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September 1995, and the breakdown of the hot spell


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  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Bright weather. Warm sunny thundery summers, short cold winters.
  • Location: Hampshire

Perhaps some parallels to the current year, so it might be good to look at this one in detail - it's a year I clearly remember. However 1995 had a more potent unsettled spell with two major wind storms.

August 1995 had of course been very warm and sunny. A cold front on the 23rd ended the hot spell with some moderate rain even in the south, and the rest of August was cooler with more variable cloud, though mostly dry except a further spell of moderate rain overnight 26th/27th. On Sunday 27th, in a northerly it was quite seriously cool, for one day. If I remember right it was anticyclonic northerly during the last days of August. Long range forecasts were suggesting, right until really quite late, that September was looking very dry and anticyclonic, with a maintenance of the current conditions.

However a change occurred at, it seems, the last moment, in an echo of what apparently happened in 1976. On Saturday 2nd, following a cloudy but dry day on the 1st, a cold front (forecast to be weak originally) moved approximately NNE-SSW down the eastern side of the high but produced a short spell of quite heavy rain, accompanied by thunder. The high also, if I remember right, retreated further into the Atlantic than anticipated and pressure fell as a result.

This left a NW-ly for the rest of the weekend, and Sat afternoon was fairly sunny with Cu clouds but cooler, while Sunday was also mostly sunny and cool with scattered showers.

On Mon 4th however pressure fell further and (I think) the parent low descended from the NW, increasing the shower activity. Where I was in S Hampshire, both days started bright but featured afternoon showers, on the 5th these being particularly potent and accompanied by thunder. The position of the low also caused the wind to back further, to the W.

The 6th started bright in an interlude but later in the day, a major Atlantic low brought in rain and strong winds and these persisted into the 7th. I can't remember much about the 8th, but the 9th was another bright cool westerly day with isolated showers.

On the 10th the second major Atlantic low moved in. This was a Sunday and unfortunately its timing coincided with daylight hours, so it was a very wet, windy day, a complete contrast from the long run of relatively dry weekends just enjoyed!

This one then stuck around for a good few days, slowly filling so a number of showery days with W-NW winds. There seemed to be an alternating pattern of days, so the 11th and 13th were fairly sunny with just scattered showers while the 12th had a more pronounced trough with more extensive activity and the 14th (I think) featured a further frontal system.

This cleared though overnight 14th/15th there was a spell of really torrential rain, moving inland from the Channel though associated, I think, with the polar air behind the low. I remember incredibly dark clouds to the south on the morning of the 15th but these gradually cleared and the day was still and damp with extensive large Cu clouds and limited sunshine though these did not (surprisingly perhaps) develop into further showers and storms.

Mid-month marked the end of the most disturbed spell, with the low transferring to the near continent and hazy NE-lies developing over the weekend of the 16th/17th. Nonetheless the low was still close by and there were heavy showers within the NE-lies on both days, and some impressive, if hazy, Cbs.

The 18th featured some more prolonged rain in the evening (due, I think, to a front moving NW-wards from the same low, now over the continent) but the following week saw something of a high-pressure build and two or three sunnier days.

Finally the last week of the month saw changeable westerlies arrive with the high "toppling" though pressure wasn't so low in the south so it wasn't really wet.


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