25th July-22nd August 1995: Hot, dry and sunny!
Posted 21 August 2012 - 16:45
"I believe daily sunshine values of 9.15 hours/day (283.8 hours) were recorded at Silent Valley, Co. Down, though the sunniest summer was 7.73 hours/day (711.2 hours) at Newtownards, Co. Down, equalling that of Rosslare, Co. Wexford in 1995, which I think may also have had its sunniest summer on record (and it is normally rather sunnier than north-east Ireland)."
Apparently the figure for Silent Valley is incorrect and the highest sunshine figure for Northern Ireland in August 1995 was at Ballywatticock, Co. Down (the Newtownards mentioned above), which however did equal Rosslare for summer sunshine in 1995. I have the actual figure for Ballywatticock somewhere, which I think may have been around 8.5 hours or so per day; it is possible that this total was exceeded somewhere in Northern Ireland in August 1947 or 1976.
"The only rainless July I know of is 1955, which ironically still holds the record fpr the largest daily rainfall of 279 mm in the standard rainfall day, from 0900 GMT on 18th to 0900 GMT on 19th July at Martinstown, Dorset."
I should have stated that this refers to Britain, where parts of Suffolk and Cornwall, e.g. around Camborne, recorded no rainfall in July 1955 (even though the largest 24 hour total of rainfall for the standard 0900 to 0900 GMT period of 279 mm occurred at Martinstown, Dorset, on 18/19 July 1955 (see http://www.personal....her_in_july.htm - a larger total of 316.4 mm was recorded in 24 hours at Seathwaite in Cumbria around 18th/19th November 2009, though this was not in the stabndard 0900 to 0900 GMT period - see
http://www.personal....in_november.htm). Among the lowest July totals I am aware of for a site in Ireland is 5 mm at Sallagh Springs, Larne, Co. Antrim, in July 1955, although I think Armagh Observatory recorded slightly over 4 mm in an earlier July, possibly 1878; interestingly I think 1st July 1955 was the wettest July day on average for Northern Ireland as a whole, with over 25 mm of rain, although obviously Larne missed out on the worst of this. Howeveer very shortly after, the weather, after a cold wet June, changed completely with hot dry weather predominating for the rest of July and August. 1983 was someewhat similar, as June was fairly undistinguished, if drier than in 1955, and I remember 1st July as a wet day, but a heatwave soon began to give the hottest ever month and indeed hottest and I think driest summer in Northern Ireland up to that date, with the temperature rising to a joint record for any month in Northern Ireland, with June 1976, of 30.8 deg. C. on 12th July at Shaws Bridge near Belfast. Subsequently though, summer 1995 was to prove even hotter and drier than 1983, and was also the sunniest summer on record in Northern Ireland (I think 1968 was actually the 2nd sunniest, and can't remember whether 1976 was sunnier than 1983; August 1976 was certainly sunnier than July or August 1983). August 1995 was also hotter than July 1983 in Northern Ireland, and July 2006 was also warmer than July 1983 although slightly cooler than August 1995, which is likely to remain the warmest month on record in Northern Ireland for many years to come, although as indicated above the warmest non-calendar period corresponding to a month was from about 22nd July to 21st August. During this period I can remember only one slightly cooler and cloudy period, perhaps not surprisingly, a weekend around 12th-13th August! (though the following weekend was extremely hot and this lasted to the Monday 21st).