Our Wacky Weather

Daily Mail – July 12, 2011

Two mini-heat waves have seen Britain bask in record temperatures.

But Summer, it seems, has been and gone – and it’s only July.

Despondent forecasters are predicting a soggy summer that could also be the coldest for 18 years.

And the cool temperatures could spell boredom to hundreds of thousands of school children after a wet start to the Summer holidays was predicted.

Experts from The Met Office said the average central England temperature in June reached just 13.8C (57C) – the coldest since 1991 which managed only 12.1C (54F).

July has so far shown little signs of improvement with overcast conditions and long days of drizzle.

Temperatures have averaged just 15.8C (60F) and forecasters are warning that the rest of the month is unlikely to pick up. That could mean an average Summer temperature of only  15.1C (59F).

The cool temperatures would make this year the coldest summer overall since 1993, which averaged 14.9C (59F) from June to August.

Even though London could struggle up to 25C (77F) today, the mercury in the rest of the country will reach just 16C to 19C (61F-66F).

The cool Summer temperatures are a stark contrast to those earlier this year. Spring – which statistically means March, April and May – saw sizzling temperatures that made it the hottest season for 118 years.

Weather officials issued had to issued health warnings as temperatures trumped the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and eastern deserts and reached a heady 33c towards the end of July.

At Wimbledon where Andy Murray reached the semi-final, hundreds of sweltering fans had to lie down on the grass as they battled the immense heat.

Across the country millions of people took to parks to bask in the heat. The unexpected sun even caused pavements to melt in Brighton and trains were delayed when overhead power cables overheated.

In April, temperatures reached 26.5C following four days of glorious sunshine and unseasonally high temperatures.  Wisteria even began flowering early, taking gardeners by surprise with its spectacular displays of lavender and violet.

The rise in temperatures was also accompanied by a drop in rainfall. While it was supposed to be the month of refreshing spring downpours, the April showers failed to materialise.

But it now looks likely that those traditional showers have merely been delayed.

Rain has fallen regularly across most areas of the country since the drought ended at the start of June. Forecasters have recorded 83.1mm (3.27in) on average across Britain in June with more expected to follow this month.

And there’s little chance of maintaining a tan, as June has been the dullest since 2008, with just 180.8 sunshine hours -  the lowest for three years.

‘We forecast a ‘brolly and sunblock’ summer and the brolly has certainly been needed lately,’ Jonathan Powell of Positive Weather Solutions told the Metro.

‘I expect the mixed summer to continue with a real mixed bag of washout days with torrential rain and dry days with pleasantly warm sunshine.’

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