August 2022 – Hot and Dry. Another record breaking month

August 2022

According to Tim Burt at the Durham University Observatory, August 2022 was the 2nd hottest August in Durham since 1843 (when the record began). It was beaten only by August 1975, a month I remember vividly too. There were 23 days over 20 degC. The average for the month was 17.5 degC at my station in Gilesgate, whilst the Durham University station returned 17.3 degC.

The heat of July 2022 returned in August, with a peak of 30.6 degC on the 10th. This made it the 3rd warmest August day on record, and the following day also exceeded 30 degC in Gilesgate, coming in at 30.3 degC.  The Durham Observatory site was a little cooler on this occasion. The hot spell from 9th-14th all had maximum temps over 27 degC.

Met Office Amber Extreme Heat Warning

Rainfall records show August 2002 to be the 3rd driest August since 1868 in Durham. Only 14mm was counted at Gilesgate, with half of that total falling on the 20th. There had been virtually no rain until then.

I don’t record sunshine totals on my weather station, but Tim Burt reckons this was also the 4th sunniest August on record, with 222 hours total. This represents 48% of the possible.

August 2022 Summaries

August 2022 Temperature Summary 1

August 2022 Temperature Summary 2

August 2022 Rainfall Summary 1

August 2022 Rainfall Summary 2

August 2002 Barometer Summary

The Summer of 2022

June 2022 was 10th hottest. July was the 2nd hottest on record, and August was 2nd hottest. It is not then surprising that Durham experienced the hottest overall summer since records began in 1843. It was also notably dry. with only 54% of average rainfall. and the 8th sunniest on record since 1880, with just two sunless days!

July 2022 Weather Summary – Record Breaking Heat

Into the furnace we went!

The start of July was relatively cool and mainly cloudy, with short periods of rainfall being typical in the first week, although quantities were small.

The 6th was a windy day for July. Temperatures then began to rise after the first week, with some forecasts indicating a spell of very hot weather around 17th.

The weather was in spectacular form for the Durham Miner’s Gala on 9th July, with blue skies and warm, dry conditions. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Great for guzzling beer!

By 11th July, the mean stood at 18.0 degC (Mean Max 22.3, Mean Min 13.6), with only 5.9 mm of rain collected.

As we got closer to the forecast hot spell, it was expected that the extreme predictions would moderate a bit. Models were showing that the 40 degC mark could be breached over the period 17th-19th July. This wasn’t the case, the predictions firmed up and it was clear that we were in for some seriously hot weather!

Sunday 17th July

The warnings started coming in, and they were upgrades!

At first, it seemed that the hottest temperatures were going to be Sunday/Monday, but they were pushed back a couple of days. The top temp in Gilesgate on Sunday 17th was a modestly warm 27.8 degC.

Monday 18th July

The temperature hit 33.7 degC, which equalled my record from July 2019. It was getting seriously hot, but was forecast to get hotter still. Reports started to come in of wildfires destroying property and farmland in the tinder dry conditions across the country.

Tuesday 19th July

The excitement was building by the hour. By about 10am on the morning of 19th, the old national record from Cambridge Botanic Gardens (38.7 degC) had been easily eclipsed. Other stations started to report hotter and hotter temperatures.

Would the 40 degC mark be beaten? It was beaten in a couple of places, but the new record is now from Conningsby, Lincolnshire, at 40.3 degC. The east side of the country was the hottest, and the high temps pushed a long way north, including high into Durham.

As seen in the video, my site in Gilesgate reached 37.5 degC. At Durham University Observatory on Potters Bank, the new record was 36.9 degC. This obliterated the old record by 4 degrees. A historic day.

For the month as a whole, the mean was 18.2 degC. This ranks in the top three warmest ever Julys. The average daily high was 23.0 degC, and 10 days hit 25.0 degC or higher.


As is usual after a hot spell, the atmosphere provided a lot of moisture, and 50+ mm fell in the last 10 days to give a total of 65.3mm, which is normal for July. The wettest day was the 25th, with 24.4mm counted.

June 2022 weather at Durham – Warm and mainly dry


June was a very pleasant month, and very similar in nature to June 2021.

The mean temperature was 15.4 degC, which is well above the 1991-2020 mean for June of 13.6.

Sixteen days reached the 20 degC mark (last year had 21) and it got to 25 degC on 3 of them.

The warmest day was the day after the solstice (22nd), when 26.9 degC was recorded.


There were only 8 rainy days in June 2022, and the month was dominated by a 15 day dry spell ending on the 23rd.

Those eight days still managed to accrue 37.6 mm of rainfall, mainly from heavy, thundery showers.

The wettest day was 24th (11.2 mm) and there was another similar rainfall total on the last day (8.3 mm).

Barometric Pressure

Mainly anticyclonic, but not excessively so.

The average pressure was only 1017.8 mb and the absolute high as low as 1034.0 mb on 4th.

August 2021 – Disappointing end to summer

After two good months in June and July, August was the party pooper. Also, our party wasn’t spoilt as badly as those in some Southern areas, but it was easily the worst of the three summer months of 2021.

Mean Temp : 15.7C

At one point, the mean was running at about 16.2C, but dropped towards the end of the month due to a cooler spell. It got to 20.0C on 18 days, but only one day went as high as 25.0C (3rd).

The mean maximum actually turned out to be exactly 20.0C and the mean minimum was not too bad at 12.7C. These would have been ok in most summers of the 1980s maybe, but in these post-warming times they were disappointing.

The real reason the party was pooped wasn’t the temperature, but the lack of sunshine. We seemed to get stuck under cloudy anticyclones, pulling winds from unfavourable directions. The last few days of August 2021 featured a nice north easterly, treating us to cold wind, low cloud and drizzle as winds blew from our old friend The North Sea.

