July 2022 Weather in Durham – 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 perfect blue skies and warm, dry conditions. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Great for guzzling beer in the local pubs!

River Wear and Durham Cathedral from Millburngate Bridge 7th July 2022
River Wear and Durham Cathedral from Millburngate Bridge 7th July 2022

By the 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 in SE England. 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 for the coming days, and they were upgrades to those issued earlier!

Met Office amber warning for extreme heat in North East England on 17th July 2022
Met Office amber warning for extreme heat in North East England on 17th July 2022

At first, it seemed that the hottest temperatures were going to be Sunday (17th)/Monday (18th), but they were pushed back a couple of days. The top temp in Gilesgate on Sunday 17th was a modestly warm 27.8 degC. It was a nice day, but nothing could prepare us for what was to come.

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. News channels were now covering the seriously hot weather.

Tuesday 19th July

The excitement was building by the hour. By about 10am on the morning of July 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, especially in the East of the Country.

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 by far the hottest, and the high temps pushed a long way north, including high into Durham. We had previously just watched as other areas saw these very high temperatures, but this year they happened in Durham too.

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As seen in the above video, my site in Gilesgate reached 37.5 degC. At Durham University Observatory on Potters Bank, the new record was 36.9 degC, so very similar. This obliterated the old record by 4 degrees. A truly historic day for those people interested in weather, and an omen of what may occur more often under the influence of climate change.

Graph showing the top 10 hottest temperatures ever recorded in the UK.
Graph showing the top 10 hottest temperatures ever recorded in the UK.

For the month of July 2022 as a whole, the mean temperature at Durham 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.

Rainfall

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 a normal total for July. The wettest day was the 25th, with 24.4mm counted.

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