August 2020 Monthly Weather Report : Good start, poor end

Durham Weather : August 2020

Synoptic chart showing low pressure on 25th August 2020

The weather in Durham in August 2020 was disappointing overall after starting out really well. It was typical of the summer really. There were no long settled spells as such at Durham, although some very warm weather was experienced in the south of the country, culminating with 36.4C recorded at Heathrow and Kew Gardens.

The 11th August (mean 24.0 degC) and 12th August (mean 25.1 degC) were the warmest recorded for those particular dates on the Central England Temperature series.

Thunderstorms were extensive across the country after that, but we escaped most of them in Gilesgate, although there were some near misses, with torrential rain.

It was actually pretty dry up to the 17th (12.2mm, 8 days with rain). The temperature reached 28.0 degC on the 7th, which averaged 21.3 degC. This was the high for the month.

Then from 17th it turned really wet and temps declined markedly, with 22.8mm on 17th and rain every day from the 13th to 30th.

The last week of the month was very wet, with 12.5mm on 23rd, 12.8mm on 25th, 13.8mm on 27th and 29.8mm on the 28th August. There was a cloudburst in Durham on Sunday 23rd which dropped 9mm in 10mins in the early afternoon. This was right in the middle of the wet spell.

Here is the chart for Tuesday 25th August. It was very wet and windy. The pressure was very low for August, falling to 986.4mb and the northern flank of this depression gave us the heavy rain driven in from the East.

This last week has become progressively colder and wetter, culminating in 13.8mm on 27th and 29.8mm on 28th. Total for the month is now 127.1mm .

Maximum temp on the 28th was only 13.5 degC with a keen NE wind. The 29th was cooler still at 12.7 degC.

As is frequent in August, the last few days can be quite cool, and the monthly minimum was 5.3 degC on the morning of 31st. This was a really nice late summers day.

Monthly graphic of rainfall and temperature at Durham August 2020
Monthly graphic of rainfall and temperature at Durham August 2020


Monthly summary of temperature at Durham in August 2020
Monthly summary of temperature at Durham in August 2020


Summary of rainfall in Durham August 2020
Summary of rainfall in Durham August 2020


Summary of atmospheric pressure at Durham August 2020
Summary of atmospheric pressure at Durham August 2020


View across Durham on the last day of the summer 2020
View across Durham on the last day of the summer 2020


Durham Castle and Cathedral from The Riverwalk
Durham Castle and Cathedral from The Riverwalk on last day of summer 2020


Sunset over the North Sea 31st August 2020
Sunset over the North Sea 31st August 2020

An August Deluge – Nearly 1/2” of rain in 10 minutes!

View of durham cathedral and castle in heavy rain

23rd August 2020. Very heavy rain in Durham

Above is the scene from the Bandstand by the River Wear in Durham on Sunday 23rd August 2020. The heavy deluge dropped 9mm of rain in 10 minutes on Durham and it’s surroundings. That’s a rate of 54mm per hour, which is a proper dowpour.

In the town, the narrow streets were rapidly turned into rivers and driving visibility was virtually nil.

Thanks to Kev Allison for the photo via Facebook.


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 had rain on 21 days in total.

Summer weather then returned from 23rd-27th and the maximum for the month of 28.1 degC occurred on 25th. Overall, August was close to average, with the milder nights achieving this figure rather than regularly high maxima.

August 2019 Weather Nationally (Trevor Harley)

August 2019 was 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).

The three months of summer yielded 129.7mm, 77.7mm and 81.5mm of rain. This is about 80% above the average for 1981-2010. It rained on 59 days of the summer, or 2 out of every 3 days. There were 5 days with more than 20mm of rain recorded and the wettest day of the summer was 8th June.

The highlight of the summer however will be the phenomenal short heat burst at the end of July yielding a new national high temperature record in Cambridge.

Very wet 2 day period – August 9th+10th 2004

After a really warm night on 9th August (minimum was 19.9 degC) at my station in Ferryhill, the next two days were extraordinarily wet. In fact the whole month was a soggy mess and about as bad as a month can get in summer.


9th   August 37.2mm
10th August 30.4mm

Two consecutive days with > 30mm of rain is a fairly rare event in the North East of the UK.

The 10 Highest readings for Daily Rainfall,
between 1/1/1996 and 31/8/2004.

Figures in mm

1 74.6 27/7/1998
2 37.2 9/8/2004
3 36.2 2/8/2002
4 31.9 2/11/1998
5 31.8 25/6/1997*
6 30.4 11/8/2004
7 29.8 7/11/2000
8 26.4 20/8/2004
9 26.2 30/6/1997*
10 25.0 3/6/2000

*0900-0900hrs, all others 0000-0000hrs

(Produced at 00:01 on 31/08/2004. Database: Ferryhill).

Summary of August 2004 from Ferryhill

From the Ferryhill Weather Station

August 2004

August 2004 will long be remembered for it’s extreme wetness. Seven inches of rain fell on Ferryhill during the month and some of the North East of England had much more than that. Nationally, it was the flash flood at Boscastle that caught the eye, a place we’d recently visited.

There were 3 very wet periods which yielded much of the total.

