22 consecutive days - July 2013 heatwave

Summer cheer

18 November 2013

After the warmest, driest and sunniest summer since 2006, many of us had the feel good factor.

It's possibly a distant memory now, but this summer, the UK enjoyed the best weather we've seen for a number of years. Now, just as there's a danger of getting the winter blues we can, at least, sit back and enjoy the view of summer in hindsight.

For those who were lucky enough to get out and about, gardens, parks and beaches were packed from Blackpool to Brighton. Not only that; the good weather was accompanied by good news. Andy Murray won Wimbledon - the first male Briton to win the Championship since 1936. The Ashes were also retained in style with rain coming to stop play just a few times.

Farmers were happy too, with warm, dry conditions for the harvest. Animals were able to stay outside for longer and there were bumper harvests of soft fruits. One slight annoyance was in the last few weeks of August we were plagued by wasps as the soft fruit gave them plenty to eat. Meanwhile, a small boost to the economy in July was attributed to increased retail sales, perhaps a reflection of the nation's good mood or people getting ready for barbecues.

The summer was not a record breaker - regardless of a prolonged heatwave experienced across the UK from the 3rd to 22nd July. Despite the feel good factor, July's heatwave was more notable for its duration than its intensity, although it was not particularly unusual in a historical context. The last year in which 30 °C was not recorded anywhere was in 1993.

July was one of the top three sunniest and warmest on record. With a mean temperature of 17 °C, July 2013 was the third warmest in the national record going back to 1910, behind 2006 (17.8 °C) and 1983 (17.3 °C).

This summer stands out in contrast to the run of unsettled summers from 2007 to 2012, and was the most significant UK heatwave since July 2006. During the hot weather, we worked with Public Health England providing them with heat-health warnings. We also put lots of summer safety tips on our 'Get ready for the Great British summer' website, including advice on skin care, summer swimming and wild fires.

The summer wasn't wall to wall sunshine however; there were also some very wet days in parts of the UK. Torrential rain on 23 July caused flash flooding in Nottinghamshire and in other parts of Northern England and Scotland. Heavy rain also caused some flooding in Essex on 24 August.

Although there was some rain, in the main it was fine and sunny. The hot weather wasn't confined to July as there were also spells of warm and settled weather in June and August. The highest temperature of the year was 34.1 °C recorded on 1 August at Heathrow, the highest UK temperature since July 2006.

The golden haze of summer is now long gone. So, for now it's head down until Christmas when there's always plenty of winter cheer to go around. Anyway, there's always next year.

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