Extreme heat in the UK

Extreme heat triggers thunderstorms in the UK

19 July 2016 10:45 UTC and 19 July 18:00 UTC– 20 July 09:00 UTC

Extreme heat in the UK
Extreme heat in the UK

On 19 July the UK saw its hottest day of 2016, when the mercury topped 33 °C. The heat then triggered thunderstorms.

Last Updated

14 November 2020

Published on

19 July 2016

By Ian Mills (EUMETSAT)

The Meteosat-10 HRV image from 19 July 10:45 UTC (Figure 1) shows mainly clear skies over the UK, Brize Norton in Oxfordshire recorded the top temperature of 33.5 °C, — making it the hottest day of year so far.

 Meteosat-10 High Resolution Visible, 19 July 10:45 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-10 High Resolution Visible, 19 July 10:45 UTC

But it was still a long way from the UK's record maximum temperature of 38.5 °C, recorded on 10 August 2003 at Faversham in Kent (Credit: Met Office Climate Extremes).

A British summer is colloquially described as three nice days then a thunderstorm — and so it proved when the hottest day ended in with some thundery weather in the west and north.

In the HRV image (Figure 1) small convective clouds can be seen over northern England and Scotland.

 
 Meteosat-10 Airmass RGB, 20 July 09:00 UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-10 Airmass RGB, 20 July 09:00 UTC

In the southwest corner of the image an area of cirrus moved north, heralding some heavy thunderstorms which spread north during the night across western and northern parts of the UK.

The Airmass RGB image (Figure 2) and the animation from 19 July 18:00 UTC to 20 July 09:00 UTC, shows a cold front moving northeast across the UK with heavy rain and thunderstorms breaking out over the northwest of England, Wales and Scotland.

Rainfall totals exceeded 50 mm in areas of Wales and northwest England, and more than 30 mm in places in Scotland.

A large mesoscale convective system (MCS) can be seen developing in the Irish sea and moving northeast over Scotland.

 

Related Links

Storm clouds gather as heatwave gives way to thunderstorms and floods (Telegraph)
London weather: Heatwave set to continue as 'blood rain' hits part of the UK (Evening Standard)
Hot weather: Rail services disrupted on UK's hottest day (BBC News)