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An Amazing Cloudburst 2003

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The North Yorkshire-Teesside storm occurred on the 10th August 2003.

While the south-east was basking (if that’s the right word) in record breaking temps a very different scenario was unfolding in northern Britain. Thunderstorms broke out in the early morning over parts of western Britain, principally over the southern Pennines. These moved north-east to affect much of northern Britain during the next few hours.

One such passed over Carlton-in-Cleveland, North Yorkshire. By 0900 massive cumulonimbus were building in the south west. The clouds approached rapidly and at 0935 a wall of rain arrived, with hail up to 20mm in diameter, propelled by a gusty, near gale-force, south-westerly.

All this continued for 13 minutes, then the breeze died down, the hail ceased, and the rain became slight. In this short time, the temperature had dropped over 9ºC, from the day's maximum of 24.9ºC to the 24-hour minimum of 15.7ºC.

Incredibly between 0938 and 0947 45.9 mm of rain fell. These rates recorded over 5-10 minutes are the highest reliably recorded instrumentally in the British Isles.

Satellite image at 1047. Courtesy NERC Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, Scotland.

http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/

Edited by weather ship

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Ha good memories of that heatwave and how the BBC tv forecasts, even as those storms were raging, was showing the whole country dry with the Cold Front beginning to edge in from the West. That was a Sunday morning after what was the hottest Saturday I have ever been to football on (34c).

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I had come back to Cleadon in Tyne and Wear the previous day (a holiday in France had been cut short because the unrelenting 35-40 degree heat got too much). The thunderstorms on the 10th August 2003 hit the Tyne and Wear area as well, though the rain was not as intense. I remember that a wall of altocumulus advanced unexpectedly from the south-west when forecasts were going for another sunny day. It was a big thunderstorm by Tyne and Wear standards, with lightning approx. every 20 seconds at one stage and some loud bangs as one cell passed overhead.

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