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June can be a strange month weatherwise. Scorching temperatures as well as washout, cold weather, perhaps epitomised by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on the river Thames in 2012, can feature prominently.
The month can also throw up some striking anomalies, none more so than the fact that the 13th is the only day in the month where the temperature has ever reached or exceeded 30C anywhere in the British Isles.
According to TORRO the highest daily maximum recorded in the UK is 28.3C at Earls Colne, Essex, in 1948; at Brixton, south London, in 1896 and Aboyne in 1994. Yet either side of this date has records comfortably above 31C, as the table below shows.
The closest we’ve got locally to 30C in the last 60 years was in 1989 when 27C was recorded.
So why is the 13th ‘cursed’ with traditionally being the coolest day of the month? The best explaination perhaps is the fact that the date occurs more or less during the middle of the North-west European monsoon.
According to Philip Eden’s list of singularities the June monsoon can strike any time between the 1st and 21st but normally peaks on the 16th with a 77 per cent frequency.
As well as cool temperatures the phenomenon can also bring copious amounts of rain, as happened in 1903 when large parts of Redbridge were inundated following a 59-hour deluge that started on… the 13th.
Will we see a repeat this Thursday? Unlikely, though the general pattern is not that different to what led to events over a hundred years ago.