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Daytime Darkness: The Storms Of August 1981

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I was in Australia at the time but does anyone remember the storms of early August 1981, the one's that brought daytime darkness. Its 25 years ago now!

The start of August 1981 was hot across England and Wales but the heatwave did not last long as a thundery low over France and pushed northwards. On the 6th, with the heat and instability, severe thunderstorms broke out across England and Wales. London was hit by a particularly severe storm which brought darkness to the late morning and caused flooding. In Manchester, a phenomenal 95.9mm of rain fell in a few hours on the night of 5th/6th.

Here's some of other rainfall totals.

Heathrow: 23.8mm

Bedford: 37.8mm

Birmingham: 30.8mm

Watnall: 25.8mm

Manchester: 95.9mm

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I was only (or nearly) 3 at the time, so unfortunately, I dont remember. However, it sounds like an absolute mad storm.

95.9mm of rain for Manchester :) Was it drought time up there :D

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Would that be the storm that brought golf ball sized hail and totalled the market Garden greenhouses in Farnworth (and parts of Walkden) west Manc's? If so the Hail really hurt 'cause I stuck my hand out in it to catch some (fool that I am!!!).

EDIT: plus it turned the White horse pub (Swinton/Worsley) into a wet 't' shirt gallery!!!!

Edited by Gray-Wolf

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Would that be the storm that brought golf ball sized hail and totalled the market Garden greenhouses in Farnworth (and parts of Walkden) west Manc's? If so the Hail really hurt 'cause I stuck my hand out in it to catch some (fool that I am!!!).

EDIT: plus it turned the White horse pub (Swinton/Worsley) into a wet 't' shirt gallery!!!!

No Gray, that was early June 1983.

Been pass the White Horse in Worsley pub many times.

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No Gray, that was early June 1983.

Been pass the White Horse in Worsley pub many times.

Ah, yes, I'd have been swatting for my 'A's then (or at least supposed to be!!) The White Horse was the 6th Forms watering hole (Eccles college) so I knew the inside well!!! (when Boddingtons was brewed in Strangeways and tasted 'proper'!!!) We must be getting old!!

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I was in Australia at the time but does anyone remember the storms of early August 1981, the one's that brought daytime darkness. Its 25 years ago now!

The start of August 1981 was hot across England and Wales but the heatwave did not last long as a thundery low over France and pushed northwards. On the 6th, with the heat and instability, severe thunderstorms broke out across England and Wales. London was hit by a particularly severe storm which brought darkness to the late morning and caused flooding. In Manchester, a phenomenal 95.9mm of rain fell in a few hours on the night of 5th/6th.

Here's some of other rainfall totals.

Heathrow: 23.8mm

Bedford: 37.8mm

Birmingham: 30.8mm

Watnall: 25.8mm

Manchester: 95.9mm

I remember a storm when I was in my final years at Junior School, which rumbled around the Mendip Hills

for 12 hours so I guess this was the same storm.

It just kept on raining between heavy and very heavy all morning.

Another storm I remember was the one during late-May 1989. It had been a very warm to hot day. I was swimming in Cheddar Open-Air Swimming Pool, when I noticed large cumulus clouds just-about visible through

the intense heat-haze. Things developed very rapidly during the following two hours in the evening. The storm started as a small storm then grew into a monster MCS that at one stage covered all of East Anglia, South East England, Central Southern England, the West Country, eventually extending across Devon and Cornwall.

I think it gave Bristol an inch of rain in 15 minutes.

Does anyone else recall this May storm?

Edited by Thundersquall

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Was 21 at the time and in a bout of sobriety i do remember the storm.

it was a tremendous sight after a mini heatwave and the relief of heat gave great excitement to the kids in the area who were running around in the rain

Edited by Mick

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I remember a storm when I was in my final years at Junior School, which rumbled around the Mendip Hills

for 12 hours so I guess this was the same storm.

So that makes you 35ish? Wow I never thought you were as old as that!

