Welcome to the web site of Steve and Janet Baggs from Brent Knoll, Somerset, UK. Here you will find occasional updates mostly (but not exclusively) about that great British passion – The Weather.
The thermometer here has passed 32.4C, our previous overall temperature record set in July last year – it’s reading 32.8C as I type this at 1540 and it does look as if it may have peaked, but there is still time for an even higher reading.
It’s remarkable that this record has been broken in June. Although this month has the longest days, overall temperatures are usually a degree or so higher during July and August. We had never recorded 30C in June at this station before the current hot spell, and now we have reached it three days in a row – and a near-miss of 29.7C on the 18th.
Things should be back to normal tomorrow as the high pressure system that has generated this heat drifts off east, and that will be a welcome relief to many. There’s the outside chance of a thunderstorm to see it off, too.
The temperature reached 30.6C at 1736 today, a new record for June at this station. It has also been our warmest June day (0600-1800) with an average temperature of 26.3C, and the second-warmest day overall since the station was set up in 2007 (the warmest was 19 July last year, when we also recorded our all-time record high temperature of 32.4C).
As I type this at 1815 the thermometer is hovering just under 30C and showing no sign of falling just yet. Yesterday evening a sea breeze popped up at about 1900 to cool things off a bit so, maybe we’ll get a little relief today as well – but we’re heading for a warm night.
Incidentally, we might be heading for a very dry month as well – we’ve recorded just 10.4mm so far, and this warm weather is set to remain for a few days yet.
Yesterday’s high temperature record for June didn’t last long – we recorded 31.3C this afternoon.
This was the warmest May since 2008 with an average temperature of 13.6C, about a degree above normal for this time of year. Rainfall was above average but not exceptional at 64.8mm, with the wettest day being the first with 11.8mm – the same total as we recorded for the whole of April. The following day saw the start of the longest dry spell of the month, with no rain recorded from the 2nd to the 10th thanks to a persistent easterly breeze. Talking of wind, it was a quiet month with a maximum gust speed of 24kts.
Thunderstorms were in evidence on three occasions during the month, with rolls of thunder audible from a storm to the east on the afternoon of the first, a brief storm bringing an end to that dry spell on the afternoon of the 11th, and a spectacular light show around 3am on the 27th when a line of thunderstorms stretching from here to the Isle of Wight lit the sky to the south east. That was, incidentally, the warmest May night we have recorded, with an average temperature of 19.3C – not conducive to sleep.
The highest temperature of the month was 26.7C on the 26th, a day of almost unbroken sunshine – and the source of energy for those thunderstorms the following morning. This wasn’t the only sunny day, with good periods of sunny weather around the 10th and the 19th.
Apart from that dry spell for the first week or so of May, there was no dominant weahter pattern and we alternated between spells of high and low pressure, bringing a mix of weather.
May brought to an end our joint-warmest Spring, with an average temperature of 10.8C matching the figure for Spring 2011. Total rainfall was 125.8mm, below average but with the exceptionally dry April being partially offset by the above-average total for May.
April was the driest month since we started recording here in September 2007, with a rainfall total of just 11.8mm. The previous record holder was May 2010 with 12.4mm.
Records on this site start the weather day at midnight, but traditional Met Office rain gauges are usually read at 0900 (so observers don’t have to scrabble around in the dark) and this means that any rain falling between midnight and 0900 “belongs” to the previous day. Normally this makes little difference over a month, but this morning we recorded 10.0mm of rain between midnight and 0900. If we were using the traditional Met Office weather day, starting an 0900, April’s rain total would almost double to 19.4mm (not 21.8mm, because 2.4mm of April’s rain would belong to March). It would also mean April would have been the 8th-driest month we have recorded, and not a new record holder. All this tells us is that Mother Nature is no respecter of calendars, clocks or statistics.
Rain fell on seven days during the month, and only three of those exceeded 1.0mm. The dry weather was a consequence of persistent high pressure which kept Atlantic lows at bay for most of the month, and brought some welcome sunshine too.
It wasn’t all plain sailing – there were some dull spells when cloud was trapped under the high pressure, and lows did put in an appearance on the 1st, the 25th and of course right at the end of the month on the 30th – hence all that overnight rain. We managed a respectable maximum temperature of 21.1C at lunchtime on the 9th only to see the thermometer plunge during the aftenoon as we switched to cool polar air: a feature which also took the edge off temperatures later in the month, and produced just a few April showers as cold air met warm.
Despite the clear skies there were no hard frosts, with a minimum of 0.0C recorded early on the 27th. The average temperature for April was 9.8C, about normal for this time of year.
Updated 2000 1 May 2017: after a couple of convective showers this afternoon (and some distant thunder), today’s rainfall total has reached 11.8mm. That’s nothing exceptional, but it does mean we have recorded as much rain today as we did in the whole of April.
This morning we recorded the first rain for over a fortnight, with 0.2mm falling between 0800 and 1000. That isn’t going to keep the garden going for long, nor does it add much to this April’s total – just 4.6mm at the time of typing, and we’re two-thirds of the way through the month. With high pressure never far away humidity has been low too, so the ground has dried out and gardeners are having to provide their own April showers.
I checked to see whether we have seen other months when the first 20 days have been so dry, and there are two – September 2007 (2.8mm at this point in the month), and July 2013 (0.6mm). Both of those months ended with totals in the mid-20s, but the record-holder is May 2010 when we recorded just 12.4mm of rain for the whole month.
There’s plenty of time for things to change before the end of April, but forecasts suggest it will remain dry for a while yet. That May 2010 record could be beaten this month.
This Spring is off to a warm start, with an average temperature for March of 9.1C – about 2C above normal, and the warmest March we have recorded since the station was set up in 2007. The previous record holder was March 2012 which averaged 8.7C.
There was no dominant feature of March’s weather, with Atlantic lows and high pressure systems both in evidence at various times during the month. Low pressure was in charge for the first week so we had a run of showers and some breezy days, notably on the 5th when a rapidly-developing low over the midlands produced a 40kt gust during the afternoon. The following day was much quieter with the UK in a col, but a low pressure system over the Bay of Biscay brought 120mph winds to Brittany.
High pressure arrived to our south on the 9th to bring some pleasant Spring sunshine once morning mist had cleared, but it was short-lived and the Atlantic lows were back on the 11th. Although this meant a good deal of cloud, we were in a warm airstream with above-average temperatures for mid-March.
A second high pressure system arrived to the south of the UK on the 15th bringing another settled spell, but again it moved off quite quickly and we were soon back to breezy and showery weather with 12mm of rain overnight on the 21st/22nd. The only air frost of the month was during a clear spell early on the 23rd, but it was short-lived and the temperature only fell to -0.3C – the highest March minimum we have seen.
The third high pressure system of the month formed over the UK late on the 23rd, and with the centre of the high to our north we were in a dry and chilly north-easterly breeze – which rather took the edge off the warmth from the sunshine.
This high moved off east on the 28th, and March ended with a complex series of low pressure systems bringing very mild air up from the south Atlantic, with a temperature of 18.4C recorded on the 30th.
Rainfall came to 49.2mm which is close to average, so the only exceptional feature of March was the warmth – not just from the sunny spells but also the warm southerly airstreams.