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Golden autumns have deserted us

PUBLISHED: 11:21 14 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

IN Suffolk and Essex September was a mainly cool and wet month with rainfall well above the long-term average.

There was no significant spell of Indian Summer weather and very few days were warm.

IN Suffolk and Essex September was a mainly cool and wet month with rainfall well above the long-term average.

There was no significant spell of Indian Summer weather and very few days were warm.

Over the last decade, with the exception of last year, September has lost its reputation as a sunny and often warm holiday month in England.

In most years the month has seen a disturbed pattern of cool spells but with a marked absence of the traditional golden days of autumn.

This year the cause of the cool conditions was the persistence of north-westerly airstreams which dominated the weather charts for much of the month.

High pressure was often anchored to the west of Ireland but failed to extend its influence across the British Isles.

There were only two days with notably high temperatures. On September 2 temperatures reached 70F(21C) and on September 28 the last fling of summerlike weather gave 68F(20C).

Many people then made the most of the bright autumnal sunshine with light winds as temperatures reached a figure more typical of late June.

But for most of the month daytime temperatures failed to rise much above the low sixties Fahrenheit and there was an early foretaste of autumnal chill on many days.

September was the eighth month of the year with above average precipitation.

At the Star weather station in Ipswich the total rainfall for the month was 4.08 inches – 2.17 inches above the long-term normal.

Much of this rain fell on September 18/19 as a slow-moving depression was centred over the southern North Sea.

At the Star weather station 1.64 inches of rain fell in the 24 hours ending at 9 am on September 19.

This ranked as the heaviest 24-hour rainfall since August 10 when 2.25 inches fell.

Almost the whole of the summer was characterised by relatively brief spells of heat and high humidity interspersed with heavy thundery downpours often of tropical intensity.

The period from January 1 to September 30 saw a total of 27.47 inches which means that rainfall is currently more than ten and a half inches above the average for the nine months.

At the EADT weather station the average yearly rainfall is 23.79 inches.

October in England is well known for a wide range of weather.

On October 16 in 1987 there was the most violent and damaging storm for nearly 300 years.

It began as an insignificant depression approaching from the Bay of Biscay and within 24 hours it had developed into an unusually vigorous system with winds gusting to almost 100 mph in parts of the region.

It caused the death of 19 people, felled or seriously damaged 15 million trees and insurance claims for storm damage was put at £1,000 million.

Climatologists calculated that a storm of this intensity was unlikely to hit southern England again for at least 150 years but some scientists now expect an increase in storminess in the North Atlantic because of global warming.

The term Indian Summer originates from the late 1800's when the North American Indians found that a fine, quiet spell of weather often occurred in late September or October. It enabled them to harvest their crops before the long and cold winter commenced.

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