River Wear burst it’s banks : this time it’s 1950

Discovered this one today, via Facebook (credit Julian Harrop and the Beamish Archive). It shows a guy cycling through floodwater in 1950 (unknown exact date). The riverside was a bit different then. The bus shelters can be seen to the right of the photograph (Gypsy Queen, Diamond and Hammel bus stops). Some of the worst floods ever in Durham were in 1793 and 1903. Here’s some data for the 1903 episode. 8th October 1903 Extensive flooding on Tyne, Wear and Tees and also on some smaller tributaries with much urban flooding especially in Sunderland (Details from Echo not provided since …

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September 2019 was mostly dry, but still wet!

The headline says it all. September 2019 was really dry and quite pleasant for the first three weeks before the rains came back.  Only 8.1mm fell in the first three weeks, as pressure remained high. Remarkable that the total for the month ended up at 81.0mm, making it a ‘wet’ month overall. That just shows how monthly statistics can completely mask what lies within. Temperature was very equable, with no really warm days, but no really cold ones either. The warmest temperature came in a short 3 day spell grouped around 20th, when 21.9 degC was reached. The coldest was …

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Durham Weather August 2019 – The Wet Summer Continues

Durham Weather August 2019 Rainfall Summary

After June and July gave us above average rainfall, August continued with the theme. There were brief spells of real warmth, but no real sustained anticyclonic spells. Thunderstorms were quite frequent in the disturbed weather patterns which came mainly from the Atlantic. We were on the North side of the Jet Stream for long periods. The opening week was reasonable, with temps in the low 20s, but things quickly deteriorated to give 51.7mm of rain over the 9th-12th period. Temperatures dropped too and 20 degC wasn’t breached at all between the 10th and 20th, with rain every day. In fact August …

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Top 30 Weather Events and their effects in Durham UK

While I was researching weather ‘top tens’, I discovered Jonathan Webb of TORRO’s top 30. He’s given his top fifteen widespread events and his top fifteen convective (more local thunderstorms events). I’ll try to contextualise the widespread events as to how they affected the North East. I’ve also colour coded them (Green = Yes, Red = No) Widespread Events (as defined by Jonathan) 1 Severe cold and floods of January-March 1947 Probably the most notorious winter in the North East of England. This winter still has eye-witness accounts and is still within ‘living memory’. Coming just after the conclusion of …

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‘The Great Darkness’ of July 2nd 1968

The article was produced following a bizarre weather event in July 1968. The month  was a very active one for thunderstorms and featured one of the greatest falls of Saharan dust in the UK in recent times. From Trevor Harley’s Weather website: July 1968 Generally dull, cool, and wet, especially in the south, but with two exceptional thundery outbreaks. The first ten days were very active. A slow-moving cold front ended June’s hot spell on the 1st, which saw temperatures of 33C in London, with severe and prolonged thunderstorms in the north and west, with darkness at noon, from mid-morning …

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June 2019 – Wet first half, then recovering later

I don’t think I would be being too harsh on Summer 2019 if I said I thought it was slow getting started. After the first half of June, the prospects of summer were looking dire. There had already been over 100mm of rain by the time we’d reached the half way point. There had already been 5 days with more than 10mm of rain each (4th,7th,8th,12th and 13th). The long term average rainfall for the whole of June in Durham is 55mm. The Durham Regatta had to be cancelled on the first weekend due to the River Wear being swollen …

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Rapid Rise in The River Wear – 16th March 2019

Heavy rain overnight on 16th March resulted in the River Wear rising to 2.36m just after 9pm. This was a rise of 1.8m in less than 12 hours. The river was a raging torrent, lapping over riverside paths. The river also carried lots of broken tree branches and wood downstream, snagging on bridges and the weirs further around ‘the loop’. My weather station in Gilesgate only recorded 13mm of rain on the 16th, so the rainfall must have been much heavier in the hills that feed the River Wear in the previous day. The River Wear has been much higher …

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22nd November 2017 – Cloudburst and deluge

This was a very wet day, but most of the rainfall fell after 8pm on 22nd. We were travelling back home and had to pull the car over in Tudhoe as we couldn’t make out where the road was! Rainfall became absolutely torrential and 49.3mm was recorded in about 3 hours by the rain guage in Gilesgate. The Durham University met station recorded 39.2mm, which they say is the 50th wettest day ever recorded in Durham since 1850. From Tim Burt: November was warmer than average, but not exceptionally so. All three ‘mean’ measures were above average. Even so, the …

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December 2015 – Freakishly mild, but wild and wet.

December 2015 was easily the mildest December on record. The mean of 7.8 degC at Durham was 3.9 degC above average. December 19th 2015 featured the highest ever December temperature recorded in Durham. It reached 15.9 degC, a massive 0.8 degC higher than the previous record (15.1 on 22/12/1991). Nationally it was also the warmest ever December (beating the previous record held jointly by 1934 and 1974, by a huge margin of 1.6 degC) and the wettest calendar month on record. At Durham it was also the wettest December since 1978. Amazing that only 5 years separates the cold December …

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