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RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE IN ENGLAND AND WALES.

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RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE IN ENGLAND AND WALES.

Amid the highest temperatures since 1879 in the UK, the M1 motorway melts, trains are cancelled for fear of buckled rails, and a surge of patients are admitted to hospital with heart attacks, strokes, and smog- induced asthma. One London hospital reports admissions up 20 percent in early August. ("The year the taps ran dry," New Scientist, 18 August 1990).

The maximum temperature recorded in England and Wales is 37.1�C in Cheltenham - the highest temperature ever to be recorded there. Manchester's 33.8 oC is its highest since 1871; and Heathrow's 36.5 oC is its highest since records began in 1948. Previous heatwaves of this magnitude in the UK were in 1906 and 1911. Some places went without measurable rain for 39 days in England. (R. Brugge, "Record_breaking heatwave of 1_4 August 1990 over England and Wales," Weather, v. 46, p. 2_10, 1991; and R.A.S. Ratcliffe, "Review of summer 1990 in the northern hemisphere," Weather, v. 45, p. 414_415, 1990).

A blocking anticyclone, sitting over western Europe for weeks and interrupting the normally changeable westerly flow of weather, is responsible. ("Why the heat went on and on," The Times, 7 August 1990).

THE INCIDENCES OF TEMPERATURES OVER 35 DEGREES CENTIGRADE IN EACH COUNTY IN BRITAIN FROM 1879 TO 1991

(J.D.C. Webb and G.T. Meaden, Weather v. 48, p. 282-291, 1993)

NOTES: Only four or five similar droughts have occurred in the UK in the past 250 years. (T.J. Marsh and R.A. Monkhouse, "Drought in the UK, 1988_92," Weather v. 48, p. 15_22, 1993). 1989 had set the drought up by breaking a number of weather records in Britain. The average temperature in central England of 18.3 oC in 1989 had only been passed once before, and that was in 1659 (with 1983 and 1976 being quite close). July 1989 was the sunniest July since 1911, and north of Glasgow, it was the sunniest month of any other months this century. November was also the sunniest November on record over most of eastern England. (P. Eden, "1989: a plethora of records," Weather, v. 45, p. 57_58, 1990).

--- TABLE ---

BRITAIN'S HIGHEST TEMPERATURES BY COUNTRY AND BY MONTH:

Place degrees C Date

Bourne, Lincolnshire 35.8 3 August 1990
Rauceby, Lincolnshire 35.6 9 August 1911
Fulbeck, Lincolnshire 35.4 9 August 1911
Lincoln, Lincolnshire 35.4 9 August 1911
Norwich, Norfolk 35.6 19 August 1932
East Dereham, Norfolk 35.4 26 June 1976
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire 36.5 3 August 1990
Cavendish, Suffolk 35.2 3 August 1991
Bungay, Suffolk 35.0 19 August 1932
Berkamsted, Hertfordshire 35.5 9 August 1911
Aldenham, Hertfordshire 35.5 3 August 1990
Halsted, Essex 36.1 19 August 1932
Clarborough, Nottinghamshire 36.1 3 August 1990
Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire 35.0 9 August 1911
Caldecott, Leicestershire 35.0 3 August 1990
Wellesbourne, Warwickshire 36.1 3 August 1990
Raunds, Northamptonshire 36.7 3 August 1990
Ross-on-Wye, Hereford 35.0 3 August 1990
Worcester, Worcestershire 37.0 3 August 1990
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 37.1 3 August 1990
Benson, Oxfordshire 35.6 3 August 1990
Shirburn, Oxfordshire 35.6 3 August 1990
Beddington, London 36.6 9 August 1911
Heathrow Airport 36.5 3 August 1990
Wokingham, Berkshire 35.9 9 August 1911
Woking, Surrey 36.1 9 August 1911
Tunbridge Wells, Kent 35.2 9 August 1911
Eynesford, Kent 35.1 3 August 1990
South Farnborough, Hampshire 36.2 3 August 1990
North Heath, West Sussex 35.4 26 June 1976
Hawarden Bridge, Clywd 35.2 2 August 1990
Marlborough, Wiltshire 35.6 9 August 1911
Trowbridge, Wiltshire 35.6 2 July 1976
Bristol, Avon 35.0 2 July 1923
Saunton Sands, Devon 35.4 3 August 1990
St Hellier, Jersey 35.6 19 August 1932
St Hellier, Jersey 35.4 3 August 1990

(J.D.C. Webb and G.T. Meaden, Weather v. 48, p. 282-291, 1993).

GREENPEACE Climate Impacts Database


Keywords:\cyclones\Europe_W\drought\temperatures\