Unlucky Friday the 13th Weather

  • Eton college in 1923 before the lightning struck. Photo: Francis Frith (2012)

    Photo of some of the destruction in Boscastle in August 2004. Photo: Chris Ison (PA Archive)

    Satellite image illustrating the snow over the UK in February 2009. Photo: NASA 2012

  • Unlucky Friday the 13th Weather
    14.04.2012 12:30

    Many people believe that on Friday the 13th some form of bad luck will occur. This superstition dates back to the 1800s and has since become known across many western areas, especially since the popular horror film franchise was released. Yesterday marked the second of the three Friday the 13th’s in 2012. It was a rather unsettled day with a mix of sunshine and showers, a pretty normal day for April. However, bad luck has previously occurred in the UK on Friday the 13th due to unusual or extreme weather. 

    Since 1900 there have been nine notable occurrences of bad or unusual weather occurring on Friday the 13th. These are described below:

    13th July 1923 – Violent thunderstorms and flash floods. Between the 7th and 15th July there were heavy thunderstorms with the most damage being caused on the night of the 9th. Homes were struck by lightning, in Sussex over 100mm of rainfall was recorded and the chapel at Eton College was destroyed. 

    13th March 1931 – Heavy snowfall. The 13th could have been seen as good luck as it marked the end of a heavy snowfall event which started on the 1st March. However, it was this was not the case as snow began to melt causing flooding along with icy roads. The heaviest snowfall was in the Northern Isles where 45cm was recorded at Orkney. 

    13th June 1941 – Thunderstorms and flooding. Upton Warren, Worcestershire recorded 177mm of rainfall in 25 hours and two people were killed by lightning in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

    13th September 1968 – The beginning of a heavy rainfall event. Heavy rain fell throughout much of the day, but became continuous on the 15th when 201mm was recorded at Tilbury and parts of South Essex and Kent saw 100mm. 

    13th August 2004 – Thunderstorms and flash floods resulting in mud slides. Convective storms developed during the afternoon with short bursts of heavy rainfall. This lead to flooding in places and mud slides developed. The same synoptic conditions were linked to the storm which lead to the severe floods at Boscastle, Cornwall on the 16th where extensive damaged was caused by heavy rainfall.

    13th April 2007 – Unseasonably warm. The highest temperature of 2007 so far was recorded at Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire. A maximum temperature of 21.9C was recorded, but this was quickly over taken on the 14th and then again on the 15th.

    13th February 2009 – Flooding due to snow melt. After a heavy snowfall event at the beginning of February, snow was slow to melt. With freezing temperatures and a shortage of rock salt, ice led to a number of road closures. However, temperature began to increase on the 13th causing flooding in many areas as the snow and ice began to melt.

    13th November 2009 – Storms. There were strong winds with gusts as strong as 75mph in the afternoon and 30mm of rain was recorded in 3 hours in parts of Sussex and Hampshire. 

    13th August 2010 – Heavy rain. Unseasonably cold in parts of Yorkshire and north-east England with heavy rainfall. 31.6mm of rainfall was recorded in Boulmer, Northumberland.

    Whilst we at MeteoGroup are not very suspicious, we look forward to seeing what weather the final Friday the 13th of 2012 will bring in July. 


    By: Sally-Jean Webb