Weather statistics outline Norfolk’s extraordinary July heatwave

PUBLISHED: 18:21 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:05 14 August 2018

Alice Cramer enjoying the sunshine at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Alice Cramer enjoying the sunshine at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Weather watchers have released figures highlighting an extraordinary July for Norfolk, ranging from drought and extreme heat to thunder and hail storms.

July 2018 temperature graph. Source: WeatherquestJuly 2018 temperature graph. Source: Weatherquest

Terry Mayes, of the Norfolk Rainfall Association, described it as a “remarkable July which followed an equally remarkable June”.

“A truly prolonged drought developed across Norfolk from June 3 to July 26 – a period of 54 days which produced no rainfall whatsoever almost right across the county,” he said. “This combined with several periods of intense heat put a severe strain on humans, animals and plants alike.

“The heat and drought ended in a vengeance during July 27 as torrential downpours and thunder swept across the area, with 48.0mm at Wells and 42.4mm at North Creake topping the list. Large hail fell at some places such as Colkirk, Swaffham and Cockley Cley.

“However, as with the very nature of thunderstorms, some places escaped almost entirely. The 48.0mm at Wells contrasts sharply with Blakeney and Cley less than 10 miles away where only around 5.0mm fell.”

July Norfolk rainfall. Source:Terry Mayes / Norfolk Rainfall AssociationJuly Norfolk rainfall. Source:Terry Mayes / Norfolk Rainfall Association


• Highest monthly rainfall totals:

67.5mm Snettisham, 60.6 Heacham, 56.2 Sandringham, 55.3 Thornham, 52.1 Colkirk, 50.2 Wells, 46.5 Bressingham, 46.0 Walsingham.

• Lowest monthly rainfall totals:

7.6mm Blakeney, 9.5 Cley, 9.7 Spixworth, 9.7 Langham, 9.8 Hempstead-by-Holt, 10.0 mm Thursford, 10.0 Calthorpe.


Adam Dury, operational forecaster for Norwich-based Weatherquest, described an “interesting month with the dryness and heat all ending with thunderstorms”.

He said: “The month started with an east or northeasterly wind and the dry weather continued for much of the region. Temperatures inland over the first nine days of the month continued as they were, with highs of 23-27C, but it was fresher around the coast due to the onshore wind.

“An area of cloud moved in from the north on the 10th and 11th which brought some spots of drizzle in places, although most of the rain didn’t actually measure in any rain gauges. The cloud meant cooler temperatures with highs of only 16-20C. Thunderstorms broke out in Essex, however Norfolk stayed mainly dry.

“With cloud thinning and it becoming mainly sunny, then temperatures slowly rose from the 12th until the 16th with 30C as a high inland but slightly cooler on the coast as sea breezes developed due to light winds inland.

“A weak front moved in from the west on the 17th which brought cooler temperatures and some cloud, however no rain.

“Winds turned to the south again on the 19th with warm and humid air taking charge. Plenty of sunshine over the next week with high temperatures of 29-33C widely. Overnight temperatures stayed warm also meaning it was difficult to sleep. During this time though, sea breezes did mean it was cooler on the coast. On the 26th with the warm temperatures then a few thunderstorms developed in the afternoon in the far west of the region around the wash.

“It was then the hottest day since July 1st, 2015 on the 27th with Tibenham reporting 34.7C as a maximum temperature. Thunderstorms developed over the west of the region in the afternoon with golf ball size hail and frequent lightning. Further thunderstorms moved up from the south to cover the region of the region overnight with torrential downpours giving people the first rain of the month.

“Unsettled weather began to move in with less hot temperatures to end the month as a line of thunderstorms moved through first thing on the 28th, but it turned dry for the rest of the afternoon with sunshine. Another cooler day on the 29th with cloud and drizzle, but temperatures rose again to 23-26C on the last couple of days with a few scattered showers and thunderstorms.

“Overall it was dry month before the 26th with no rain, although generally Norfolk ended up with 40% of its rainfall by the end of the month. “Temperatures were well above average for the time of year.”

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