9th – 12th August : 80.6 mm
18th – 20th August : 51.6 mm
23rd – 24th August : 22.2 mm

Some of the rainfall was torrential, with localised flooding a regular occurence where drains couldn’t cope with the water. Farmers also had a problem with harvests as most fields were too wet to bear the weight of the harvesting equipment and crops had been flattened by the heavy rain. I have to say i’ve never seen a month quite like it.

From the Newton Aycliffe Weather Station

Temperature wise, a month of two halves, the first half of the month seeing maximum temperatures above 20C most days, also with exceptionally warm nights, temperatures rarely dipping below 15C during most nights.  The average minimum temperature of 13.2C was considerably warmer than the 1971-2000 Durham average of 10.6C.

Because of this, the mean temperature was pushed up to 16.4C, which is 1.3C above the 1971-2000 Durham average. The second half of the month was noticeably cooler and fresher. The warmest temperature recorded was just 26.0C (78.8F) on the 8th. We also had a record high night time minimum, where the temperature fell no lower than 18.3C (64.9F) in the 24 hours up to 9 am on the 9th August. The coldest temperature recorded was 7.2C (45.0?F) in the early hours of August 22nd.

The weather was very unsettled throughout the month with several bands of persistent heavy rain passing through the area. The month was also duller than average according to other local stations.

One thing August 2004 will be remembered for is the incredible amount of rain that fell. This was not just the wettest August recorded in North East England, but several locations recorded their wettest month EVER. The rainfall total for Newton Aycliffe was a staggering 210mm!! That?s by far and away a rainfall record for this location.

Compare the reading of 210mm this month to the 30 year Durham average of 61.3mm and it gives you an idea of just how wet this month was. Rainfall above 1mm was recorded on 15 days, compared to the 9.2 days that you might expect. The daily rainfall record was broken with 45mm recorded between 9am August 9th and 9am August 10th. A further 27mm was recorded in the following 12 hours, giving a 36 hour rainfall total of 72mm. The month was also unusually humid, with an average 9am humidity reading of 91.4%

To summarise, a warmer than average month, although that was exclusively down to warm nights rather than warm days, which was dull, unsettled, incredibly wet, and humid.

NB. I notice Copley has recorded 250mm this month

Heres a list of rainfall totals for the month that I can find on the net….

In the lead with 250mm Copley!!

Bear in mind that Copley is high altitude and would presumably be wetter than other lower locations. Also, its a Met Office official climate station with extremely accurate recording equipment.

The best of the rest. Bear in mind that these are all AWS weather stations probably with varying degrees of exposure to the rain gauge…..

Oakerside, Peterlee….220.0mm
Newton Aycliffe…..210mm
Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough…..158mm

Comments from Tim Burt at Durham

Comments on August 2004
August was a warm but very wet month. Mean air temperature was 1.6°C above average, lower than last year, but still 11th highest since 1850. Mean minimum temperature was 2nd highest on record since 1950. The minimum on the night of the 8th / 9th was 16.8°C, a remarkably high value, and the next night was only marginally cooler. For the summer as a whole, an average temperature of 15.2°C places 2004 as the 14th warmest on record since 1850, following last year’s record breaker.

Most remarkable was the rainfall, more than twice the monthly average. The total of 156.8mm is the 6th highest for August since 1852, exceeded only in 1917, 1927, 1878, 1986 and 1956 (the August record with 175.7mm). The total of 52.2mm on the 9th was only the 14th daily total at Durham since 1881 of 50mm or over. 72.2mm fell on the 9th and 10th, associated with a decaying hurricane, and altogether 88.4mm fell in four days (9th – 12th). There was also a daily catch of 25mm on the 19th. For the summer as whole, it was the 11th wettest on record (289.6), and the wettest since 1997. 1867 holds the summer rainfall record with 383.4mm; summers tended to be relatively wetter in the late 19th Century. Not surprisingly, long-term totals are now well above average, and the 12 – month running total is the highest since October 2001.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

Trevor Harley’s British Weather

August. The wettest August since 1956. There were over 300 mm of rain at Shap. As there was a heatwave at the start of the month, and some very warm nights, it was also, perhaps surprisingly, a hot month overall (17.7C CET). There were some heavy thunderstorms at the start of the month. 31.5C was then recorded on the 8th at Northolt. The 8-9th was very warm in the south; at Marham (Norfolk) the minimum was only 21.7C. The 9-11th saw some exceptionally heavy rain in central and southern Scotland and northern England. Aberfeldy saw nearly 150 mm in three days. We tried going to Edinburgh, but everywhere was flooded so we gave up. There was some excep[tionally heavy rain in Cornwall on the 16th (some parts saw 75 mm in 24 hours; and Otterham had 200.4 mm in 24 hours, with 197 mm in 4 hours and nearly 100 mm in an hour) led to exceptionally severe flash-flooding and destruction in the Boscastle region. Heavy rain in central Scotland led to a mudslip on the A85 and A84 near Lochearnhead on the 18th that buried several cars. Lancashire was affected by some very heavy rain on the 19-20th, with flooding: 23 mm fell in an hour early in the morning of the 20th at Hazelrigg. Overall it was the most thundery month since June 1982, and the most thundery August since 1960.