20th Feb, 2019

How long has the 'heatwave' lasted, what's next, and is it a historic 'drought'?

THE ‘heatwave’ in the Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull region has now lasted three weeks – with 21 days of hot and warm weather so far – but is it set to continue?

And do meteorologists class this summer’s hot spell as a ‘heatwave’ and a ‘drought’?

Steve Jackson has been busy at Bablake Weather Station in Coventry taking measurements of the extraordinary dry period, mapping its course and documenting its historic significance.

He tweeted today (Thursday): “We clocked up our 21st day without rain at Bablake on Wednesday, making this the longest drought in Coventry since September 2009. There is still some way to go however, to match the 29 days at this time of year in 1941.

“Interestingly, the incidence of drought in our region over the past 30 years is lower now than for any 30-year period since 1901-1930, with the peak period for drought between 1951 and 1990.”

He tweeted on Tuesday: “The longest dry spell on record at this time of year is 29 days in 1941, though later in the summer there was no rain for 39 days in 1976 and 35 in 1959, so we have a long way to go to get close to those records!”

He also tweeted today: “It has been hot, with temperatures over 30C in Coventry on the 12th July – in 1923 (32.8C), 1983 ( the 5th day in a row over 30C) and 1994.”

Yesterday, Steve tweeted from his @bablakewx account: “It was the 20th warm day in succession today & the 21st dry day, but not a heatwave day; we needed 26.9C on Wednesday but only reached 24.6C at Bablake. Still a lovely sunny summer’s day however.”

On Tuesday, he tweeted: “14 days can be classified as a ‘heatwave day’, over 26.9C, in #Coventry on the 11th July since 1892; these were in 1900 1901 1903 1911 1921 1923 1926 1929 1932 1934 1941 1976 1994 & 2005; but note 11 were before WW2.!”

With temperatures notably cooler today, Mr Jackson has this to say about today: “Overnight cloud slow to clear this morning, with the sun breaking through to give us a sunny warm afternoon at 25C in light breezes. Outside risk of an odd thundery shower.”

And of the coming days and weeks, he tweeted today…

“Signs of change by the 20th July perhaps?

“Over 70mm rain showing for us by the GFS forecast model over the next 2 weeks or so, and very welcome it might be!”

Tweeting a map of a forecast hurricane coming over the Atlantic, he added: “If Hurricane Chris takes this track, it could turn our weather more unsettled next week – we will see!

“Monday the best chance of showers in our region, note that cold front, as it becomes less warm into next week, but still pleasant enough with sunny spells, and mainly dry into midweek.

“Hotting up into the weekend with some prolonged sunshine at times; mainly dry with temperatures 26C or so on Saturday, perhaps 28C on Sunday.

“Ditto Friday, though the shower risk will be enhanced tomorrow but still hit and miss; warm in sunny spells after early cloud has broken, highs around 25C.”

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