June set to be one of the wettest and dullest on record

Daily Mail – July 1, 2012

The start of the Great British summer might typically see people seek shelter from the sunshine.

But in one of the wettest, coldest and dullest June’s since records began, taking refuge under a sink from yet another downpour was all part of the start of summer for youngsters attending a Gloucestershire show.

And elsewhere, the story wasn’t much different as storms and hailstones as big as golf balls were all scenes which unfolded due to June’s unseasonable weather

Average rainfall over England and Wales, including an estimated figure for today, was 157mm – more than twice the average for the period between 1981-2010.

The wettest June recorded previously was in 2007 when there were heavy floods in the north of the country.

Previously, the second wettest June was in 1912 and the Met Office said that we have already far surpassed the amount of rain that fell in that month.

The equivalent figures for Scotland were 104mm and 171% of the normal amount of rainfall, and for 145mm, which is twice the typical amount expected in Northern Ireland.

It has already been confirmed that this month has been the wettest June in Wales.

June 2012 was also the dullest since 1909 and the coldest since 1991.

Average sunshine over England and Wales, including an estimated figure for June 30, was 123 hours, which is a mere 64% of the 1981-2010 average..

In Scotland, there were 123 hours of sunshine and in Northern Ireland, an unseasonable 136 hours.

And it doesn’t look like the start of July will be much better as Chris Burton, of forecasters Meteogroup, said: ‘Next week looks unsettled again with lots of wet weather around.’

The torrential rain and fierce storms have been put down to a weather phenomenon known as the Spanish plume, forecasters said.

The pattern occurs when warm, moist air sweeping up from the south is lifted by a cold weather front from the west bringing prolonged and exceptionally intense downpours.

Paul Knightley, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: ‘It is a pattern that when it sets up in the correct fashion will produce spectacular thunder storms.’

The Spanish plume was behind three rare ‘super cell’ thunderstorms that swept across the Midlands this week bringing hailstones the size of golf balls in some areas.

The Godiva Festival due to take place in Coventry’s War Memorial Park over the weekend that was expected to attract more than 100,000 revelers has been cancelled due to the heavy rain.

Elsewhere, swathes of the Midlands were hit by intense downpours, with some parts receiving almost an inch of rain in just an hour – a third of the average rainfall for the whole month of June.

The dreadful weather this month also caused transport headaches for thousands.

A landslide caused by a torrential downpour led to a freight train derailing, blocking the West Highland railway line.

The 24-wagon train came off the tracks between Corrour and Tulloch on the 28th June as a result of a huge influx of rain.

The final figures for this month’s rainfall will not be released until June 2nd by the Met Office, but it is anticipated that rainfall will be amongst the highest ever for the month.

186.3mm of rain fell in the country beating the previous highest amount of rainfall for June – 183.1mm – which had been set in 1998.

As well as having to put up with a higher than average amount of rain, people looking forward to enjoying the sun have also been disappointed this month.

Temperatures have been below average, with a mean temperature of 11.9c – 0.7c below average for June, and the Central England Temperature of 13.6C (56F) was 0.9 degree Celsius below the average for 1981-2010 – the lowest in June since 1991.

As well as the Spanish Plume, one of the main factors behind the dull weather so far this month has been the position of the jet stream, which has been much further south than usual.

This has led to low pressure systems ending up close to the UK for almost the whole month.

Despite the mostly dreadful weather this month, however, June appeared to end with a slight and brief spell of more typical conditions for the month.

Yesterday saw a patch of hot and humid air pushed up into the country from Spain, which led to warm and muggy conditions.

The temperature in St James’s Park in central London even reached 28.4c.

Typically, the sunshine did not last in many parts of the country, though, and there were thunderstorms across the UK.

Northern Ireland and Scotland were worst affected by the sudden downpours and a staggering 1,000 lightning strokes hit the UK during a five minute period yesterday.

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What’s reported above isn’t confined to the northern hemisphere. It’s happening in the southern hemisphere too where Brisbane recorded its coldest wettest June in more than a decade.

 Cold, wet conditions break record for south east

Amma Sykes – ABC Brisbane June 27, 2012

It’s not all that often that you see scarves, boots, overcoats and umbrellas feature heavily in Brisbane’s collective wardrobe, but a wave cold weather this week has seen the sunny state capital look more like its southern cousin, Melbourne.

The miserable weather is being caused by a trough that has been forming over south east Queensland and off the coast.

Weatherzone’s Brett Dutschke says the trough has brought widespread rain to central, central western and south east Queensland.

“Some parts have had a month’s worth of rain in a day, Brisbane has had 27 millimetres in the last 24 hours,” he says making this Brisbane’s “wettest June in thirteen years.”

And if you’re wondering why it feels so cold, Mr Dutschke puts it down to the wind-chill factor.

“The wind will make the temperature feel colder than it actually is. Brisbane is struggling to get into mid-teens, it will feel more like the low teens.”

Temperatures in Brisbane have struggled to get past 15 degrees for five consecutive days.

Mr Dutschke says the low temperatures are not that unusual on their own, however the run of cold days makes it a record breaking cold snap.

“Thursday will be the 6th day in a row without reaching 20 degrees, and the last time that occurred was in 1999, so for some people it’s probably a distant memory.”

“The most unusual thing about this week is how long lasting and prolonged it is,” that, he says is due to the widespread nature of the cloud.

“It’s a slowly developing low pressure trough and it’s got a fair bit of moisture in it, so it’s bringing rain which is adding to the cooling.”

But before the rain and cool weather disappears Brisbane can expect more falls.

“We do have more rain to come, today and tomorrow, and there’s a chance of getting some minor flash flooding, particularly near the coast as the system becomes more coastal oriented.

Brisbane, he says, could get another 50 millimetres before it moves offshore before the weekend, which would also make it the wettest start to the year, since 1999.

A low forming off Fraser Island will increase surf in coastal areas on Thursday and Friday.

“It will certainly make the surf increase; we have a chance of seeing 5 or 6 feet waves hitting the beaches.”

Mr Dutschke says you’ll be able to do your washing by the weekend, with sunshine expected by Friday.

“There will be much drier south-westerly winds filtering through south east Queensland over the weekend and then we’ll see temperatures getting comfortably above 20 next week.”

Just in time for Queensland to win the State of Origin decider in Brisbane? Mr Dutschke says football fans can expect a warmer, dry night.

“I can confidently say next Wednesday is looking dry. It’ll be reasonably comfortable, temperatures in the mid-to-high teens during the evening, so I think it will be good for footy.”

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