Weather in the archives

Heat and Drought

Weather books show that summer temperatures could be very variable. The year 1911 was undoubtedly a heat wave summer, registering temperatures of 80°Fahrenheit on over on 30 days in July and August. The highest temperature recorded was 97° Fahrenheit.

1914 was another hot summer, which resulted in a number of violent thunderstorms. In July 1900, temperatures of over 80° Fahrenheit were recorded for a third of the days in the month. More recent notably warm periods were August 1955, June 1957, June 1960, June 1970 and August 1975. Other sources show that June 1846 was considered to be ‘roasting hot’.

Equally there were cool and dull summers. In August 1902, for example, temperatures barely climbed out of the 60s Fahrenheit and the month was noted for its almost entire absence of sunshine. The year 1895 saw only two days between the beginning of June and the end of August when temperatures of over 80 °Fahrenheit were recorded.

Periods of drought gave rise to concerns about crop yields and the ability to be able to feed and fatten stock if the grasslands did not grow. Notable drought years in the county include 1681, when a long drought was heralded by a meteor during the previous December. 1844 was another drought year, when no rain fell between April and May, as was the year 1850, when there were real concerns about the lack of rain. Weather books from Weston Park show that in 1895, 1896 and 1898 the rainfall recorded was below 22 inches, with the lowest fall occurring in 1898 (20.94 inches only), suggesting that these may have been drought years. More recent droughts have included the years 1975 and 1976.