After an inauspicious start with 23.0mm of rain recorded on the first of the month, August turned out to be warm with some good spells of sunshine and little rain once that first day was over. High pressure dominated, but even so it was quite a breezy month with some brisk south-westerlies. The highest temperatures of the month came on a south-easterly breeze, though, around the 16th-18th and again on the 23rd when the thermometer reached 28.5C. The average temperature for the month was 17.3C making it our warmest August since the station was set up – the previous record-holder was in 2013 with an average of 17.2C. Rainfall came to 55.6mm, but nearly half of that fell on the first day and the rest of the month was fairly dry. Incidentally, we recorded more rain on 1st August than we did in the whole of July.
The low pressure system which brought the rain on the first stayed with us for a few days, bringing a little more rain until the 5th, then high pressure began to build from the south-west. For much of the following fortnight we were on the boundary of high pressure to the south and low to the north: it wasn’t unbroken sunshine, but there was almost no rain between the 6th and the 18th and there were some warm sunny days. Towards the end of that period the high pressure moved off east and, with low pressure to our west, we were in a south-easterly stream of warm and humid air taking temperatures into the mid-20s.
An unseasonably deep low crossed the UK from the 19th to the 21st making this the windiest spell of the month, but thanks to the sheltering effect of Exmoor and Dartmoor rainfall totals here were low. Once that system had moved off across the north sea, high pressure built again – but this high was to our south-east with low pressure in mid-Atlantic, and by the 23rd we were back to that hot and humid continental air. This was the warmest part of the month, with a high of 28.5C on the 23rd.
Over the following days the high moved off east and we came under the influence of Atlantic lows again, with some spectacular thunderstorms to our east and up to Lincolnshire on the 28th (but just a little rain here). Although that brought an end to the high temperatures, the lows also brought a fresher south-westerly airflow and it felt more comfortable, if a little cooler. Bank Holiday Monday was uncharacteristically dry and sunny thanks to a little ridge of high pressure from the south-west, and the 30th was a fine summer’s day as well – but started with thick mist just to remind us that Autumn is coming. August ended with sunshine and showers on the 31st.
Despite an unpromising start in June, the summer of 2016 averaged a respectable 16.7C and a record high of 32.4C in July, and the rainfall total was a modest 135.6mm. It was breezy throughout the season with an unseasonable gale in June, but overall this was a decent summer.