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2003: Britain swelters in record heat


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Posted
  • Location: SE London
  • Location: SE London

    From the BBC

    Britain has recorded its hottest day ever as the temperature soared to 38.1C (100.6F) in Gravesend, Kent

    But the met office later revised the news by admitting that ...

    the highest-ever temperature was recorded not in Gravesend, but in nearby Brogdale, near Faversham, also in Kent, where the temperature reached 38.5C (101.3F).

    i remember the day well and it really was a scorcher here in th SE

    ;)

    full story here > http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/s...000/3910801.stm

    courtesy BBC

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    There is a lot of controversy over whether the 38.5C is from a representative site. The Met Office think so, hence the official acceptance of the reading, but Philip Eden strongly queries it. Whatever your opinion, though, a new record temperature was definitely set on 10 August 2003.

    The August 2003 heatwave was even more memorable in France- though not necessarily for the right reasons! Temperatures reached a relatively comfortable 25-30C on the 1st, but were soon up into the low 30s on the 2nd, and the high 30s on the 3rd. From then until the 12th (13th in southern areas) the temperature regularly climbed to 40C by day, and fell no lower than 25C by night. The sustained nature and duration of the heatwave, as well as the intensity, caused 14,802 deaths according to Wikipedia.

    I was in France during 1-8 August 2003 so can identify with those 40C days...

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    Posted
  • Location: South Pole
  • Location: South Pole

    There is also controversy about the Gravesend-Broadness reading of 38.1°C. I remember reading it relates to the fact that the Stevenson screen is black instead of white or something silly.

    What is not in doubt is that the 38.1°C at Kew Gardens is the most reliable recording we have.

    What is worrying is the fact that is already 5 years since that day. The sands of time...

    Edited by Nick H
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    Posted
  • Location: SE London
  • Location: SE London

    yeah they sure run fast don't they. also i think i posted about record temps in another thread and recall the quote from the experts about the UK seeing temps in the forties in the coming future..... *looks outside window...yeah right!! ;);)

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    Was a very shortlived hot spell here and this was the hottest day with 28c on the 9th next night was also very warm indeed at 18c followed by a thundery shower at 8.15 until 9.50am on the 10th which was certainly very unusual probably the only time I`ve ever seen thunder at that time of day. ;)

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/20...00120030810.gif

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    Yes, on the 10th August 2003, Cleadon in Tyne & Wear was having a pretty impressive thunderstorm, in what was a rather thundery summer overall by North East standards. Ironically I was due to return home from France that day, so would have missed it, but the holiday got cut short by a day because we couldn't cope with the heat, so I saw the thunderstorm.

    The Tyne & Wear coast missed the high temperatures with the highest maximum being 25C on the 9th. The other locations I've lived at all experienced some extortionate heat though, e.g. Lancaster 30C, Leeds 32C and Norwich 34C.

    Relating to a recent discussion on Summer 1990, it's notable that unlike 1990, which tends to be over-rated because of memories of that phenomenal heatwave in early August, Summer 2003 tends to be remembered fairly accurately- a notably good summer in some areas (e.g. Aberdeen, Tyne & Wear, Wirral) but not very spectacular sunshine-wise over the UK as a whole. I'm not sure why this is.

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    Posted
  • Location: Paignton, Devon
  • Location: Paignton, Devon

    I remember this heatwave all to well, this summer was the first full summer i'd experienced in Devon.

    We recorded 5 consecutive days of 30c+ here with 32c recorded a couple of times, which looking at now is remarkable as we rarely reach the magic 30c here, only once in 2004 and twice in 2006 since.

    On the hottest day it reached 33c not sure of the date lol, the week rolled into one but the local paper had recorded 32c on the beach and claimed it was the highest they'd recorded in the bay, but its still the highest temperature i've recorded here in the Uk.

    Was down the beach from mid-morning till late afternoon as it the heat was too oppressive to do anything.

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    Posted
  • Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

    I was in the Algarve and it was cooler there!

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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    August 2003 was a very, very overrated month outside the SE as far as I'm concerned- only one day (9th) topped 30C here and there were only 3 or 4 clear sunny days- the first Monday was sunny, then some weird high but very grey cloud moved in in the evening and stayed throughout Tuesday (even giving a bit of drizzle) with temps constantly at 18-22C- I can only describe it as appearing like stratus but at cirrostratus altitude (METARS read CAVOK as it was above 5000', yet it totally covered much of the Midlands, Wales and SW, thanks to those METARS so many weather sites wrongly claim that day was "clear" in these areas). The Thursday and Friday were sunnier but a nagging breeze blew and held temps here back in the low to mid-20s when the forecasts were going for 30-35. After that one hot day the 10th here was cloudy, quite close but only reached about 26C; with no thunder either just that tedious lowering cloud you get as a front approaches but doesn't quite reach you. The rest of the month was magnificently non-descript with lots of Cu/St/Sc cloud bubbling up nearly every day with only the odd glimpse of the sun, with an occasional shower but no thunder.

