AUGUST 6, 2021
By Paul Homewood
Last month was notable for a hot spell mid month, interspersed with spells of heavy, thundery rain. No doubt the Met Office/BBC/Guardian nexus will label it a month of extremes, as they always do when it’s a bit warm, cold, wet, dry etc:
How does this compare with previous years?
July 1941 was a remarkably similar month in many ways, with a hot spell followed by severe thunderstorms, which caused floods and considerable damage. Temperatures peaked at 93F in London, 33.9C, much higher than last month’s high of 32.2C at Heathrow. The highest daily rainfall of 4.25 inches, 108mm was considerably more than the high of 87.9mm last month.
In addition, some exceptionally high totals were recorded for shorter periods, such as 3.9 inches in two hours at Writtle, 3.15 inches in 100 minutes and 0.62 inches in 12 minutes. These widely spread episodes far exceed anything set last month.
Ten years later came another warm July, though without any really hot days. Again though, thunderstorms were widespread and severe:
Fast forward ten years, and July 1961 was a rather cool and cloudy month. Nevertheless temperatures hit 33.9C at several places on the 1st. Strong gales also were widespread at times, with a record gust speed for July recorded at Jersey:
And July 1971 was yet another predominantly sunny month interspersed with heavy thunderstorms. Much of the country suffered with a severe lack of rainfall, with water shortages in Westmoreland described as “severe”.
Despite this, however, other parts were inundated by heavy thunderstorms, with some exceptionally high daily and hourly totals, such as 40mm in 14 minutes at Watchet, described as a “very rare rainfall”. Flood damage was reported at many places, including Great Yarmouth. This latter flood followed 88.2mm of rain in a day at Gorleston, a remarkable similar total to the highest daily total last month of 87.9mm.
True to form, the media have gone totally mental over a few flash floods in London last month, where the highest daily rainfall total was less than 2 inches. As the above archives show, heavy rain like that is the norm in July, not the exception.