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After a truly dreadful 2015 for missing out on thunder events in Guildford, where thunder was heard on only 6 days in the entire year and only 2 of those days can be considered as 'moderate' I think something better is due in 2016. Furthermore, the active window of thunder activity last year was a pathetic 3 months 1 week (19th May to 26th August), probably the shortest season ever. There were thunder events 'there and everywhere but here' virtually every week within this period without counting the let-downs during the 2014/15 winter and after late August.
However, I cannot see any improvement in the general pattern and suspect this year will be as big a let-down as last year. Might be fun to document how bad it really gets this year right from the beginning. Might as well start today as the first really annoying 'bust' is unfolding right at present.
After missing the hailstorms and thunder by the usual 10 mile distance last Sunday (Easter Sunday) I vowed to give it until September when my holidays are over. If I have not witnessed a decent thunder event by mid-September, then it is time to renew the passport and book a trip to the USA to go storm chasing in 2017 and not book my annual Cornwall trip for a change.
I cannot believe how unlucky the Guildford area has been in the last 19 months with missing out on so much where there still seems to have been a considerable amount of thunderstorm activity always around 10 miles away or just further, in any direction, typically the limit of thunder audibility. Also typical is the sods law factor - Guildford getting a storm on the few days of the year when I am away from the area. Case in point is the forecast for next Saturday (9th April) - guaranteed to verify - and the area where I am visiting (Herefordshire) will be cold with slight showers and no thunder risk.
The Busts and Let-Downs of 2016 to date.
(1) Sunday 7th February: Active cold front arrives just before midnight. Torrential rain and some hail. Thunder reported from Warlingham (2 discharges) as well as heavy hail. Flashes seen locally but despite having windows open and looking out for lightning activity, none was seen.
(2) Wednesday 2nd March: Thunder at Warlingham associated with hail showers.
(3) Sunday 27th March: Heavy showers through morning. Soaked and frozen on Easter Sunday bike ride to Leith Hill, Ockley and Cranleigh. Hail reported at Guildford at home, heavy hail at Woking and thundery activity northwards including Reading, Bracknell and Maidenhead . Thunder at Warlingham - again.
(4) Sunday 3rd April: Usual 2015-type let-down. Thundery activity forecast for S.E. (typical that S.E. get the storms while Guildford always misses out, yet when drizzle and dross is in the forecast for the S.E., Guildford is always in the firing line).
Guildford just too far west to benefit today with all the storms moving N.N.W. at just too far a distance to see lightning or hear thunder and miss the more interesting rainfall event. Thunder reported at Warlingham yet again.
2016 so far: Warlingham 4 - Guildford Nil.
How many more times are we going to have to endure this glorified Kent / Sussex / London clipper which was the theme of the entire summer last year?