Tag Archives: East London weather statistics

London’s August extremes since 1959

I’m running out of superlatives for this summer. There has already been 15 days where the temperature has reached or exceeded 30C, two more than 1976!

However, the mean temperature has not been as intense as that classic summer where two heatwaves of five days and four days length were featured during the season. This summer has so far only seen one similar heatwave of 5 days length.

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of August.

august top ten wans

august SJP

august heathrow

Some national UK August values according to TORRO

Hottest: 38.5C Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent – 10th 2003
Coldest: -4.5C Lagganlia, Highland – 21st 1973
Wettest: 238.8 Cannington, Somerset – 18th 1924

In terms of climatology August maxima, considering the 1981-2010 average, shows a fairly steady decrease through the month, though around the 15th there is often a spike before a steady decrease to month’s end. This would reflect the late August winds singularity which occurs every year around the 20th at 67 per cent probability.

august av max

The average rainfall graphic shows that downpour amounts are fairly random from year to year. The driest days are the 15th and the 30th.

aug av rain

 

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July 2018: warmest month on record

July 2018 was the warmest month locally in a record going back to 1797. The mean temperature of 21.7C is 3.2C above the 1981-2010 average and exceeds the previous warmest July (1983) by 0.3C. Indeed, it is the warmest calendar month ever.

jul152018
MODIS image July 15th 2018

Just 16.7mm of rain fell, all of it coming after the 47 day long drought ended with a thunderstorm on the 27th. The amount is 38 per cent of average and is the driest July since 2010 and 7th driest in the local record.

There were 273 hours of sunshine, 142 per cent of average, making it the sunniest for five years and 10th sunniest on record.

As well as many hot days the lack of rainfall was most noticeable with catastrophic results on Wanstead Flats.

The warmest day occurred on the 26th with 34.7C.

The wettest day occurred on the 27th with 7.3mm falling.

 

 

40C in London end of July? Probably not

The long range weather models are causing much excitement on various forums with one run predicting an anomaly of +16C on Sunday, July 29th.

july29th

Such an anomaly would see temperatures exceed 40C in London, unprecedented looking back at records to 1841; the highest temperature recorded in the UK was 38.5C at Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent, in Augut 2003.

Though it is improbable it is not impossible. Back in April conditions allowed the temperature to rocket to a monthly record of 29.1C, a positive anomaly of 15.5C!
A repeat of similar synoptic conditions would be needed – these would obviously be helped by the record meteorological drought conditions this area is currently experiencing.

Because reliable thermometer records of heatwaves only go back as far as 1840 it is impossible to quantify whether 40C has ever been exceeded in the UK prior to then.

However, accounts of the heatwave of July 1808 suggest parts of England may have come close. Far removed from images of freezing Georgian winters and miserable summers the July of 205 years ago was among the warmest ever. The monthly mean for July 1808, according to the Central England Temperature series, was 18.4C – the 6th hottest July since the beginning of the series in 1659.

Luke Howard, the ‘father of meteorology’ who at the time lived in Plaistow, referred to the heatwave in his diary on July 13th: “Temperature at 9am 84F. The intense heat of the maximum lasted nearly three hours till about 4pm. At 6pm the temperature was 90F.” Another entry mentions a reading taken nearby. “Another at Plashet, a mile and a half eastward, indicated 96F as the maximum under the shade of a house.”

While Howard’s methods of measuring the temperature ran short of modern standards, his thermometer was hung under a laurel bush, the values still give a valid insight into the heatwave.

Tales of the heatwave, which particularly affected east and north-east England, can be seen in letters sent to local newspapers around the country. Many describe labourers dying from heat exhaustion while working in fields. Farm animals and horses suffered a similar fate.

One letter from Hull, published in the Coventry Mercury, said: “At Sigglesthorne, the honey in some beehives melted, ran out upon the ground, and most of the bees drowned in it. At Sutton, a lamb and a dog belonging to the Rev Mr Croft of Rowley, expired in the heat; and several birds dropped down dead, while flying over the streets of this town.”
Of course it is impossible to know about the health of people and animals that died but that birds dropped out the sky suggests extreme heat.