The month was only 0.1C cooler than August 2020.

Rainfall : 45.4mm

Rainfall was well spread out over the full month and there were no real dry spells as such. The wettest day was the 21st, which contributed 13.9mm to the total.

Rainfall radar on 21st August 2021

It also rained on 22 days, which is poor for a summer month, but August seems to be getting a reputation recently in being poor. Is that perception justified?

Even though it was so damp, August 2021 was much drier than the previous one, which had 3x as much rain.

Average Pressure : 1019.3mb

Summer months should really be ‘anticyclonic’ and even though it was poor, August 2021 was anticyclonic. The only Low Pressure influence came in the period 5th-9th, giving a disturbed spell of weather.


The last 5 Augusts in the UK according to Trevor Harley

2016 A warm month – at 17.0C, the warmest since 2004 in the CET series. It was particularly warm in the east. The highest temperature of the month (and year) was 34.1C at Faversham in Kent on the 24th; the 10th was a cold night, with -1.5C at Kindrogan (Perthshire). The month was changeable in the first half, and warmer and more settled in the second. Rainfalls was very close to the long-term average, although it was wet in parts of the north. It was quite a sunny month, with 110% of average.

2017 Unsettled. The CET temperature was 15.6 (-0.6C), the coolest since 2011. Temperatures were generally slightly beneath average in the south. The month saw a new record high for the late August Bank Holiday Monday, which fell on the 28th this year: 28.2C at Holbeach (Lincs.) – the previous record was set in 1984. The same day it reached 28.9 at Jersey. There was a notable cold front passing through on the 30th; it reached 27C in locations in Kent on the 29th but only 13C on the 30th. Rainfall was about average across mainland Britain, although Northern Ireland was very wet (130% of the average), with severe flooding in places – some areas saw 200%. The 9th was a wet day in the south, with some places seeing 40 mm, and South Uist received 72 mm in thunderstorms overnight on the 22nd. Sunshine was close to average in England and Wales (187 hours, 105%), although it was duller further north and west.

2018 A disappointing month to end a great summer. Overall slightly warmer than average, particularly in the southeast. The highest temperature of the month was 33.2C at Kew on the 3rd, the lowest -1.3C at Braemar on the 7th. Rainfall was 95% of average although there were wide regional variations, some places having half the the average and parts of the SE over 150%. Sunshine was 90% of average, but Shetland had 150% of average. The first week continued the fine, settled weather, but it turned more unsettled from the 8th on.

2019 Mostly unsettled but with a hot sunny in spell in the south 21 – 27th giving a very hot late August Bank Holiday: it was 30.7C at Heathrow on Saturday 24th. The record late Bank Holiday temperature then occurred on Sunday 25th, with 33.3C recorded at London (Heathrow). It was the hottest late Bank Holiday Monday on record by some way, beating 2017, with 33.2C at London Heathrow (on the 26th). It was then 33.4C at Heathrow on Tuesday 27th, the highest temperature of the month – an extraordinary late spell. A thundery breakdown was followed by a cool end to the month. It was slightly warmer than average, but very wet, with 153% of average, and more than twice the average in the north and northwest. It was very slightly sunnier than average across the country. 69.8 mm of rain fell in 24 hours on the 30-31st at Tyndrum (Perthshire).

2020 After an unsettled start, it became very hot, particularly in the southeast. There was a notable heatwave midmonth, peaking with 36.4C recorded at Heathrow on Friday 7th, the highest August reading since 2003. It was 30.1C at Kew on the 6th, then 34.5C at Herstmonceux on the 8th,  34.0C there on the 9th, 35.5C at Heathrow on the 10th, 35.7 at Heathrow on the 11th, and 35.4 at Heathrow on the 12th, giving seven consecutive days above 30C, and six above 34C. St James Park in London recorded six consecutive days over 34C. The very hot spell, mostly localised to the SE, saw five “tropical nights”, with minima above 20C, making six for the year, the highest being a minimum of 22.3 on the 8th at Langdon Bay (Kent). Before recent years these were very rare – yet beween 2008 and  2017 there were only 12 tropical nights in total. It became more unsettled mid-month, and often wet and windy. Overall it was mostly much warmer than average, and slightly duller, with 88% of the expected sunshine. It was a wet month, with 135% of average rainfall. 103.8 mm of rain fell in the meteorological day ending on the 13th at Hollies (Staffs.), and a provisional massive 239.9 mm at East Wretham (Norfolk) on the 16th, which when confirmed will beat the 1924 record.

Source :

July 2021 Monthly Report – Warm with a good dry spell

July 2021 turned out well. The first week proved to be quite wet, with the bulk of the month’s final rainfall falling this week. There was 48.5mm recorded altogether in what was a very short unseasonal spell.

High pressure then built in to give us a sustained spell of warm, dry and sunny weather for the next three weeks.

The temperature reached at least 20 degC on 24 days, and eight of those went as high as 25 degC (including 6 days consecutively from 16th-21st, making it an official Durham ‘heatwave’). The maximum was a hot 29.3 degC on the 17th.

This was a very warm spell, causing people big problems with sleeping as minimum temps were typically around 16-17 degC overnight.

The mean temperature of 17.5 degC was warm for July, with an average high of a very respectable 22.1 degC and mean min a very high 14.1 degC. The coolest temperature of the month was on the opening day, but even that was just a shade under 10 degC.

The final rainfall total for the month was close to 70mm, which was still on the wet side for a month that was completely dry from the 14th to the 26th! This illustrates how monthly stats can give the wrong impression.

Overall, a very good summer month, although Durham was fortunate to miss the severe thunderstorms that created havoc and extreme flash flooding problems in the South in the last week.