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9th August Through The Ages

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Severe Blizzard


Severe overnight thunderstorms experienced at Fleet, Hants, only hours after returning from Cornwall holiday (Par). A very muggy and humid morning on the beach and low cloud broke up to allow hot sunshine on Saturday 8th. My fear that an active plume event had hit home areas and I had missed a fantastic storm were groundless - had to wait to get home to find out - no internet or versatile mobile phones in 1992 (just 'brick' phones!). During the train journey home around 6~9 pm on the 8th there were showers when passing through Somerset and Wiltshire and I realised that tonight may the night. Arrive home at Fleet at 9 pm and the first thunder was rolling at 10 pm. There was little activity to follow until the early hours of the 9th. A short sharp thunderstorm occurred between 2:25 am and 2:55 am. There was torrential rain (14.5 mm at Fleet and 18.0 mm at Guildford) with almost continuous lightning and some moderate thunder. The lightning was very impressive and far outweighed the thunder. The main feature was the wind - there were very strong gusts during this thunderstorm and I don't remember another night storm accompanied by so much wind. Le Harve, Northern France had reported winds of 90 mph from this outbreak. Over the years, I have developed a 'rule' that if Cherbourg and the Le Havre area get thunderstorms in a particular plume situation, then it is almost certainly 'game on' for Hants and Surrey. This 'model' or rule has failed in recent years - surprise surprise! At 2:50 am there was a very bright flash and a lovely loud crash of thunder. There was much less activity to follow and the rain soon died out. After a disappointing start in 1992 with local areas missing every event (much like this year) we came up trumps twice with the thunderstorms of Monday 20th July and Sunday 9th August.

On holiday in Cornwall and staying at Par. Visiting Falmouth on this Tuesday, the altostratus thickened as a low approached from the S.S.W. This incorporated a warm plume and there was an inevitable thundery element. Rain started at Falmouth around 2 pm and was moderate. There was sporadic thunder, some of which was quite close and enough to make the floors vibrate in some of the shops near the harbour. On going back to St Austell and Par at 6 pm, the train journey passed through some very heavy rain. I had a rain gauge set up where I was staying at Tywardreath, nr. Par and I was looking forward to recording possibly the highest total I had seen so far. On arriving at Par, there was a new burst of very heavy rain which flooded the car park of the Polmear restaurant at Par and even the roof leaked in this bungalow building. A wet walk back to Twywardreath was rewarded with a missing raingauge! The people I was staying with had mown the lawn after I left that morning and forgotten to reposition the gauge - typical. However, I found it 'hidden' in a sheltered spot the next morning and recorded 23.5 mm - very much an underestimate seeing as it rained heavily all night.
Interestingly, Falmouth was officially the wettest location on both 9th (16 mm) and 10th (46 mm). I was definitely in the right area and could have recorded a total of 60 mm or so.

A channel depression much like the one on this date 5 years previous brought heavy thundery rain to southern England. Cornwall, where I was staying, received little rain. There were large totals during the evening and early into the 10th. 45 mm was recorded in Guildford between the 7th and 11th.

Thunder 1132 GMT then Tl to 1220 GMT. Mod. rain 1140~1215 GMT. Further mod./heavy rain 1510~1800 GMT. (from COL /WON entry). This storm brought severer conditions to many parts of the S.E. including 3 funnel clouds seen in one go at Maidenhead and heavy hail covering the ground at Coggeshall further east. 12.5 mm fell at Guildford and 25.0 mm at Fleet.

Very hot and sunny. Go on holiday in the early hours of this Saturday morning. Still 20 deg.C at 4 am under clear skies. 34.0 deg.C reached at Fleet and 33.8 deg.C at Guildford.

No event today, but visited Boscastle on this Monday afternoon and remarked to my mother about flooding when I stood on the bridge over the main river. Speculate that the river would never flood! A week later at that time of day I would be proved incorrect - big time!
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