 

East London: drier than the Sahara desert

This summer has seen less than a millimetre of rain fall across our region, less than some parts of the Sahara desert!

The lack of precipitation has had catastrophic results, not least being a big contributing factor to the huge grass fire that swept through parts of Wanstead Flats at the weekend.

Since May 29th just 0.7mm has fallen in Wanstead, less than the 2.9mm recorded in Bechar, Algeria, and far less than Agadez in Niger which recorded nearly 108mm.

50 days

Of course the fact that the mean temperature of Wanstead over the same period is at least 13C cooler than both Saharan towns means that the dunes won’t be blowing across the Temple any time soon.

The affects of the dry weather can also be seen across the UK in these MODIS images, the lush greens of last year looking much paler and browner.

comparison

 

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MODIS image July 23rd 2014
jul152015
MODIS image July 15th 2015
jul192016
MODIS image July 19th 2016
jul172017
MODIS image July 17th 2017
jul152018
MODIS image July 15th 2018

 

 

 

London’s July extremes since 1959

With the ultra dry and warm month of June many feel the rest of summer will remain hot and dry. Recent weather patterns have seen much high pressure to our north keeping us dry and mostly sunny but protected from any humid Spanish plumes.

A look at local east London stats shows that half of the last 10 July months have been warmer than average while only two have been much drier than average.

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of July.

july1959WAN

july heathrow

sjp july

Some national UK July values according to TORRO

 

Hottest: 19th 2006: 36.5C at Wisley, Surrey.
Coldest: 15th 1977: -2.5C at Lagganlia, Highland.
Wettest: 18th 1955: 279.4.8mm at Martinstown Dorset.

july av mxIn terms of climatology July maxima, considering the 1981-2010 average, shows a fairly steady increase through the month, though around the 17th there is often a dip before a warm end. This would reflect the July heatwave singularity which occurs every year at 80 per cent probability.

The average rainfall graphic shows that downpour amounts are fairly random from year to year. The driest days are the 1st and the 25th. july av rn

 

London’s June extremes since 1959

With the recent warms months of April and May you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re in for a hot summer. Indeed the recent pattern of weather, would it repeat over the next month, could see many maxima records tumbling.

A look at local east London stats shows that six of the last 10 Junes have been warmer than average while half have been much drier than average.

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of June.

Probably most notable from the below values is that recent Junes have been devoid of extreme cool temperatures and rainfall.

Snow has been known to fall in June, in 1975.

Rain is usually most frequent in the last week of the month.

june extremes wans

heathrow june

june sjp

The 10 driest Junes were:

 

Some UK May values according to TORRO

Hottest: 29th 1957: 35.6C at Camden Square, London. Also Southampton 28th 1976
Coldest: 9th 1955: -5.6C at Dalwhinnie, Highland. Also June 1st and 3rd 1962: Santon Downham, Norfolk
Wettest: 28th 1917: 242.8mm at Bruton, Somerset

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 12.11.18In terms of climatology June maxima, considering the 1981-2010 average, shows a gradual increase through the month, though around the 19th to the 21st there is often a dip before a warm end. This would reflect the June Monsoon which occurs every year at 77 per cent probability.

The average rainfall graphic reflects this, showing a four-day wetter spell after the 20th.

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 12.29.10

 

 

 

 

London’s May extremes since 1959

Ne’er cast a clout till May is out. With the recent March and April weather being so variable it would be wise to bear in mind this old saying, especially with fine and warm weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend.

A look at local east London stats, however, shows that seven of the last 10 Mays have been warmer and drier than average.

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of April.

Probably most notable from the below values is that recent Mays have been devoid of extreme cool temperatures and rainfall.

With nights now relatively short air frosts are uncommon though the odd ground frost can still strike on a clear night.

Snow can fall in May – one example being 1979 in the higher parts of the capital – but after the first week it is extremely rare.

