Heatwave of the Century redux, August 2003
unkindly suggested that Gravesend is hardly the most attractively named town in
Britain, and one suspects that its new found notoriety as the hottest place in
the country will do little to enhance the local tourist industry. It is
certainly not in the same class as some meteorological record-holders such as
Sprinkling Tarn (wettest year), or Clawdd-newydd (deepest snow) or Winterbourne
St Martin (most rain in a day). The weather observing site known as
It may well be
Another aspect of the recent heatwave which has been discussed little in the media is its length. The temperature climbed above 32ºC somewhere in Britain on five days which equalled the hot spell of late-July and early-August 1995, and there were 13 consecutive days of 27ºC or more from August 2 to 14 and that is the longest such spell since August 1997. When compared with the infamous summer of 1976, though, this year’s hot weather has not lasted long at all. In that year the temperature exceeded 32ºC on 15 days in a row between June 23 and July 7.
The 35ºC threshold has been passed on three occasions this month, and that may increase to five when all the reports are in. During the last 100 years this figure has only been reached or exceeded in 1906, 1911, 1923, 1948, 1957, 1976, 1990 and 1995, and only in 1976 has it been achieved on as many as five days.
© Philip Eden