988. There was a fine, warm beginning and then very unsettled with some heavy rain and thunderstorms. After a dry week 94 mm of rain fell at Aberfeldy between the 4th and 9th. The 5th and 6th were particularly wet in east Scotland.The 18th was a cool day, with maxima of just 12C in the West, Wales, and Orkney and Shetland. It was a warm end to the month in the south and east. The highest temperature of the month was 27.5 at Olympic Park (London) on the 5th; the lowest -0.8C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 13th. It was very slightly wetter than average (62 mm, 108% England and Wales average); Capel Curig in North Wales had 193 mm, while Orkney had just 18 mm. Sunshine was very close to average, although it was sunnier than average in Northern Ireland. St Athan (Glamorgan) saw the most sunshine, with 258 hours, and Lerwick in Shetland the least (with just 64 hours).
2012 Cool, dull, and wet weather. A mostly cyclonic month. Overall the CET was just 15.5C, 1.2 beneath average. The rainfall average for England and Wales was 114mm, 171% of the average. It was also wet in Scotland. Mean sunshine was 165 hours,, 81% of the 81-10 reference period, making it the dullest July since 1998. The first half was very cool and wet. Very heavy rainfall on the 6th leading to severe flooding in the SW and parts of Scotland. The weather improved in the final week. 30.0C was recorded at several locations in the SE on 24 July; with the mini-heatwave peaking at 30.7C at London St James on the 27th. It then became unsettled again at the end of the month.
2013 A very hot month - the warmest since 2006, and the sixth hottest ever, with only 1921, 1976, 1983, and 2006 having been warmer. A notable heat wave with a prolonged period of high temperatures between Saturday 6 July and Wednesday 24 July when 28 C or more was recorded at one or more location on each of those 19 days. The last time the UK saw such a long period of hot weather was August 1997 (also 19 days).The highest temperature of the hot spell was on Monday 22nd, with 33.5C recorded at Heathrow and Northolt. The 17th was a hot day too, with 32.2C at Hampton (London). The 19th saw the highest temperature for Northern Ireland with 30.1C at Castlederg, Scotland with 29.7C at Cupar (Fife), and Wales, with 31.4C at Porthmadog. There were several warm nights, with the minimum of the night of the 22-23 being 20.7C at Heathrow. The end of the heatwave was particularly humid, followed by thunderstorms and widespread downpours, with some locations seeing more than 50 mm of rain in 24 hours. Overall rainfall averages 65.0 mm over England and Wales (98% average), but this was nearly wholly due to the wet final nine days. Goudhurst (Kent) saw just 6 mm. The wettest day was the 27th, which saw an average of 24mm, with Tideswell (Derbyshire) receiving 89 mm that day. It was the second sunniest July on record, since 2006, with 289 hours (142%), St Helier seeing 327 hours.
2014 Warm and sunny - in the top ten percent for both over the last century. The highest temperature was 32.3C (just over 90F) at Swanscombe Marsh (Kent); the lowest 1.2C at Braemar on the 2nd. The England and Wales sunshine average was 258 hours (128% average); St Helier saw 336 and Lerwick only 100. The rainfall average was 54.0 mm, 94% of average. The wettest days was the 20th, with thunderstorms; 75.8 mm fell at Canvey Island leading to local flooding.
2015 A cyclonic month, slightly cooler than average. However the record July maximum of 2006 is beaten, with 36.7C at Heathrow on the 1st. The "heatwave" is limited to one day, as a narrow plume of hot air dragged up from southern Spain covers the southeast. There are thunderstorms elsewhere. It is the new hottest day at Wimbledon too, with 35.7C beating the 34.6C set in 1976. It was a very wet month, with an average of 87.3 mm (131%). The wettest day was the 17th, with 88.3 mm falling at Cambridge Botanic Gardens in a thunderstorm. There were records of large hail across the country the same day. Sunshine was close to average (188 hours average, 99%).
2016 Slightly warmer than average overall. Unsettled first half, then with a fine spell, and a hot spell from the 18th to 29th, before turning thundery, the month finishing unsettled. Rainfall was about average overall (104%) bit better in the NW and drier in the SE, and very dry in the south. It was quite a dull month, with 92% of average sunshine. The highest temperature of the month was 33.5C at Brize Norton (Oxon), and 33.9C at Jersey Airport on the 19th. 97.9 mm of rain fell at Nunraw Abbey (East Lotion) on the 20th.
2017 An unsettled month, with a few brief fine spells. It was fairly warm in the SE in the first half of the month, then cooler and wetter. It was quite a thundery month. The CET was 16.8C, close to average. Sunshine was above or below average in the south, and above in the far NW. Unusually, July 2017 was sunnier in the Shetland Islands than in Cornwall (the 8th such occasion since 1929), It was wetter than average, with nearly twice the long-term average in the south and southeast. The highest temperature of the month was 32.2 at Heathrow on the 6th. 78.0 mm of rain fell at Okehampton (Devon) on the 30-31st. There was devastating flash flooding in the Cornish coastal village of Coverack, on the Lizard Peninsula, with a 1m surge of water, following heavy rain in a thunderstorm on the 18th, when 170 may have fallen locally.
