The results are in and statistics show that this summer was the second hottest in a local record going back to 1797. The mean temperature of 19.57C was 2.4C warmer than average, just six hundredths of a degree cooler than the summer of 2003.
A sustained period of heat that continued the theme of the hot late spring was enough to see a new entry into the hottest-ever list of heatwaves. But the hottest weather was over by the end of July, August being very disappointing compared with the first two months of summer.
It was also the driest summer for 15 years. Just 87mm were recorded, that’s 60 per cent of average and just 7mm wetter than the historic summer of 2003, the year the UK’s highest temperature record was set.
It was the sunniest summer for 5 years: 663 hours of sunshine were recorded, over 100 hours less than 1976, the 24th sunniest summer since 1881.
…then we’ll only see a splash. If the ash before the oak then we’re sure to get a soak.
If this old weather saying carries any weight then this summer should be a corker…
Only I wonder how many of the ash trees I noticed on my ride back from Enfield this afternoon are struggling to survive let alone burst into leaf. The initial onset of chalara fraxinea (ash dieback) over the past couple of years now seems to be taking its toll in a much bigger way on ash specimens around the countryside.
The tell tale dead branches are becoming a lot more common.
Some have blamed the spread of Chalara on cheap imports of ash trees from Holland – the first cases were confirmed in a nursery in Bucks early in 2012. Efforts were made to find and contain affected specimens but, throughout East Anglia and the South East, the disease seems out of control. It could be only a matter of time before the disease scars the landscape with dead trees in the same way that Dutch Elm Disease did in the 1970s.
From one poor management of trees to another – namely the ultra harsh pollarding of the London planes in Wanstead High Street. Whilst this style of management is nothing new and seems to be de rigeur among most London councils it does nothing for the scene of many roads and streets through the capital. What was once a rich canopy of green providing shady relief from the sun during high summer is just a few stumps. It takes a good few years for the canopies to regenerate – by which time it’s time for another visit from the tree surgeons…
To blame, partly, is the spread of another tree pest – Massaria. This unseen pest ‘eats’ away the tops of branches – compromising the strength of the wood eventually to the point where, if unchecked, the whole limb comes crashing to the ground. London plane is very heavy wood – with branches weighing dozens of kilos there’s obviously safety issues with limbs dropping on peoples’ heads.
Though councils would argue otherwise I think the harsh pollarding is a cost saving measure – without this they would have the added cost of constant monitoring.
The fast-growing, non-native London plane was planted on the understanding that growth would be carefully managed and limited in height. But looking at some of the monster specimens around the capital that seems to have gone by the wayside a long time ago.
The City of London Corporation is well aware of the problem and is closely monitoring the capital’s stock.
If you have magnificent London plane near you make the most of it – the buzz of the tree surgeons’ chainsaws are getting closer.
Often with a change of month comes a change of weather. And weather models this morning suggest this phrase will hold true.
Looking back over the last ten years August has been the wettest summer month on five occasions. Given that June rainfall was just 38% of average and July rainfall currently (as I write this on 25th) just 28% of average, it is not surprising that August could potentially be the wettest summer month.
The Atlantic looks like it will have cranked back into action by the first week of August bringing us a period of more unsettled weather – a more mobile westerly flow which means cooler conditions than we experienced during most of July.
The first week looks the most unsettled – no huge rainfall totals though there will be rain or showers around, some of them potentially thundery. Temperatures in the low 20s – though up to 25C on any brighter days.
The second week could start quite thundery with potential for a heavy downpour. After this I would expect the Azores high to ridge northwards settling down the weather to give possibly the best weather of the month during the third week – temperatures still in the low to mid 20s with lots of sunshine around and cool nights.
As the high pressure shifts, bringing a more east or south-easterly flow, days could become briefly very warm at the start of the fourth week. However the high pressure could start to drift north as the wider pattern begins to respond to a very active US hurricane season. Though it is a long way off all that extra energy in the Atlantic will begin to feed through to us at the end of the month, turning things unsettled again in time for the August Bank Holiday. September could be very wet indeed.
So in summary the buzzword for August is average overall with decent sunny summer’s days coupled with the odd rainy or showery day. No return of the heatwave – but also not the washout of the last few summers.
Average max temp: 22.5C (normal)
Average min temp: 12.5C (slightly below normal)
Rainfall: 57mm (normal) – this estimated total could be quite conservative in the event of any potent thunderstorms