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Another month of wet and cool weather
11:00am Thursday 16th August 2012 in Weather Watch
JULY was another poor month, like the previous three – cool, dull and wet.
It was very similar to June but with temperatures by day even lower than those expected, by about 2C (4F), though again close to normal at night. In the past 30 years, mean maxima in July were colder only in 2000 and 1988.
Overall though, it was slightly milder than last year’s, when nights were chillier. Temperatures didn’t drop much after dark this time because of the generally cloudy skies.
They might be a bonus in winter but not in summer. As a result, in places, it was the dullest July for four decades. June and July together were the dreariest for a century, with barely more sunshine than in March alone. That exceptionally warm, dry month is arguably the best in 2012 – so far?
At least we had a hint of summer from the 21st, but missed out on the heatwave enjoyed further south. From that date, mercury levels were a good 2C (4F) higher during the day than they were earlier. Still, all this meant was that they’d merely recovered to around where they should be in July.
The peak temperature, about 25C (77F), was not exactly brilliant for the month either, but considerably better than that in 2007, when just 22C (72F) was achieved. Also, during the week from the 19th, hardly a trace of rain fell across the region.
However, there were scarcely a couple of completely arid days otherwise and totals added up to around one and a half times usual amounts. Despite this, it was the wettest July since only 2009 and, in most parts, four of the five prior to that were damper, too.
Indeed, compared to the average over the past eight Julys, it was on the dry side.
Yet, in the 20 years before 2004, there was just one wetter, in 1988. Showers produced the bulk of the rain and were frequently prolonged and heavy.
A few were torrential, causing local flash flooding, notably in Barnard Castle on Thursday the 5th. The majority were like “April” showers. These are triggered by the contrast between cold air aloft and the warming ground, heated by the increasingly strong spring sunshine.
Those I associate more with summer are the thunderstorms spawned in hot spells. They are longer-lived, often lasting into the evening, even overnight, and sometimes imported from the Continent.
July’s figures at Carlton-in-Cleveland: Mean Maximum: 18.4C, 65F (-2.0C, 3.5F) Mean Minimum: 11.5C, 52.5F (-0.0C, 0F) Highest Maximum: 24.8C, 76.5F, 24th Lowest Minimum: 7.0C, 44.5F, 21st Total Rainfall: 81mm, 3.2ins (20mm, 0.8ins) Wettest Day: 18mm, 0.7ins, 11th No of Rain Days, with 0.2mm (0.01ins) or more: 19 (+5).
(Figures in brackets show the difference from the 28–year mean, 1984-2011)
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