2018 Overall very warm: at 19.1C CET it was better than July 1976, but not as good as July 2006 or 1983. It was particularly warm in the South and East. The first half was anticyclonic and was dry, sunny, and warm everywhere. It was more unsettled in the second half, particularly in the north. There was a notable heat wave towards the end of the month. It was 33.3C at Santon Downham (Suffolk) on the 23rd. There was a maximum of 35.3 at Faversham and 35.1C at Wisley on the 26th, a minimum of 21.0C at London St James Park overnight on the 26-27, and a maximum of 34.1 at Gravesend on the 27th; and then down to 24.0 at Weybourne on the 28th. The passing through of the cold front came with some severe thunderstorms. 99 mm of rain was recorded at Belfast on the 28th. On average rainfall was 71%, but it was very dry in East Anglia. It was a sunny month with 138% of average (the sixth sunniest July since 1929). Morecambe Bay in Cumbria recorded 111.9 hours of sunshine from 1st to 7th July, which is a new weekly sunshine record.
2019. Very warm overall. A cool start, followed by high pressure building, particularly giving fine weather overt he south and west. The second half od the month was more unsettled, but there was an exceptional hot spell 22 - 26 July. A new July record was set on the 25th with 38.1 in Cambridge in an exceptional heatwave. It was later confirmed that 38.7C (101.7F) was reached at Cambridge Botanical Gardens the same day, beating 2003 and setting a new overall UK record high temperature. Overall rainfall was 114%, but it was relatively dry in the SW and Wales. Sunshine was exactly average. There was an interesting pheneomenon on 25 July at Donna Nook (Lincs.) when during a "heat burst" at 10.20 pm the temperature briefly rose from 22°C to 32°C.
2020 Unsettled until midmonth, then with high presure midmonth, especially in the south, for a while. There was a very brief heatwave right at the end, but the UK recorded its third highest temperature, with 37.8C at Heathrow on the 31st. Overall cooler than average, wet (122%, and very wet in southern Scotland and NW England), and dull (83%). SE England tended to be warmer, drier, and sunnier. 101.8 mm of rain fell at Aberllefenni, Cymerau Farm (Gwynedd), on 3-4th.
2021 July 2021 was very warm, with a long warm spell in the middle sandwiched between an unsettled beginning and end. It was a fine month in wetern Scotland. There was some exceptionally heavy rain in Edinburgh on the 4th, with 41 mm of rain recorded in one hour at the Botannical Gardens, leading to flooding. The Azores High then built, giving settled and increasingly warmer weather, as well as cloudless skies, across most of the UK. At the same time a low led to exceptionally serious and tragic flooding in Germany and parts of surrounding countries. There was a heatwave midmonth, particularly affecting the south and west, with 8 consecutive days recording above 30C. A new record highest temperature of 31.2 C was first set on the 17th in Northern Ireland at Newtownards in County Down, beating 1976 and 1983. It was then 31.6 at Heathrow on the 18th, 31.4 there on the 19th, and 32.2 there on the 20th. The heat then moved west. The Northern Ireland record was broken yet again on the 21st with 31.3 C at Castlederg; it was 31.1 at North Wyke (Devon). It was then 31.4C at Armagh Observatory on the 22nd (31.2 at Gogerddan, Ceredigion), and then 30.1C at Castlederg on the 24th (29.0 ºC at Castle Douglas in Scotland). 29.3 ºC was reported at Threave Garden (Kirkcudbrightshire) on the 22nd. In the heat there were some exceptional thunderstroms with large hail in the SE and East Midlands, particularly on Tuesday 21st; 44 mm of rain fell in a thunderstorm at Marham (Norfolk). Overall it was the fifth warmest July on record. Rainfall was very variable, with overall 93% of the average, but parts of England and the Highlands were very wet, while Northern Ireland and western and northern Scotland were very dry. Sunshine was 111%, particularly in the west and western Scotland; Lochaber had 70% more sunshine than average. It was third hottest July in Scotland on record. The month ended with gales in southern England on the 30th. It was very hot in Europe, with a minimum over 36 ºC in Greece on the 31st, while maxima were about 44C. Wildfires were widespread. July 2021 was the hottest month on Earth since at least the beginning of the twentieth century.
July in history
16 A Roman fleet in the North Sea was dispersed by a storm.
1233 The Summer Floods devastated much of southern Britain.
1513 The Dry Wednesday, also called Hot Wednesday, of 21 July must have been one of the hottest days of the millennium; it is estimated that it might have reached 40 ºC. There were many heat-related deaths. It is apparently so called because the English and French armies faced each other in Gascony in the heat in full armour without drink for nine hours.
