Sunday, 2 September 2018

The long dry summer

After the unusually snowy spell in early March, the Spring weather was not too bad and by May things were drier than usual with some good warm sunny days - but the east wind was often an issue, bringing sea fog which often persisted all day.
When that happened we stayed chilly and damp, while further inland it was warm.
This tendency persisted into June but as the month went on there were plenty of very warm if not hot days.

Highest June temperature was 25.2C on the 16th, and there was just 14.5mm of rain (-62mm).
Conditions were very favourable for making silage and hay of excellent quality but the crops were mostly lighter than normal.
However any reseeds and fodder crops struggled to get established and in drier spots more or less failed completely

By the end of the month it was so dry that grass growth almost ceased and the fields widely took on a yellow appearance not seen since 1995 if not 1976.
By Mid-July the drought began to bite with little grazing remaining, and some water supplies began to struggle.

 Luckily there was a series of thundery showers on the 16th giving about 34mm, there were more spectacular storms on the 27th an 29th - surprisingly the month total reached 98mm (+18mm)!

Highest temperature in July and probably the year record high was 27.9C on the 26th. While being rather hot that was not particularly impressive as many days further inland and further south reached around 30C.
We can occasionally get similar high temperatures but being close to the sea it is more unusual. For example in 2015 1st of July reached 30C which is the highest recorded here since at least 2009 when the weather station was set up.

 August continued mainly warm with plenty of pleasant sunny days but after the stormy spell the real heat was broken, and it turned out only slightly above normal mean temperature average 14.8C (+0.4C) and highest maximum was 24.3C on the 7th. The dryness persists with 38mm compared to average 86mm.
Surprisingly August is one of the wetter months since when it does rain it will often be heavier than the winter months due to more energy in the system.

It's noteworthy that the usual fine show of heather has been badly affected, presumably small buds were shed at a crucial period in July.
There are some flowers on the plants but nothing like the normal impressive carpet stretching to the horizon.

In early July the drought revealed some prehistoric features such as Iron Age field boundaries around the village, and possibly a previously unknown round house enclosure.
These very rapidly disappeared when the showers arrived.

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