From dust bowl to mud bath: 24th July 2015

  • Crowds of Londoners huddled under their umbrellas in what was the wettest day of summer so far. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

    The Friday commute was made worse by heavy rain and standing water. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

    Scenes like this have been typical of summer 2015 so far with negligible rainfall for the gardens and parks. Photo: Katie Collins/PA Archive/PA Images

  • From dust bowl to mud bath: 24th July 2015
    25.07.2015 12:30


    Friday saw a marked shift in the weather across the southern half of the UK with heavy and persistent rain drifting slowly eastwards through the course of the 24 hour period. Despite weather models forecasting up to 30-40mm of rainfall in places, some locations recorded higher totals.

    The past few months have been notably dry across large parts of Britain with parts of Greater London and south-east England recording less than 30mm of rainfall since 1st June (the meteorological start of summer). In fact, most of this rainfall is estimated to have fallen from the scattered thunderstorms which developed in the heat and humidity of recent weeks. Due to the sporadic nature of such thunderstorms, some locations may not have seen any recordable rainfall so far this summer.

    After watching the gardens and parks of southern England turn increasingly from green to shades of yellow and brown in recent weeks, a welcome dose of rainwater arrived on Friday 24th July as a deepening area of low pressure brought a spell of heavy and persistent rain. Arriving into south-western Britain during the morning, Dunkeswell Aerodrome had already recorded 24mm of rainfall in the 6 hours to 1300 BST. The main focus of the heaviest rain then moved eastwards into central southern England and the south Midlands before becoming confined to East Anglia and south-east England overnight. Herstmonceux in East Sussex recorded the highest hourly total with 12.2mm falling between 2100 and 2200 BST. In the 24 hour period until 0700 BST on Saturday morning, Norwich saw the highest rainfall total with 43mm. At many locations across southern England, Friday’s rainfall totals either equalled or in some cases exceeded the amount recorded in the entire period 1st June – 23rd July 2015 (summer so far).

    After the deluge of Friday, you might be wondering what the weather has in store as we progress further into the summer and July turns into August. In the short term, low pressure will bring widespread rain to the UK on Sunday 26th July, with the best of any drier and sunnier weather to be found across the far north of Scotland. The unsettled weather continues into Monday with heavy and possibly thundery showers alongside a fresh breeze. Things will start to settle down from Tuesday with lighter winds and fewer showers, although temperatures will stay below the seasonal average. Towards the end of the coming week and into the first few days of August, there are significant discrepancies between the weather models, causing a headache for us forecasters.

    By: John Lee