UK records fifth warmest July ever after country roasted in heatwave

·4-min read
Beaches were popular as the UK basked in the sunshine (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
Beaches were popular as the UK basked in the sunshine (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

The scorching heatwave last month resulted in the UK’s joint fifth warmest July on record.

Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded their third warmest July, in a month where Northern Ireland also broke its all-time high temperature record, exceeding 31C multiple times.

The mean temperature for July 2021 in the UK was 16.6C, which put it level with July 1995’s figure, according to provisional Met Office figures.

Pets had to find ways to cool down in the roasting weather (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Pets had to find ways to cool down in the roasting weather (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

This is still some way short of the record figure of 17.8C in 2006.

Northern Ireland (16.4°C) and Scotland (15.1°C) saw their third warmest Julys, Wales (16.5°C) its ninth warmest and England (17.5°C) its 11th warmest.

The Met Office issued its first ever extreme heat warning last month, with western areas in particular getting the most consistently hot conditions.

Northern Ireland broke its all-time temperature record with a figure of 31.3C recorded at Castlederg on July 21.

Forecasters said Scotland and Northern Ireland were far drier and sunnier than average for July.

Both countries saw 25% more sunshine hours than average, with 175.6 sunshine hours for Scotland, and 175.5 for Northern Ireland.

Scotland got 67% (66.4mm) of its average rainfall in the month, while Northern Ireland got just 53% (43.3mm).

But intense summer downpours affected some areas of the country and resulted in some places recording twice their average rainfall for July.

The Isle of Wight had its seventh wettest July on record – and its wettest since 1920 – with 115.4mm of rain, while parts of London recorded more than double the average rainfall they would expect in the month.

The Met Office said the localised nature of some of the summer downpours meant there could be some sharp contrasts with, for example, some parts of London receiving much closer to average rainfall.

People headed for the beaches as the mercury soared across the UK (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)
People headed for the beaches as the mercury soared across the UK (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Some unsettled and thundery conditions were in force for much of the second part of the month, which saw Storm Evert sweep across southern areas of England and Wales, bringing gusty winds and some persistent rain.

Tim Legg, of the National Climate Information Centre, said: “Early July was relatively unsettled, with frequent heavy showers, especially over parts of England.

“The early subdued temperatures were replaced with a very warm spell for much of the UK as a high pressure system moved in and settled down, resulting in temperatures regularly getting in to the low 30s Celsius by day and remaining warm overnight.

“The hot spell is largely responsible for the above average temperatures recorded for the UK, with western areas in particular reporting temperatures well above their July averages.

“This warm period broke down later in the month, bringing with it rain, thunderstorms and even the first storm we’ve named in July when Storm Evert crossed our shores from the 30th.”

Meanwhile, thunderstorms and torrential downpours could cause flooding across parts of southern England and Wales.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for storms on Monday which covers areas including Cardiff, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and London and is in place until 11pm.

Forecasters are predicting up to 50mm of rain could fall in the space of just a few hours.

Nicola Maxey, a spokesperson from the Met Office, said: “This can lead to surface water flooding as drains cannot get rain away fast enough and spray on roads.

“However, not everyone within the area will see storms or rain, but the risk is there.

“More rain will be coming through this week, with the potential for thunderstorms on Wednesday.”

Flooding has already affected the Isle of Wight, with the Met Office reporting that up to 120mm of rain had been recorded near the town of Ventnor.

South Western Railway urged customers to allow extra time for their journeys, while Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service advised those affected by flooding to move their valuables upstairs and do what they can to keep their electronics away from water.

As the week progresses, there will be a mix of sunny spells and showers, according to the Met Office.

Forecasters are predicting that weather conditions should improve by the middle of the month.

Conditions look to be drier and warmer by then but there is no sign of another heatwave on the way.

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