1 Sep 2013

Potten End Newsletter Article 10

This article originally appeared in the Potten End Newsletter, September 2013.

Potten End Weather

“The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place 
is that the same place isn’t there the second time.” 
― Willie Tyler

At last, after a run of wash-out summers, we’ve finally had a summer worth talking about. July may not have been the hottest on record, but it was close. The Met Office put it in the top three on record. In Potten End it was the second hottest on record with a high of 34.9°C. In our records, the hottest July was in 2006 with a high of 35.2°C.

The long July heat wave was aided by a jet stream located to the north of the UK which kept a nice stable high pressure area over most of the UK.

Spectacular thunderstorms around the country marked the end of the heat wave. It’s quite common for storms like this to form at the end of a heat wave. Water vapour rising with the warm air forms water droplets which combine and turn to ice crystals as the air rises higher. The ice crystals fall as hail and pick up a negative electrical charge by rubbing against smaller positively charged ice crystals. This results in a negative charge forming at the base of the cloud and a positive charge forming at the top of the cloud. The negative charge is attracted to the surface of the earth and other clouds and objects. When the negative charge becomes too strong, lightning is discharged which balances the charge within the cloud.

Some interesting facts about lightning:
  • On average, a lightning bolt lasts for about one 10,000th of a second.
  • A lightning bolt contains enough energy to light a 100 Watt light bulb continuously for three months.
  • Lightning speeds through the air at around 75 miles per second (around 270,000 miles per hour).
  • Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun reaching temperatures of around 30,000°C.

September Outlook

September marks the beginning of the meteorological autumn. We can obviously expect the temperatures to drop a little and the evenings will start to darken earlier. We can expect average temperatures of between 10.1°C and 19.6°C and a little more rain than August – typically around 30-50mm over the month.

Weather Online

Don’t forget that you can check on the weather in Potten End wherever you are by going to http://www.pottenend.org where there is also an archive of all previous articles, historical weather data and other interesting information.

You can also subscribe to the Potten End Weather Twitter feed at @pottenend. Live weather information is tweeted several times a day.

Please note that if you send twitter messages to @pottenend about local information or events, they can be re-tweeted to all of the Potten End Weather twitter followers.