Cairo put in the shade

IN his monthly review Evening Star weather man Ken Blowers looks back on a July of incessant heat, high humidity and an abundance of bright sunshine.A HOT, SUNNY and HUMID JULY WITH LOW RAINFALLIN Suffolk and Essex July will be remembered as a month of intense heat, high humidity and lack of rain.

IN his monthly review Evening Star weather man Ken Blowers looks back on a July of incessant heat, high humidity and an abundance of bright sunshine.

A HOT, SUNNY and HUMID JULY WITH LOW RAINFALL

IN Suffolk and Essex July will be remembered as a month of intense heat, high humidity and lack of rain.

On some days the region was hotter than Cairo with temperatures in west Suffolk reaching 90F(32C) while the Egyptian capital managed to reach only 85F.

High pressure dominated the weather for most of the month and by July 30 the hot spell had lasted for 31 consecutive days.

It was the longest spell of sustained heat since the Great Drought of 1976.

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On 14 days the daytime maximum temperature reached or exceeded 80F(27C) compared with 17 consecutive days with 80F or more in the summer of 1976.

On many occasions the sun blazed down from almost cloudless skies and because of the dryness of the air and the unlimited vertical visibility the sunshine was notably intense.

At Colchester the total sunshine was 304.3 hours - the highest on record for July. Cavendish registered 289 hours and Wattisham Airfield 267.6 hours. The long-term average for July is 211 hours.

Thunderstorms developed in parts of the region resulting in a marked variation in rainfall totals across the region.

In Ipswich the total rainfall in July was 0.69 of an inch but at Higham (Suffolk) there was 2.30 inches. Cavendish registered 0.57 in, Colchester 0.38 in, Belstead Hall 0.35 in and Wattisham Airfield 0.34 in.

The July figure for Wattisham was the lowest since 1977.

Nights were often warm and oppressive and in the early hours of July 20 temperatures in many places failed to fall below 70F(21C).

During the peak of the heatwave coastal districts of Suffolk and Essex often enjoyed refreshing sea breezes from a relatively cool North Sea.

Some large trees and many garden plants suffered from the lack of water and the intense heat caused premature blooming in some varieties of flowers.

Barometric pressure was generally high and the maximum was 1032 millibars on July 14 and 15. Lowest barometer reading was 1007 at the end of the month. Readings are reduced to mean sea level.

JULY AVERAGES and EXTREMES

Highest daytime average 70F

Lowest night average 52F

Rainfall (1902 to 2006) 2.25 inches

Average days with rain 13

Total duration of daytime rain 15 hours

Average of bright sunshine 211 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 16.1 hours

Midday sun altitude (July 15) 60 degrees

Average barometric pressure (at sea level) 1015 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 62F

Top daytime temperature 89F on July 15 1983

Lowest daytime temperature 52F on July 24 1981

Coldest July night 40F on July 4 1965

Highest wind velocity in a gust 54 mph on July 11 1995

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