How does this summer's heatwave compare to the one of 1976?

<em>How does this summer’s heatwave compare to 1976 – the longest in living memory? (Picture: Getty)</em>
How does this summer’s heatwave compare to 1976 – the longest in living memory? (Picture: Getty)

As the UK continues to bask in some of the hottest weather people have seen in years, some are wondering how the sweltering spell compares to the last major heatwave in memory.

Provisional figures suggest that the UK had one of its hottest and driest Junes ever, with Scotland enjoying its highest ever temperature of 33.2C recorded in Motherwell on June 28.

The sweltering spell has continued into July, with many parts enjoying temperatures around the mid-to-high 20s.

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The baking weather is reminiscent for some of the summer of 1976, whose heatwave was one of the longest in living memory and triggered the most significant drought for at least the last 150 years.

So how does this year’s hot spell compare so far?

<em>Heatwave – Britain is baking in a heatwave that saw one of its hottest and driest Junes ever (Picture: PA)</em>
Heatwave – Britain is baking in a heatwave that saw one of its hottest and driest Junes ever (Picture: PA)
  • According to the Met Office, there were 15 consecutive days in 1976 when temperatures hit 32C (89.6F) or higher somewhere in the UK. In comparison, so far in 2018 there have been only two consecutive days when temperatures have hit 32C or higher: June 28 and June 29.

  • The highest temperature recorded in June 1976 was 35.6C (96.1F), in Southampton on the 28th. Coincidentally, the highest temperature in June 2018 was also on the 28th on the month, when the mercury hit 33.2C (91.7F) in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.MORE: Landowners can now claim damages if ‘pernicious’ Japanese knotweed encroaches on their land
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  • The average maximum daily temperature in June 1976 was 19.9C (67.8F). Provisional figures suggest June 2018 matched them – also with an average maximum temperature of 19.9C. This is the second highest figure since records began in 1910 – the highest was 20.6C (69.1F) in June 1940.

  • The average mean daily temperature in June 1976 was 15C (59F), which remains the highest since records began. The provisional figure for June 2018 is 14.8C (58.6F), which would makes it the third highest on record.

  • It terms of sunshine, June 2018 was sunnier than June 1976, with an average of 239.9 hours of sunshine across the UK compared to 205.5 hours in June 1976.

  • June 2018 was also drier than June 1976. Average rainfall across the UK totalled 37.5mm in June 1976 while the provisional figure for this year is 35.4mm. That would make June 2018 the ninth driest on record.

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