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With the Spring Bank Holiday upon us, I was reminded of a disastrously wet SBH in 1984 when we had the misfortune to be camping in rural Kent. The rain started as we arrived at the camp site on the Saturday and did not really stop until the day after the Bank Holiday Monday when we were packing up to go home. I seem to recall that the weather that weekend in the far South East broke a record for continuous rainfall which had stood since June 1903. And what made it worse was that some friends got in touch from the North East coast of England and they had been enjoying blue skies and sunshine. I don't know the stats but clearly it was a divided country that weekend. 

We fared little better the year after when the weather over the SBH weekend was quite muggy and thundery, and a friend had a lucky escape as lightning hit a wire fence close to where he was digging a pit. It was certainly the closest I came to a lightning strike in the UK. 

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2 hours ago, A Face like Thunder said:

With the Spring Bank Holiday upon us, I was reminded of a disastrously wet SBH in 1984 when we had the misfortune to be camping in rural Kent. The rain started as we arrived at the camp site on the Saturday and did not really stop until the day after the Bank Holiday Monday when we were packing up to go home. I seem to recall that the weather that weekend in the far South East broke a record for continuous rainfall which had stood since June 1903. And what made it worse was that some friends got in touch from the North East coast of England and they had been enjoying blue skies and sunshine. I don't know the stats but clearly it was a divided country that weekend. 

We fared little better the year after when the weather over the SBH weekend was quite muggy and thundery, and a friend had a lucky escape as lightning hit a wire fence close to where he was digging a pit. It was certainly the closest I came to a lightning strike in the UK. 

I have vague memories of May 1984, as I turned 8 that month.

My memory is a warm day on the 24th or around that time, as this was my birthday. We had a picnic in the local park, and due to eating too much bread, I had a little accident lol. 
 

I also remember an overnight thunderstorm on a Saturday night, but not sure if it was May 1984. This could have been during that cool rainy spell.

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20 hours ago, Sunny76 said:

I have vague memories of May 1984, as I turned 8 that month.

My memory is a warm day on the 24th or around that time, as this was my birthday. We had a picnic in the local park, and due to eating too much bread, I had a little accident lol. 
 

I also remember an overnight thunderstorm on a Saturday night, but not sure if it was May 1984. This could have been during that cool rainy spell.

I think this would probably have been May 1985 when the start of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend was very warm and thundery in the South East. The thundery activity petered out on the Bank Holiday Monday and the rest of the week was sunny and quite warm but with very cold nights for the end of May. 

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Posted (edited)

Paul Simons in 'Weather Eye' in today's Times reports that when the fixed bank holiday at the end of May was introduced in England in 1967, the first year was a complete washout, in fact it was a 'diabolical month' and the wettest May since 1773. Simons goes on to note 1972, 1984 (in the SE) and 2007 as particularly bad bank holiday weekends, with snow in the Lake District in 2007. Set against that was the bank holiday in 1944 when the temperature reached 32.8C in London, Horsham and Tonbridge, making it the hottest bank holiday on record for late May. The bank holiday Monday ended with thunderstorms in many parts and in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, flash floods tore up roads, bridges and houses and left three people dead. 

And bank holiday 2020? Well certainly no records broken apart perhaps from the windiest bank holiday in the North West, Saturday in particular, but with a sunny and warm finish, so probably about average.

 

Edited by A Face like Thunder
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On 24/05/2020 at 10:54, A Face like Thunder said:

I think this would probably have been May 1985 when the start of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend was very warm and thundery in the South East. The thundery activity petered out on the Bank Holiday Monday and the rest of the week was sunny and quite warm but with very cold nights for the end of May. 

I don’t remember May 1985 for thunder, but recall travelling to the south coast on a sunny day. The weather was warm and sunny.

1985 seems to be regarded as one of the poorest summers in modern times, but I do remember some hot sunny spells, especially in July.

May on the other hand was sunny but also chilly at times.

I think London might have had a thunderstorm or just the odd rumble in May 1984. 

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Yes, 1985 was seen by Philip Eden as 'a very poor summer', - June to September - a view with which I concurred in the SE. 

The night of 31st May - 1st June 1983, just a day after the Bank Holiday, was noted for a spectacular thunderstorm at our camp on the Surrey / Hants border. This came c/o of two distinct cells which moved up from France, with the main activity at 1am and 3am. We had to use matchsticks to stay awake the following morning but it was truly wonderful to see Nature in action. 

   

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It’s strange, how I don’t recall any storms from 1983. I just remember hot weather, which must have been July, and during August. 

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