June started with cloud and some rain over the UK as fronts passed through but on the 2nd the Azores High ridged towards the UK settling the weather. Fronts moved across the NW parts of the UK but the ridge held sway across southern parts. As the ridge moved into Europe, southerly winds flooded the UK and temperatures rose to the high 20s in the sunshine. A cold front moved into western parts on the 9th but ahead of this system, temperatures rose into the low 30s in the SE. The cold front moved through bringing cooler weather to all parts. The middle of June was mixed with unsettled weather in the north but the high pressure to the south of the UK ensured that the southern parts of the UK saw little rain until the 19th where a frontal system straggled southern parts. The weather changed on the 20th, when a high developed over the SE of the UK and this drew up very hot air from the Meditterenean. This was the start of a remarkable heatwave where temperatures were 30+C every day until the end of the month. The London Weather Centre recorded a maximum of 34.8C on the 26th, southampton recorded a maximum of 35.6C on the 28th. The weather was uncomfortably hot for those who work in offices as most did not have air conditioning. Nights were particularly uncomfortable with minima as high as 20C. The heat caused heath fires in the south as a result of the lack of the rain but in the NW of Scotland there was no lack of rain here as fronts off the Atlantic continually brush the far NW. It was a particular dull month here but elsewhere it was a fairly sunny, dry hot month.
The heatwave of late June continued into July with the high moving to the north of the UK and this allowed a hot gentle easterly flow across the UK. 32+C was recorded everyday somewhere in the UK up to the 7th. After the 7th, the heat lost its intensity as Atlantic systems moved into the west with some rain but the south and east remained mostly dry. The weather had becomed unsettled generally around mid month with westerly winds and lower temperatures. There were thunderstorms in the SE ahead of a cold front and more on the 20th and 21st but there was little rain with pressure high to the west of Ireland. A cold front swept through at the end of the month and this brought cool northerly winds and even a touch of ground frost to the north. It was a very warm and largely dry July over most parts although the NW of Scotland missed out again.
Although the month started with fronts across the UK, it wasn't long before high pressure was back to retain the dry weather. The high cell moved into Scandinavia and although fronts tried to move into the UK, they were killed off by the high. The weather became hot again and temperatures were in the low 30s around the 24th and 25th just as the high began to recede into the Atlantic. This allowed low pressure over Spain to move northwards and a front to the north to move southwards. This resulted in heavy rain and storms, the first significant rain for a number of weeks in many places. August was another very warm dry month. The effect of the summer was huge. Drinks, ice cream, barbecue, and bikini sales rocketed during the summer but the greatest impact was the lack of water. Reservoirs were drying up and the Government launched meaures to conserve water. People were advised to share baths, to use the bath water to water the garden, to place bricks in toilet cisterns to conserve water. Standpipes were launched and many parts of the UK had no running water for much of the day. The drought caused forest and heath fires in the south and fireman were unable to control these because of a lack of water. Gardens and parks were brown and parched. The Government created a minister for drought, Denis Howell, such was the serious nature of the drought. The ministry was created just as the heavy rains came to replenish the reservoirs.
Scotland Rainfall: 156mm Mean Temp:13.8C Sunshine: 559.4hrs
N.Ireland Rainfall: 142mm Mean Temp:15.0C Sunshine: 560.3hrs
Eng&Wales Rainfall: 111mm Mean Temp:16.9C Sunshine: 748.4hrs
June and July 1976 was the warmest such combination in the CET list
Record Maxima for these dates
23rd June 1976: 32.2C
24th June 1976: 32.4C
25th June 1976: 33.5C
26th June 1976: 35.4C
27th June 1976: 35.5C
28th June 1976: 35.6C
2nd July 1976: 35.7C
3rd July 1976: 35.9C
4th July 1976: 34.1C
25th August 1976: 32.5C
An old BBC web report on this summer
Private Eye's send up on it
Edited by Mr_Data, 16 April 2006 - 09:37 .