How does the summer of 2018 compare to 1976?

Overall the summer of 2018 has not been as hot as 1976 – in places temperature hit 30C+ on 15 consecutive days in 1976.

Both heatwaves started in June. Both look set to continue until late August. There were occasional thunderstorms in 1976, as this year, but their rain did not help ease the dry conditions .

A key difference is that the heatwave of 1976 followed 12 months of very low rainfall – last winter’s rainfall was about average and most water companies headed into the summer with stocks reasonably high.

How will the heatwave break? In 1976 the long, hot summer ended with thunderstorms over the August Bank Holiday weekend – which heralded a dramatic change in the weather.

September and October 1976 were two of the wettest months on record and reservoirs rapidly filled up. Drought restrictions introduced in August were eased a few months later.

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