UK summer 2015: from hot and dry to cool and wet

Monday 07th Sep 2015 by theWeather Club

Whilst June saw dry, sunny, near-average temperatures for much of the UK, ‘Wimbledon week’ saw a change to more warm and sunny conditions, with long dry settled spells and short interludes of exceptional warmth during the start of July. Temperatures reached 36.7oC in Heathrow on 1st July, which the Met Office declared as the hottest July day on record, and temperatures widely peaked above 30oC.  The heat also triggered thunderstorms and torrential downpours across parts of northern England and Scotland.

Although warm, sunny weather did continue to interlace summer, the weather became much more unsettled during late-July, seeing the return of rather prolonged wet and cool periods. In fact, on 26th July some parts of the UK even failed to reach the average temperature you would expect to find in October, whilst overnight temperatures in Sennybridge, Wales went down to 1oC on the last day of July!

Plumes of warm, moist air moving up from the near continent often triggers convective storms at this time of year. Although Scotland and Northern Ireland was mostly fine and dry, mid-August saw a wash-out further south in the UK. On 13th August, a month’s worth of rain (30-40mm) fell in just 9 hours in parts of the south-east, including Sussex, Essex and Kent. This lead to flooding which disrupted transport systems and inundated a shopping centre in Eastborne. 

Late August saw the persistent wet weather continue, with a period of successive weather systems which brought wet and thundery weather to much of the UK. On the 24th August, more than a fortnight’s rain fell in some areas in just 24 hours and the bank holiday weekend was indistinguishable, albeit interspersed with some sunshine. 

The Met Office has indicated that overall, this summer looks set to be cooler and wetter than average (indeed, the coldest summer for 3 years) but that sunshine totals are expected to be near average.