When the rains came
Longest drought for 2 years
by Philip Eden
Last Saturday the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London was rained on rather heavily, as was the one-day international cricket match at Chester-le-Street. Newspaper reporters started asking whether it was the wettest June on record. Unfortunately two wet days do not make a record-breaking month.
The general weather pattern which prevailed during the first half of June also conspired to hide the fact that there was very little rain - we tend not to notice a shortage of rain during cool and cloudy periods. Averaged over England and Wales there was only 12mm of rain during the first 14 days of June, little more than one-third of the normal amount.
When the rains finally arrived they arrived with a vengeance. Rain on Thursday 14th was sporadic, but Friday 15th was much wetter with what many weather-forecasters call 'heavy showers' - to most of us they are 'torrential downpours' - breaking out across much of England and Wales. Some of these downpours were accompanied by hail and thunder. From the limited data to hand, the wettest place was RAF Leeming in the Vale of York where 53mm, about a month's worth, fell in a couple of hours. About the same amount fell at Norwich on Saturday night.