UK’s Longest Heatwave Since 1997 Peaks With 33.5C At Heathrow Today

Written by on July 22, 2013 in United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

Today has seen the peak in temperatures with a reading of at least 33.5C at Heathrow Airport this afternoon. Not only is that the UK’s warmest of the year but it’s the warmest value since the record-breaking 36.5C reading was reached back in July 2006

This peak heat comes as the breakdown begins, along you wouldn’t have thought it across many parts today where temperatures soared into the 26-30C range. The thunderstorms of last night, today and tonight herald the end to what has been reported as the LONGEST hot spell in the UK since August 1997. Although July 2006 was more intense and likely stands firm as the UK’s hottest July on record, it appears this spell has outdone 2006 in duration.

The high which has been responsible for all our terrific weather over the past 3 weeks has shifted enough ESE to allow low pressure to our west to get close enough and swing fronts in. However there’s no better way to end a heatwave than to produce the hottest day of all just as thunderstorms were breaking out. It was the perfect setup for the finale. Low pressure to the west and high pressure to the east produced a distinctly ‘tropical’ feel across the South today with the highest levels of humidity yet, combined with the hottest air as a southerly wind was triggered by the conflicting low and high pressure systems which transported hotter, more humid air north from Spain and France. The cooling at 500mb or some 18,000ft up encourages the air to rise more than it otherwise would and so hefty thunderstorms have and will continue to develop in the South and spread north through the Midlands into Northern England and Scotland over the next 24 hours.

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The rest of this week will see more fronts which will help spark heavy, thundery downpours but it stays warm and humid through the remainder of this week. It’s cooler than what it has been for sure but by no means are we COOL! We look to continue with our Mediterranean feel..

Warmest Night In Years & Challenge At Record?

Admittedly I didn’t catch onto this till this afternoon but with the level of moisture hanging in the air following the hottest July day in the UK in 7 years, we could well see an unusually warm night, particularly focused over London. Many towns and cities will stay at 16 to 18C tonight which should be their warmest overnight low yet, however check out London after a day which topped 30-32C widely.

Here’s a graphic depicting how warm the BBC thinks the UK will be tonight.

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

What’s interesting about that forecasted 23C low is that the all-time UK record for warmest night ever is 23.9C record on August 3, 1990. It could potentially get within a degree of that and it’s been quiet sometime since we saw a low this warm. It’s all about the level of moisture in the air combined with the level of heat today. That heat will struggle to dissipate well into tonight as the moisture retains the heat.

Here’s a tweet from the BBC earlier.. UK all-time record warm nights… WALES: Swansea 22.2°C 19 July 1948 SCOT: Creebridge 20.5°C 2 August 1995, NI: Armagh 20.6°C 31 July 1868.

Towns In Scotland See Hottest July Day On Record

According to STV’s Sean Batty, the 29.6C recorded yesterday at Aviemore (Highland) become the warmest July temp there on record beating 29.5C set in July 2006. The 29C recorded at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) became the hottest July temp on record Thursday, beating 28.9C set back in 1995 and the 27.1C reading at Millport (N Ayrshire) sets a new July record, beating 26.4C set back in 1976.

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