August was a record breaker

EADT weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a record-breaking month of drought, sunshine and scorching temperaturesRECORDS TUMBLE AS HEAT REACHES 95FIN SUFFOLK and Essex August was an outstanding month.

EADT weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a record-breaking month of drought, sunshine and scorching temperatures


IN SUFFOLK and Essex August was an outstanding month.

In some places it had the lowest rainfall for 63 years and in Ipswich the all-time temperature records were broken.

Britain was under the influence of a large blocking anticyclone for most of the month and at Clacton there was some sunshine on every day.

For a combination of prolonged spells of sunshine, lack of rain and constant warmth this was the best overall summer since the great drought of 1976.

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At some coastal resorts in the region the three months from June 1 to August 31 saw a total of well over 900 hours of bright sunshine – 300 hours above the average.

Twelve hours of unbroken sunshine in one day was a commonplace occurrence and for the holidaymaker it was without equal.

August rainfall was exceptionally low. At Wattisham Airfield it was the driest August on record with a total rainfall of only 2.6 mm or 0.10 of an inch.

At Clacton the rainfall totalled 0.23 in, Ipswich 0.26 in, Colchester 0.29 in and Lowestoft 0.36 in.

At Broom's Barn, Higham (Suffolk) the total rainfall was 0.23 in – the lowest on record for August..

Dry Augusts are rare in East Anglia. One of the record-breaking months was in 1940 when parts of the region measured only 0.08 of an inch or two millimetres.

A study of the records over a period of 163 years show that many dry Augusts have been followed by notably wet Septembers.

The other major feature of the month was the level of high temperatures.

There was a 26-day spell with temperatures of 70F(21C) or above and most localities reported values of 80F(27C) or above on each day from August 5 to August 13.

The scorching weather peaked on August 10 when many long-term records were broken.

At the EADT weather station in Ipswich the maximum temperature of 95.2F(35.1C) was reached at 3 pm. This was the highest ever recorded in the town and it surpassed the previous record of 94.1F(34.5C) at 1 pm on June 3, 1947.

Broom's Barn measured even higher temperatures and the peak was 98F(36.7C) on August 10 while at the United States Air Force weather station at Lakenheath the maximum was 96.8F(36.0C).

At most locations there was rain on only two days and isolated thunderstorms occurred in the early hours of August 11.

Cooler weather finally reached the region on the last four days of the month when day temperatures fell to 66F(19C).

Sunshine totals in August were 307.8 hours at Clacton, 247.6 hours at Colchester and 214.1 hours at Wattisham Airfield where sunshine is recorded automatically by the intensity of solar radiation.


Maximum day temperature 70F

Highest day temperature 95F on August 10 2003

Coldest day 52F on August 27, 1987

Night minimum temperature 52F

Coldest night 40F on August 20, 1964

Sunshine 183 hours

Max possible daily sunshine 14.6 hours

Month's rainfall 2.23 inches

Days with measurable rain 13

Duration of rain 28 hours

Barometric pressure 1015 millibars

Sun midday altitude(August 15) 51 degrees

Max wind speed 53 mph on August 14, 1979

Days with thunder 3