Why was July so wet?

IN his monthly report, Evening Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on an unsettled July but with much less rainfall than the torrential downpours that struck the Westcountry.

IN his monthly report, Evening Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on an unsettled July but with much less rainfall than the torrential downpours that struck the Westcountry.

AFTER the driest, warmest and sunniest April ever recorded, the weather pattern in Suffolk and Essex slowly deteriorated.

May, June and July were unsettled months with a total rainfall of more than 11 inches - nearly half the year's average rainfall.

Atlantic depressions and their associated fronts dominated the weather from the beginning of July.

Low pressure systems were steered over or in the near vicinity of the British Isles because of this year's southward movement of the high-level jetstream.

This narrow belt of fast-flowing winds, positioned about seven miles above the Earth's surface, normally flows between Scotland and Iceland during the summer months. It allows the Azores anticyclone to extend north-eastwards into Britain to provide spells of sunny, warm and settled weather in summer.

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This year a string of lows brought dull skies and frequent heavy showers to Suffolk and Essex but the rainfall in our region was of much less intensity than the torrential deluge that caused severe flooding in many parts of the west country.

The total rainfall in Ipswich from May 1 to July 31 was 11.27 inches - 5.61 inches above the long-term average for the three-month period.

Strong winds affected the region on two occasions and on July 26 gusts of 41 mph were recorded along the coast.

A rare feature of this season has been the complete absence of any really hot weather during the whole of May, June and July.

The top temperature to the end of July was 76F (24C) on May 24 but a scorching 80F (27C) was not reached during the three-month period.

July rainfall totals were not greatly above average. Ipswich recorded 2.83 inches, Higham (Suffolk) 2.79 ins, Belstead Hall 2.54 ins, and Wattisham Airfield 2.28 ins. The long-term average rainfall for July is 2.25 ins.

Over a wide area sunshine was again in short supply. The automatic radiation sensor at Wattisham met office recorded 159 hours - a deficit of 52 hours. Some parts of the region received more sunshine and the total at Colchester was 216.6 hours.

JULY AVERAGES and EXTREMES

Maximum daytime average 70F

Night minimum temperature 52F

Rainfall (1902 to 2006) 2.25 inches

Days with measurable rain 13

Duration of rain in daylight 15 hours

Average July sunshine 211 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 16 hours

Midday sun altitude above horizon (July 15) 60 degrees

Barometric pressure (reduced to mean sea level) 1015 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 62F

Highest recorded daytime temperature 89F on July 15 1983

Lowest daytime maximum temperature 53F on July 24 1981

Coldest night temperature 39F on July 4 1965

Maximum recorded wind speed in gusts 54 mph on July 11 1995

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