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So that makes you 35ish? Wow I never thought you were as old as that!
:):):D

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yep I was one of the forecasters on duty at MAP, certainly gave a little more rain that we thought, but we did get the storms position well storms as there were several correct. Various reports from aircrew when they landed about cloud tops, can't remember the heights but way above what the t-phi's suggested, almost tropical heights to one or two cells. I'm sure there is at least one article in Weather somewhere. Anyone a member of R Met Soc should be able to give the references. Mine lapsed after leaving the Met Office.

John

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Sound like HUGE storms, don't think I have ever witnessed anything like that.... But would sure love to :-)

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.

Another storm I remember was the one during late-May 1989. It had been a very warm to hot day. I was swimming in Cheddar Open-Air Swimming Pool, when I noticed large cumulus clouds just-about visible through

the intense heat-haze. Things developed very rapidly during the following two hours in the evening. The storm started as a small storm then grew into a monster MCS that at one stage covered all of East Anglia, South East England, Central Southern England, the West Country, eventually extending across Devon and Cornwall.

I think it gave Bristol an inch of rain in 15 minutes.

Does anyone else recall this May storm?

Yes, I remember seeing the satellite photo of this and it was huge. The day before a MCS went up western areas and we had about 2 hrs of heavy rain and thunder from about 9.30-11.30am in west Manchester

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yes i remember hail stones the size of golf balls completely ruined the soft top convertable roofs on cars

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This might be the same storm that I remember that never got actually here, but I always remember as our neighbour had taken us out somewhere and the lights went out in the town.

Always remember then forked lightning looking out of the car,when we got back there had been no rain and it was that dark,this was the most memorable one for the actual darkness here.

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i was only one at the time,, so dont remember, the biggest storm i remember was the storm of june 1998.

i was stuck up culver cliff and it went on for hours, with lots of flooding

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i was only one at the time,, so dont remember, the biggest storm i remember was the storm of june 1998.

i was stuck up culver cliff and it went on for hours, with lots of flooding

I remember that one Kelly. I went walkabouts in it and got drenched through to my undies! I was supposed to be playing Netball that evening and the matches were called off .... something to do with lightning not being a good mix with the metal poles on the end of each court. I'd love to see one like that again.

Can't remember much about the storms in 1981 only the golf ball sized hail we had with a minor thunderstorm. Everyones conservatories got trashed.

The other good one I remember was in the early 90's, it was a purely electrical storm that went on for 5 hours. It was amazing.

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hmmm, I can remember daytime darkness in a storm at school around about the turn of the 70s to 80s, but it couldn't have been August.... I wish my memory was better! But I distinctly remember it being like nighttime outside and being pretty scared and wanting to go home (even though my home backed onto the school field!)

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The last time I experienced close to daytime darkness was on the 3rd July 2006 in Leeds (!), the streetlights came on before 8Pm even though sunset wasn't until after 9pm.

I wasn't alive during 1981, but from what I've seen and heard, it was a generally unsettled and cool summer but with a warm dry sunny August for many areas, and some exceptional thunderstorms.

June 1998 was a thundery month in places- there were some big ones from a southerly plume on the 6th, a showery day on the 7th and a hot Spanish plume on the 20th, among others. The 27th also had some intense thundery showers. Earlier in the 1990s, 3 August 1994 sticks out in my memory, though that one didn't produce daytime darkness, rather a high frequency of lightning in a storm that, unusually for Tyneside, continued on/off for a good few hours.

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This might be the same storm that I remember that never got actually here, but I always remember as our neighbour had taken us out somewhere and the lights went out in the town.

Always remember then forked lightning looking out of the car,when we got back there had been no rain and it was that dark,this was the most memorable one for the actual darkness here.

I`ve been thinking about this today and this one above must of happened 82/83.

As for 1981/80 I can remember a lot of storms them 2 years in particular,but it`s getting the exact dates which is so much of a mix up.

