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Lengthy dry periods - any stats?

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Whilst a number of places are easily experiencing there lengthiest driest period since most probably last July, I thought it would be good to start a thread about lengthy dry spells.


Does anyone have any stats on the longest driest period?


When was the last time say Heathrow experienced more than 3 weeks with no rain..


Whilst this current spell is only about 10 days old here, it would be good if people could post their own stats. When are our lengthiest driest spells of the year on average most likely to occur (I suspect between Feb and May).



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According to my rainfall data we had no rain for 3 weeks and 3 weeks, 2 days in August 2011 and July 2013 respectively.

Bear in mind that's based on a basic rain guage so may not be totally accurate.

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Spring 1893 was exceptionally dry.Mile End in London recorded a dry spell of 73 days from 4th March to 15th May 1893Dungeness recorded only 1.27 inches of rain from 27th February to 3rd July 1893



Gosh these are some stats! - Doubt they have been beaten based on known records.

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Dry spells aren't uncommon in Essex-

2010 is a recent example - a dry spring was followed by a very dry June and July. I don't think I recorded any appreciable rainfall for a month during late June to late July.

Spring 2011 was very dry.

Even the second half of summer in 2012 into September was dry.

July 2013 was dry but there was some thundery outbreaks at night.

Now we have 2014 where after a very wet winter it was followed by a dry spring and start to summer.

Although this period is not out of the ordinary although it may well be for places further north and west.

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I will agree with 1959 and 1976 - I don't have any stats but from memory the dry spell in 1959 lasted from June to about the second week of October - I recall that year quite well, apart from taking my 'O' levels, I was also in the ATC and we had out annual camp that year at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland in September of that year. We travelled by train from Grimsby where I was living at the time to Liverpool, where we caught the Ferry.


Going from east to west we travelled over the parched grasslands of England, passed the Lady Bower Dam where the water levels where exceedingly low and were surprised to see that in Northern Ireland the grass was still green.


The weather eventually broke in mid October when it became cloudy and windier with the dust being blown about, then it started raining a little after that. For that 4 and half months I do not recollect seeing any rain at all in my location.


The year 1976 was quite similar, though hotter - Bjon Bourg played his way to win Wimbledon under what appeared to be wall to wall sunshine every day - the grass become brown and parched and it seemed it would never end until towards the end of August the government decided to appoint a minister for drought.


No sooner had he been appointed the heavens opened on August 26th - I remember it well - it poured on our Barbie that evening, then the following months made up for the lack of rain during the summer.


Another interesting point is that last winter we had our wettest winter on record, yet when I went to Capestang in April the locals told me that there had not been any rain there all winter.

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Rare to get a completely dry 3 weeks here, that is the usual limit, although historically there have been 0mm months locally (Feb 1986 one such occasion)

Last July managed 20 days. March to April 2007 23 days is the longest drought I can find recently.

Edited by TonyH
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In this relentlessly unsettled year, where even a 1030mb high doesn't give dry weather, I have managed no more than 6 days. This is certainly on track to be a record breaker. I recorded only a 7-day dry spell in 2009 and thought that was bad. I have been unable to find a year in the 20th Century that didn't at least manage an 8-day dry spell.
Record droughts for Aberdeen are 34 days from 31st July to 2nd September 1947 and 33 days from 21st Feb to 25th March 1953.  I doubt we'll ever see anything like that in this era of relentless unsettled conditions. My own personal record from the past 9 years is just 14 days from 8th to 21st Feb 2008. Would have had 26 days over March/April 2007 but for two intensely irritating falls of 0.2mm which spoiled things.
Edited by Richard2901
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In the 37 years I've kept records at this site the longest absolute drought ( no day with more than 0.1 mm of rain ) is 30 days from April 5th to May 4th 2011. 

The second longest is 22 days from Sept' 12th to Oct' 3rd 1986 and June 18th-July 9th 1995. The latter was followed by a 21 day absolute drought from July 22nd-August 11th.

Records from my previous site a few miles away  show a 26 day absolute drought in the summer of 1976 from August 2nd-27th and a 25 day drought in the autumn of 1972 from Sept 14th-Oct' 8th.