Rain is usually most frequent in the last week of the month.

wanstead may

SJP may

heathrow may

 

 

 

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Some UK May values according to TORRO

Hottest: 22nd 1922: 32.8C at Camden Square, London.
Coldest: 2nd 1917: -9.4C at Lynford, Norfolk
Wettest: 8th 1884: 172.2 at Seathwaite, Cumbria

 

In terms of climatology May maxima, considering the 1981-2010 average, shows a gradual increase through the month, though around the 25th there is often a brief dip before a warm end.

The average rainfall graphic reflects this, showing a three-day wetter spell after the 24th.

max max

 

may rain

 

 

Two April heatwaves compared

The stats are in and the average maxima for the past few days’ heatwave is 1C lower than the hot spell in 2011: a positive anomaly of 10.6C over six days.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 13.34.29Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 13.34.21

Although this year’s spell pipped the previous April high temp by 0.2C, the 2011 spell saw slightly higher temperatures and were recorded in a month that finished 3.3C above average – the average for this April is likely to finish only 2C above average.

April 2011 also saw just 3.3mm of rain recorded. The rainfall so far this month is already at 36.7mm, with more likely before the end of the month.

The spell in 2011 saw 74 hours of sunshine in total while this spell only saw 58 hours.

In terms of this summer it is quite possible that we won’t see a week with higher maximum anomalies or more sunshine than we saw across the southeast this week. To give you any idea of just how anon. warm last week was here is what the equivalent temperatures would be at the end of July, on average the warmest time of the year.

25th 29.8
26th 35.4
27th 39.2 (102.6F)
28th 37.7
29th 32.1
30th 33.3

* The Met Office definition of a heatwave (the same as the WMO) states:  “When the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 5 °C, the normal period being 1961-1990”.

 

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Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 13.44.09
The large anomalies of the past few days can be seen on this thermo trace

London’s April extremes since 1959

April showers bring spring flowers… so the saying goes though a look at local east London stats shows that eight of the last 11 Aprils have been drier than average, some remarkably so.

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of April.

Probably most notable from the below values is the top 5 maxima, made up during a warm spell in 2011.

Frosts can be common and are often sharp, playing havoc with budding plants

Snow can fall in April – a good few inches fell early in the month in 2008 – though any accumulation is usually short lived.

Rain – the characteristic April showers – is usually most frequent at the end of the month.

 

wanstead april

april SJP

april hth

 

The chart slideshow below show the synoptic situation which brought a notable warm spell in the second half of April 2011.

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Some UK April values according to TORRO

Hottest: 16th 1949: 29.4C at Camden Square, London.
Coldest: 2nd 1917: -15C at Newton Rigg, Cumbria
Wettest: 22nd 1970: 182.1mm at Seathwaite, Cumbria

In terms of climatology April maxima, considering the 1981-2010 average, shows a gradual increase through the month, though around the 21st there is often a jump of 3-4C, the start of a warm spell before rain arrives at month’s end.

The average rainfall graphic reflects this, showing a three-day drier spell after the 20th.

april max

april rain

 

 

 

 

 

Winter 2017/18 forecast review

At the beginning of December the opening par for my forecast for winter read:

The mean temperature for winter 2017/18 is looking average overall with average precipitation. While that doesn’t sound exciting for anyone looking for colder weather and snow I think the figures mask frequent 3 or 4 day-long cold snaps from the Arctic interspersed with milder interludes from Atlantic incursions; typical characteristics of a pattern driven by the troposphere. For anything longer term we have to hope for a warming of the stratosphere, a sudden stratospheric warming over the Arctic, that downwells into the troposphere, reversing the general westerly circulation. We are overdue an ‘SSW’ event but, even if one were to happen, its effects wouldn’t be felt until much later in the winter.

Figures generated using QBO statistics in the run up to December were identical to the outcome of 5C. It is figures generated using ENSO statistics, however, that produced the best results considering December, January and February alone.

It would seem that the winter was most influenced by the ENSO variable up until February when the effects of the SSW were enough to overcome it?results