Durham had its warmest July on record - official
(4 August 2006)
This year saw the warmest July on record at Durham since records began in 1850 say the weather watchers at Durham University. Professor Tim Burt of Durham University’s Geography Department said, “It beats the previous record (1983) by a massive 0.7 oC. The mean maximum (24.3 oC) is the highest on record for any month, beating the previous record of 23.1 oC for August 1995, and is a huge 5.0 oC above the mean maximum for July!”
The absolute maximum saw the temperature in Durham exceed 30 oC for the first time since August 1995; indeed only three months have recorded maxima above 30 oC since 1962: August 1995 (30.3 oC), July 2006 (30.5 oC) and August 1990 (32.5 oC). Daily temperature exceeded 25 oC on 18 days, and only three days had a maximum below 20 oC. The mean minimum temperature was less far above average, but still the third highest for July (since 1950) and the fifth highest for any month. Of the air temperature measurements this July, only the absolute minimum was unexceptional.
A rainfall total of 6.6 mm for the month seems very low but accords with the Met Office anomaly map which shows the Durham area to be below 25% of the monthly average. Measurable rain was only recorded on four days. This was the second driest July on record at Durham since 1852; only 1878 (4.7 mm) has been drier. All long-term measures of accumulated rainfall are now well below average, with the 12-month total to 31st July 2006 more than 100 mm below the long-term average.
It was the third sunniest July since 1882 at Durham, beaten only by 1911 and 1955. In addition to these two for July; the July 2006 sunshine total has also been beaten only once in August (1995), once in May (1971) and three times in June (1940, 1949, 1957); the sunshine total of 297 hours in 1940 remains easily the highest ever recorded at Durham for any month, with July 2006 ranking 8th highest for any month. There was a full 3 hours sunshine above the average each day and the overall total was 60% above the average. It was the first July since 1993 with sunshine recorded every day.