Met Office figures confirm summer blues

Wednesday 31st Aug 2011 by theWeather Club

"It's been the most awful summer" might be a familiar refrain in a country that considers complaining about the weather to be a state duty. Nevertheless those who have lamented the rainstorms, frowning clouds and hair raising temperatures of the past few months will be, if not pleased, then at least mildly vindicated to discover that this summer has officially been the coolest since 1993 according to provisional Met Office statistics.

Looking at temperatures recorded between the 1st June and 15th August, the Met Office found that the average temperature was only 13.9°C – the lowest for 13 years. In most parts of the UK the temperature during August has been below normal by about 1°C, while in central England an average reading of 15°C makes it about three degrees cooler than what would normally be expected for this time of year.

"This sort of temperature is normally typical of September," Helen Waite, a Met Office forecaster, told the Telegraph. "Generally speaking, you would expect to see temperatures of at least 17°C for this time of year."

Adding precipitation to injury, other figures released by the Met Office also show that that the UK has overall received 126% of the normal monthly rainfall for August - 267.7mm so far, compared with 243.8mm of rainfall last summer.

This news, together with the finding that the UK has received just 76% of the amount of August sunshine expected, puts rather a dampener on a summer that started off so promisingly with those hazy bank holiday weekends back in April. Yet as BBC meteorologist Susan Powell pointed out, there were some fine exceptions to the unseasonably chilly rule.

"If you look at the average figures for the summer you can get a negative impression," she explained to the BBC. "But there were some good parts as well - the last week in July saw temperatures of 33°C in the south." What's more, she explained, it was probably a good thing that the summer turned out to be something of a wash out given that the spring months were so unusually dry.

There is a silver lining to all this grey news however, in the form of a potentially Indian summer. "There is some good news for southern parts of England and Wales," added Susan, " as the start of September looks like having slightly above-average temperatures."