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Intense thunderstorms 5 / 6 July 1991


Portland Paul

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Posted
  • Location: Portland, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Mixed winters and springs, thundery summers and meditteranean autumns
  • Location: Portland, Dorset

Hi all, 

Does anyone have any stats or satellite pics etc regarding the evening and overnight period of this intense belt of thunderstorms moving north through England and Wales? 

Off memory, May 1991 was very dry, dull and cold, then June 1991 became very wet and was mostly cool. During the first few days in July, low pressure sank southwards into Biscay allowing very warm and humid easterly airflow to affect the UK. Later on Friday 5th, torrential downpours moved up from the Channel to bring a succession of intense thunderstorms overnight in the Midlands, and it felt remarkably sultry and tropical. 

Anyone with any recollection of this night? 

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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

Yes I remember that period. It was the first really warm to hot week of the year, after what was a really cold May and June period and cold snowy February during the previous winter.

I was in secondary school then, on a field trip and returned from Wales the weekend before. That week produced many days in the upper twenties, but by the Friday it turned very humid. I remember living in Chelsea at the time and seeing the lightning and hearing the distant thunder, around the 12.30 to 1am mark. The storms didn’t hit us directly, think they we further south towards Sussex or southern Surrey. 

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  • 4 years later...
Posted
  • Location: Poole, Dorset
  • Location: Poole, Dorset

Hi Paul, very late to this thread but I thought you may still be interested in my account and photo.

I was at home in Poole (Holes bay area) that day. I remember noticing an unusually detailed and patterned sky in the late afternoon, lite with a slightly orange hue. I had just turned 15 and whilst interested in the weather I didn't have my 'eye in' yet for the clouds, but it was probably tightly clustered bands of Altocumulus castellanus or Floccus.

It was about 1 or 2 hour later, I was in the garden, it was very warm and cloudy. My dad pointed out the sky to the south. A very dark wedge of blue-black cloud had appeared above the roof tops to our south. It had a very clean leading edge which created a stark contrast to the layer of cloud above. The inky mass steadily moved North to fill the sky completely. At the same time the humidity increased dramatically making the air feel thick and oppressive. The cloud base was dark and visibly moving and rolling, bubbling downwards and back into the cloud base. It looked a lot like the clouds in the film Close encounters, but not moving as fast! I stood there a gasp and then bolted inside to grab the camera (a weather nut was born).

This cloud passaged over us for probably 15 or 20 minutes. Soon after distant sheet lightning could be seen to the South. The rain began but only one heavy bust and then steady moderate rain for a couple of hours. The lightning was perhaps every 10/20 seconds apart and coming within a couple of miles at its closest. I remember seeing 2 distinct cells, one to the West and one to the East as it travelled away North.

I've definitely seen more intense lightning storms here but this one will always stick with me for the dramatic entrance and nature of the clouds to which effect I have not seen again since. The change in temperature and humidity and the feeling of being in the presence of a seemingly almost living creature.

I didn't know the date until recently, only that it was July/August 1991. But I have been reliably informed by @Summer8906 that it must be the 5th July as that was the only thundery breakdown of that window.

I would be interested to hear yours or others account of this event if they exist on here?20220512_165338.thumb.jpg.f0e8abeba205d4fa1277b6dbbe94efe1.jpg

I can only find one photo at the moment but there are 2 or 3 more somewhere.

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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

Interesting to see this one again.

I remember commenting on this a few years back. I remember that week being quite warm or even hot for a while. I saw the lightning and heard the rumbles of thunder, but my part of London didn’t get hit directly. We did however, get the rain so must have been on the edge of the storm. Think Sussex and Surrey took the brunt of those storms.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was a student in Birmingham at the time and we were at a house party all night before dossing down on sofas etc. it was a warm balmy night but I do remember some big storms arriving in the early hours. The following day was cooler but quite dull and muggy before sunnier and fresher conditions moved in two days later.

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Posted
  • Location: Cirencester
  • Weather Preferences: Supercells
  • Location: Cirencester

I'm wondering if this is the evening/night I remember here near Cirencester. I'll always remember these storms as they were wedge shaped - very well defined and solid, with (as you say) the leading edge not your typical anvil.shape but literally wedge looking and straight at the back. We had 3 or 4 - one of them looked right over swindon and had an amazing amount of CG's. I would love to get hold of a picture, or satellite, or anything. Not sure if they were supercells, but definitely single cell storms each one isolated. 

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1 hour ago, samadamsuk said:

I'm wondering if this is the evening/night I remember here near Cirencester. I'll always remember these storms as they were wedge shaped - very well defined and solid, with (as you say) the leading edge not your typical anvil.shape but literally wedge looking and straight at the back. We had 3 or 4 - one of them looked right over swindon and had an amazing amount of CG's. I would love to get hold of a picture, or satellite, or anything. Not sure if they were supercells, but definitely single cell storms each one isolated. 

Hi mate, I’m just trying to picture what you are all describing as wedge shaped clouds. We’re they as if the anvil almost dragged on miles ahead of the cell almost like the shape of a wedge you put under a door? Or were they almost like just a flat solid 90 degree wall of towering cumulonimbus drifting towards you?

sounds fascinating anyway!

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Posted
  • Location: Cirencester
  • Weather Preferences: Supercells
  • Location: Cirencester
11 hours ago, Darth Radar said:

Hi mate, I’m just trying to picture what you are all describing as wedge shaped clouds. We’re they as if the anvil almost dragged on miles ahead of the cell almost like the shape of a wedge you put under a door? Or were they almost like just a flat solid 90 degree wall of towering cumulonimbus drifting towards you?

sounds fascinating anyway!

Hi Mate. Pretty well like a door wedge yeah - the anvils were sort of 45 degrees from base to top, and not a canopy in front of them (from memory)  - just a solid wall - must have been some uniform directional sheer maybe. I didn't see if there was a meso on the back of them - I didn't k ow about storms at that point - the barrage of cats was intense though! 

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Posted
  • Location: Cirencester
  • Weather Preferences: Supercells
  • Location: Cirencester
12 hours ago, Darth Radar said:

Hi mate, I’m just trying to picture what you are all describing as wedge shaped clouds. We’re they as if the anvil almost dragged on miles ahead of the cell almost like the shape of a wedge you put under a door? Or were they almost like just a flat solid 90 degree wall of towering cumulonimbus drifting towards you?

sounds fascinating anyway!

Simar to the main CB in this but perfectly solid - not whispy in any way. About 3 or 4 isolated cells like this in different directions. 

 

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Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

Strangely Philip Eden makes no mention of this storm in his very good weather book, 'Great British Weather Disasters'. And I don't remember it either, although that may have been because I was in Lancashire at the time and too far north to be affected.

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  • 1 year later...
Posted
  • Location: Bentley Heath
  • Location: Bentley Heath

This was the weekend I went up to Sheffield, to see a band I and a few mates were into,, called CUD (Still around, I saw them last December in Brum) . I was in a T-Shirt, but when we got to Sheffield we were freezing when we came out of the club at 2am, after the gig (It was the Leadmill). 

We slept rough as we could not blag anyone to doss down with, so slept on the bus station and were moved onto the railway station. I was freezing and thought that this isn't what it should be like in July! 

 

So it probably did not affect the whole of the UK.

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