    August and March 2003 had almost identical sunshine totals in this area.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    I`ve seen a cloud somewhat like you described but recently may of been around that time and it was one morning, this was like altostratus/stratus inbetween those 2 levels, and it was quite thin but unusual but it was nice to look at like crystal type cloud ;) ,seen it more than once though usually in the morning.

    August 10th also gave a thundery shower at 10.45 - midnight also and the following morning by the looks of it oh yes I remember that now from 7.35am to 8am then 8.50 to 9.25am. thundery showers passing by. ;)

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    Posted
  • Location: Between Sidmouth and Exeter
  • Location: Between Sidmouth and Exeter

    I can remember we were visiting some nearby family in Sidmouth on this day and can remember watching the news sometime in the afternoon as it was too hot to do much outside and the headline was basically that a new record temperature had been reached and also how global warming could relate to this as it was quite a big difference from the old record etc.

    Then I remember returning home sometime around 5pm and the thermometer that I used then was reading about 33C. I guess it had been slightly higher than that a bit earlier as well. I wish I had actually kept records back then so I could look back and see what the temperature really did.

    This seems hard to imagine with the last two summers. :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City
  • Location: 4 miles north of Durham City

    I remember being in the lake district during that heatwave...really was the hottest I've ever felt being there in all the successive years we have gone there on holiday.

    The start of August 2003 was something special in my experience.

    Edited by PersianPaladin
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    Posted
  • Location: South Pole
  • Location: South Pole
    If you mean the highest temperature ever then 28c at Sumburgh Haed on 6th August 1910.

    regards

    ACB

    I'm pretty sure that figure (27.8°C to be exact) is not accepted by the Met Office. According to a local weather historian, Dave Wheeler, it was recorded from the north-facing wall of the courthouse of a lighthouse exposed to the sun. http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2008/08/01/...peratures-soar/

    From that article....

    The highest official reading for Shetland is 25.4°C in Baltasound in July 1958. The highest official reading for Lerwick was 23.3°C in August 1982.

    I would add my usual disclaimer about the veracity of records 100 years ago... :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

    what i found strange about the heatwave of august 2003..i went with my wife and kids to the beach because it was so hot mid afternoon..when we got there we dipped our toes in the water..what was weird was that there was no sea breeze at all.. the sea was totally calm with not a breath of wind..and it was just as hot as inland..this was at about 3pm when sea breezes are normally at their peak.

    Edited by cheeky_monkey
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    Posted
  • Location: South Pole
  • Location: South Pole
    August 2003 was a very, very overrated month outside the SE as far as I'm concerned

    SE was certainly hot but in the CET series it is still the 5th hottest August on record and it's also the 4th driest over England and Wales.

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    Posted
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Location: Back in Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

    august 2003 was the driest month i recorded in exeter between 1995-2007...with just 2 days of recordable rain out of 31...also my garden averaged a mean daily max of 25.85c..only beaten by july 06 with 26.19c..so a very dry and hot month in devon at least..so not confined just to the se.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Remember the first part of Aug 2003 very well plenty of very warm/humid days even though we only saw 24-26 degrees. However, pales into insignificance when comparing to August 1995 and even mid July 2006 mainly because conditions were hazy/cloudy at times rather than blue sky all day.

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    Posted
  • Location: Tornado Alley, west London
  • Location: Tornado Alley, west London

    I went to Canterbury for the day - not a good idea - even in the crypt of the cathedral, it was like a sauna. The train trip back to London took 4 hours rather than the 90 minutes advertised because of the speed restrictions. I seem to remember getting through about 4 litres of water just to stop feeling thirsty.

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    • 2 years later...
    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    There is a lot of controversy over whether the 38.5C is from a representative site. The Met Office think so, hence the official acceptance of the reading, but Philip Eden strongly queries it. Whatever your opinion, though, a new record temperature was definitely set on 10 August 2003

    As far as I'm aware the Met. Office maintains that the highest all-UK temp is that set at Faversham (Brogdale Research Station) with avalue of 38.5C. Burt and Eden suggest the award should go to Kew , Royal Botanic Gardens, with 38.1C.

    Both Burt and Eden stated that the 'screen and enclosure needed minor attention' at Faversham and others have pointed out that siting of the enclosure did not fit the Met Offices' own requirements. For example the site is (was) closely bordered to the south by a dense conifer hedge about 5m tall. Thus it is very likely that both Gravesend and Faversham did not conform to the standards that have been laid down. Whether this dispute has been settled one way or tother since 2005 I know not.

    Edited by weather ship
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