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Summer 2009 So Far

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Thundery wintry showers


The move from Exeter to UEA has proved surprisingly non-problematic. I thought I would really miss the Met Office considering how much I loved it there, but UEA is also pretty good, so I feel like I've settled back in at UEA. It's good to know of different places that are all very good to live near and work at (Leeds University is another example).

As for the weather, my views on how July 2009 went are decidedly mixed. I certainly go along with the general consensus that it went downhill as the month progressed. But the month's weather overall? I have to say I quite enjoyed it, because of the high frequency of sunshine-and-showers days, the frequent torrential downpours from cumulonimbus cells and the fairly frequent thunder- even through to the end of the month (the 30th in particular had some pretty impressive thunderstorms in Norwich). True, we could have done with some more warmth and sunshine and perhaps not quite as much rain and wind, but if I had to list the most depressing summer months for weather that I've lived through, July 2009 wouldn't be near the top of the list. It would certainly come nowhere near the months Tyne & Wear experienced in June 2007, June 1997 and July 2000.

I can understand people wishing for a settled spell after all of this wet stuff, but I often wonder exactly what people mean when they talk about "settled", especially as different people might be using slightly different definitions of the term. You can get settled in the synoptic sense- i.e. non-changeable weather patterns, mostly high pressure, minimal Atlantic influence, and you can get settled in the weather sense- i.e. the weather stays the same over a long period of time (which could be sunny & dry or dull & damp for example). I guess from the way people post that most people mean the former, though some seem to interpret it more as meaning "no rain".

I must admit, while I would welcome a good week-long high pressure spell of the nature of late May/early June as much as anyone else, I groan inwardly when I see the pattern of Azores ridge, cloudy westerlies on its northern flank and all precipitation being exclusively frontal. August 1998 in Tyne & Wear, a classic case of a month dominated by such a pattern, redefined the term "boring".
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