1540 Perhaps the hottest and driest summer on record, possibly better than 1976. In Britain it was known as "The Great Tudor Drought". Wildfires were widespread, and there were many deaths.
1556 The summer of 1556 was one of the best of the last six centuries. It is uncelar which was hotter out of 1540 and 1556, as records are scarce. Indeed sadly we may never know, but both were clearly exceptional. And at the start of the Little Ice Age too.
1601 Said to be the coldest in at least two hundred years, probably as a result of the eruption of Huaynaputina in Peru on 19 February 1600. This eruption was the largest ever recorded in South America, and might have played a role in facilitating the Little Ice Age.
1695 Brrr. A monthly average estimated at only 13.5C.
1707 8 July "Hot Tuesday" - a very hot day, perhaps one of the hottest days recorded in Britain.
1725 Part of the coldest summer on record in the CET series.
1757 Hot (18.4).
1783 Very hot (18.8). There was though a smoky haze noted, probably assocated with the Laki eruoption event in June and July 1783.
1785 The twelve months from August 1784 were perhaps the driest on record.
1808 There was a memorable heatwave in the middle of the month, particularly affecting the east of the country. The spell included "Hot Wednesday": 13 July might have been hotter than any day of the twentieth century. Estimates suggest that it reached 100F, and might well have reached 40C (105F) in places in southern England. There were many heat-related deaths. It was an extraordinary heatwave, concluding with intense thunderstorms on St. Swithin's Day. A fireball was noted travelling through Gloucester Cathedral, and destroyed one of the pinnacles at the West End. The 15th saw what was probably the most severe hailstorm to affect the southwest; a 95 km swath was damaged between Bath and Bristol, with 70 mm hailstones, touching perhaps 100 mm in places, causing great damage. Indeed, some in Somerset were reported to be over a foot long (at 333 mm). It was a hot month overall: at 18.4C CET, there would not be a better one until 1921.
1816 "The year without a summer" - only 13.4C, the coldest in the CET series, following the eruption of Mount Tambora in southeast Asia in 1815
1818 There was an exceptionally severe hailstorm in the Orkneys - an extraordinary location for an event that saw "goose egg" sized hailstones injuring cattle. Snow was recorded on Cumbrian Fells.
1825 The driest on record - 8.2 mm.
1826 Part of a very hot summer, probably nearly as good as 1976 The period from mid-June to mid-July is probably the hottest 30 day series on record, with an estimated average of 19.7º; it's just a shame it didn't correspond to a a calendar month in the CET.
1828 The wettest on record - 183 mm (231%).
1841 On the 17th there was a heavy hailstorm at Derby, notable for including a fall of fish and frogs (some of them alive).
1852 A very hot month (18.7C CET).
1868 There was an exceptional heatwave this month, with the 22nd being particularly hot. 38.1C (100.5F) was reported as being recorded at Tonbridge on the 22nd, although the screening was nonstandard and this temperature is now recognised as being far too high. The temperature was more likely actually around 36C (97F). A dry month, with no rain at all reported in parts of the Midlands. The heat and drought continued into August.
1875 Serious flooding in the Midlands.
1879 A very poor summer - the highest reading of the year was 26.8C at Hillington (Norfolk) on the 29th. This is perhaps the worst summer on record. (There has not been a year on record in which 80F has not been exceeded somewhere in the UK, but 1879 came closest.)
1881 There were some high temperatures on the 14th and 15th: 33.9C was claimed at Manchester, although the screening was unlikely to be standard. It is likely that only the SE exceeded 32C.
1884 There was a spectacular waterspout off Southwold (Suffolk) on the 20th.
1893 The year of the great drought, which started in early March, finished in early July. There were severe thunderstorms in west Yorkshire on the 7th cause flooding in the Pudsey region, with Tong Bridge swept away. Overall in the south the month was unsettled, cloudy, and with frequent rain. There were some interesting and famous storms. On the Sunday 2nd, a storm gave an enormous downpour over the Cheviots. It is estimated that 186 mm of rain fell in 60 minutes, leading to flash flooding. This is the highest hourly rainfall rate on record the UK. Then on the 8th, 9 cm hailstones fell both in Dumfries and Richmond. This was perhaps the most severe hailstorm ever to affect the north.
1888 Abnormally cold. There was a minimum of -3.3C at Ben Nevis on the 10th. Snow reported at various locations across Britain in the period 7-12th, particularly on the 11th as far south as Oxford and the Isle of Wight, although Philip Eden concludes that wet hail is more likely. The minimum temperature that night was about 6C at Kew. Six inches of snow were reported in the Scottish Highlands, which is a more plausible recording.