With regard to partial droughts ( periods of at least 29 days averaging less than 0.2 mm per day ) the longest by far on my records is 60 days from June 19th-August 27th 1976

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Some met office stats for this area

Driest months

june 1921 1.3 mm

april 2011 2.0 mm

june1925 2.1 mm

feb 1921 3.3mm

feb1934 3.3mm

april 2007 4.2 mm

july 2011 4.9 mm

also march and april 1938 15.4mm

june ,july and august 1976 60mm

june ,july and august 1995 34mm

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3 week dry spells are not uncommon here, in fact they happen quite often outside of winter and Autumn. But yes, we have gone two and a half months without rain before in the 19th century, and 2 months during 1976

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Notable periods here in recent years:


31 days - 6th Apr 2011 - 6th May 2011

27 days - 21st Aug 2007 - 16th Sep 2007

26 days - 27th Jul 1995 - 21st Aug 1995

23 days - 4th Apr 2007 - 26th Apr 2007 (and just 1.5mm in the 44 day period 24th Mar - 7th May 2007)

21 days - 5th May 2008 - 26th May 2008


It seems 2 week periods without rain are actually rather common, though longer periods have become more prevalent in the last decade.

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Some met office stats for this areaDriest monthsjune 1921 1.3 mmapril 2011 2.0 mmjune1925 2.1 mmfeb 1921 3.3mmfeb1934 3.3mmapril 2007 4.2 mmjuly 2011 4.9 mmalso march and april 1938 15.4mmjune ,july and august 1976 60mmjune ,july and august 1995 34mm



Surprised at July 2011.. who said the summers of 2008-2012 total washouts..

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Surprised at July 2011.. who said the summers of 2008-2012 total washouts..



That makes sense. Summer 95 was a real drought, only an inch and half... I remember all the grass being brown by August. What a month August 95 was.

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The first three months of 1779 were exceptional

2nd driest January on record followed by the 8th driest February on record followed by the 7th driest March on record.

A grand total of 44.4mm

That's 22mm less than that was recorded for the driest summer on record, 1995.

February 1779 is also the mildest February on record. A really exceptional period.

Edited by Weather-history
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  • 2 months later...

19 days and counting, just a trace in the gauge this month..almost always at around 3 weeks it rains so not expecting a completely dry month although it has happened before namely in Feb 1986.

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I don't have any stats on me, but I remember some places had very little rainfall (<10mm) throughout the whole of spring 2011.

Not quite that dry but parts of the east had just 20% rainfall that Spring, at my parents in Rugby the March + April 2011 total was an exceptionally dry 11.3mm but May wetter having 43.2mm.

Edited by TonyH
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Felixstowe rainfall totals for 1921

Jan: 38.6mm

Feb: 5.8mm

Mar: 18.8mm

Apr: 25.8mm

May: 31.7mm

Jun: 3.6mm

Jul: 12.5mm

Aug: 13.0mm

Sep: 53.9mm

Oct: 18.8mm

Nov: 36.2mm

Dec: 27.3mm

Total: 286.1mm


Locally May 1864 - April 1865 was even more extreme. Hull figures:


May 1864: 32.8mm

Jun 1864: 21.7mm

Jul 1864: 11.1mm

Aug 1864: 30.6mm

Sep 1864: 25.1mm

Oct 1864: 32.8mm

Nov 1864: 39.0mm

Dec 1864: 27.8mm

Jan 1865: 16.1mm

Feb 1865: 20.6mm

Mar 1865: 2.8mm

Apr 1865: 2.8mm


Total: 263.2mm

Edited by reef
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A remarkably dry September so far. A brief rogue shower here on the 15th and that's about it.


No real rain in sight either, with high pressure looking to stubbornly stick around into next week.

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We've just passed 13mm but very little more expected next week.
It will be the driest September since I started recording rain in 2007.
All the spring months have seen drier examples though.
Interesting that the annual rain has finally dropped back closer to average for the date after being well above since the late winter deluge.

Edit: just to add there has not been a significant wet day here since 10th August so getting on for six weeks mainly dry now.

Edited by 4wd
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Looking through my records, this is the longest dry period with absolutely no rain for each year since the turn of the century:


2014: 17 days - 09/06-26/06

2013: 25 days - 28/06-23/07

2012: 16 days - 18/05-03/06

2011: 23 days - 14/04-07/05

2010: 17 days - 08/04-25/04

2009: 15 days - 06/08-21/08

2008: 17 days - 08/02-25/02

2007: 25 days - 30/03-23/04

2006: 24 days - 21/01-13/02 & 18 days - 08/07-26/07

2005: 18 days - 06/07-24/07

2004: 22 days - 01/06-22/06

2003: 30 days - 30/07-28/08 & 23 days - 02/04-24/04 & 18 days - 09/02-26/02 ; 13/03-31/03

2002: 21 days - 10/09-30/09

2001: 27 days - 19/05-14/06

2000: 17 days - 07/03-23/03

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