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Weather-history

Summer 1954

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The Manchester summer index says this is the worst summer for the city since at least 1900 with an index of 143.

The summer of 1954 was a very poor summer with frequent rains, very cool and little sunshine. Its the dullest summer in the Areal series with a paltry 395.9hrs and the dullest August in that series. It had a CET of 14.1 and a rainfall total of 306.7mm for England and Wales.

June

CET: 13.4

Sun: 140.9hrs

Rain: 94.2mm

July

CET: 14.2

Sun: 131.0hrs

Rain: 88.8mm

August

CET: 14.6

Sun: 124.0hrs

Rain: 123.7mm

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They were very few warm days during this summer, the warmest day of the year actually occurred at the start of the meteorological autumn (1st September)

The period 27th June-5th July was very cool, maxima hardly got above 17C anywhere for most of that period.

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A meeting was held on the 20th of October 1954 at the Met Office in Harrow to discuss just how bad the summer of 1954 was. Gordon Manley and H H Lamb attended the meeting.

Here is a summary of the meeting.

England and Wales

Rainfall: 3.1 inches above the 1881-1915 average

Temp: 2.5F below the 1921-50 average

Mean daily sunshine: 1.7hrs below the 1921-50 average.

53 rain days

40 wet days

At the time, it was a continuing trend of cooler wetter summers.

In most European countries, July was the coolest month and August, the wettest. Russia was warmer than normal in all 3 summer months.

Pressure gradient was stronger than normal with Greenland/Scandinavia regio up 15mb below and Azores, 6mb above. June was a westerly month for the British Isles, July was a NWly, while August was below average pressure for the whole of Europe and the north Atlantic.

Two synoptic types predominant during the summer

A ridge in the 1000-500mb thickness pattern over the Atlantic and a trough over or near the british Isles, with depressions approaching the British Isles from the NW. This type was particularly persistent near the end of June and the beginning of July.

A very large trough in the 1000-500mb thickness pattern over the atlantic with Great Britain on its forward edge and with depressions approaching the British Isles from the SW. This type occurred about the beginning of the June but more especially at the end of July and during the first half of August.

West Africa was 2-4F below normal and 50% wetter. Depressions were on average over north Africa about 2mb deeper than normal.

In south Africa, the winter was cooler, wetter than normal.

In the US, it was warmer and drier than normal.

The Indian monsoon was heavier than normal.

From Gordon Manley

"Among comparable summers in the past, I was rather suprised not to hear more of 1922 which was persistently cool, dull and breezy -- in German parlance one of "vigorous European monsoon". To many southerners the noticeable feature of 1954 was the unusually cool breeziness, normally appropriate to our northern uplands. So far as my reduction of older records was valid I have taken out the rough data, which showed that 24 summers in the last 256 could be called consistently cool, the criterion being all 3 months 2F or more below overall average; that is about 1 in 10. 1954 ranked about 14th, and was thus not exceptionally unusual; what was unusual was the lapse of 32 years since the last cool summer. Both 1922 and 1902 were cooler, but with regard to the majority of such cool summers if the overall mean is compared with the 30 surrounding years the deficit rarely exceeds that of 1954, namely 2.6F. Only 3 significantly greater deficits occurred (1860, 1816 and 1725) of which the last two were associated with noteworthy ash eruptions. It would therefore appear that 1954 represents about as large a strain of the earth's circulation as we should fairly expect, in the absence of some additional factor such as violent eruptions."

DMir_1954_07_07_001_0001.jpg

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My recollection of 1954 is sitting in a shack in a field my step father had bought stripping soaking wet peas from the vines he had uprooted and brought to us, whereas the normal way would have been to have picked them straight from the field over a period of time giving the less mature pods time to develop.

What are the comparisons between 1954 and 2012 apart from them being both bloody awful summers? So far this summer appears to be wetter but is it anty cooler? And the other thing I wonder is whether during these cool summer months precipitation in the form of sleet or snow falls on the tops of the Scottish Highlands.

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And look at the price of a newspaper, back then!

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1954 Cool and Dull Summer

In the year that Germany and Finland officially ended their state of war, rationing finally ended in Britain after 14 years. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' was first published and Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes. In the music world, Bill Haley and his Comets recorded 'Rock Around the Clock.'

Weather Notes:-

2nd to 7th February - A spell of very cold weather across much of England and Wales resulted in severe frost, down to minus 20°C. at Welshpool (Powys), and drifts of snow up to 2m deep in north Kent.

8th December - Tornado ripped the roof off Gunnersbury Station (West London) and damaged houses and factories nearby. Six people were injured.

17th and 18th December - On the shores of Loch Quoich, north of Fort William (Highland) over 256 millimetres of rain fell in less than 24 hours spread across these 2 days.

http://www.london-we...article.95.html

British Pathe news:

http://www.britishpa...uery/interviews

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Selected quote ...

The summer of 1954 was a very poor summer with frequent rains,

They were very few warm days during this summer, the warmest day of the year actually occurred at the start of the meteorological autumn (1st September)

53 rain days

40 wet days

How is that total of 93 days reached?

If as quoted the warmest day of the year came on the first day of Autumn then the June (30), July (31) and August (31) count of days should be 92.

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Selected quote ...

How is that total of 93 days reached?

If as quoted the warmest day of the year came on the first day of Autumn then the June (30), July (31) and August (31) count of days should be 92.

They were mean numbers ie 53 rain days out of 92 days, 40 wet days out of 92.

1927 and 1946 had more wet days.

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