I remember about 12 days of thunderstorms from 1985 earlier, I` ll rephrase that 1st half of the 80s as I don`t remember many storms before then, and they were all mainly the cumulonimbus type, they were all daytime storms too,I don`t remember any nightime storms in that period so much,funny thing memory is and it`s along while ago but you do tend to remember more things when your young.

:whistling:

S9.

Edited by Snowyowl9

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It's nice to be on a forum that makes me feel young - I seem to be made to feel ridiculously old in the 'real world' where, if you're over 21 you've had it! In 1981 I was a babe in arms, so have no recollection of this event. I'm interested in the poster who recalled massive storms in late May 1989, though - that was the first summer that I can clearly remember being really hot; however, we went to Jersey for a week's holiday in early-mid June, and, on our return, our neighbours told us that there had been some dreadful thunderstorms during that week, on the same day that we'd looked out over the Channel and seen clouds in the far distance (other than that we had clear blue skies and soaring temperatures for the whole week). Are you sure that the MCS was in late may, or could it have been early-ish June?

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On 05/08/2006 at 08:59, Weather-history said:

I was in Australia at the time but does anyone remember the storms of early August 1981, the one's that brought daytime darkness. Its 25 years ago now!

The start of August 1981 was hot across England and Wales but the heatwave did not last long as a thundery low over France and pushed northwards. On the 6th, with the heat and instability, severe thunderstorms broke out across England and Wales. London was hit by a particularly severe storm which brought darkness to the late morning and caused flooding. In Manchester, a phenomenal 95.9mm of rain fell in a few hours on the night of 5th/6th.

Here's some of other rainfall totals.

Heathrow: 23.8mm

Bedford: 37.8mm

Birmingham: 30.8mm

Watnall: 25.8mm

Manchester: 95.9mm

I wonder if there’s any footage of this storm. I was really young when this happened, but do recall the sky being dark as night. 

 

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On 24/03/2018 at 11:04, Sunny76 said:

I wonder if there’s any footage of this storm. I was really young when this happened, but do recall the sky being dark as night. 

 

On another thread about this very storm. I can confirm daytime darkness and a mid morning thunderstorm of epic proportions. It was during schools hols but I was at my school. Remember flooding and walking home bare foot. 

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On 13/08/2006 at 09:32, Snowly does it said:

hmmm, I can remember daytime darkness in a storm at school around about the turn of the 70s to 80s, but it couldn't have been August.... I wish my memory was better! But I distinctly remember it being like nighttime outside and being pretty scared and wanting to go home (even though my home backed onto the school field!)

We had a daytime darkness event, would have been either 1977 or 78..I was at high school and the sky just got darker and darker, lights on in the classroom, until it got so dark it was almost like night. It was almost like the apocalypse was starting as we all (including the teacher.,who was remarking ‘look at the colour’ in a voice of disbelief)stood looking out at this peculiar greenish tinged darkness with a sense of awe, puzzlement and more than a little fear but the strange thing was there was no rain, no thunder, nothing. Then the sky started brightening markedly from the west, then as soon as the brighter skies arrived, the heavens opened!

Really strange event. One I’ve never forgotten.

 

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5 hours ago, Carl46Wrexham said:

We had a daytime darkness event, would have been either 1977 or 78..I was at high school and the sky just got darker and darker, lights on in the classroom, until it got so dark it was almost like night. It was almost like the apocalypse was starting as we all (including the teacher.,who was remarking ‘look at the colour’ in a voice of disbelief)stood looking out at this peculiar greenish tinged darkness with a sense of awe, puzzlement and more than a little fear but the strange thing was there was no rain, no thunder, nothing. Then the sky started brightening markedly from the west, then as soon as the brighter skies arrived, the heavens opened!

Really strange event. One I’ve never forgotten.

 

I wonder why these type of storms are less frequent nowadays? Or were they always a rare event in the first place?

 

It’s got to happen again at some point, if the weather provides the same conditions. 

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