How long was the heatwave of 1976? How the current UK weather compares to the famous summer drought

Temperatures in the UK are skyrocketing amid the current heatwave, with Saturday being the hottest day of the year in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Sunday taking the title in England and Wales.

Temperatures have reached over 30 ° C in the south and are expected to remain very high until at least Thursday.

The warm weather has led to comparisons with a similar period of extreme heat in 1976 – one of the driest, sunniest, and hottest summers of the twentieth century.

Here’s how the heatwave of the 1970s compares to today’s weather.

What happened during the heatwave of 1976?

The summer of 1976 is considered the hottest summer for over 350 years, although the summer of 1995 is now considered the driest.

It was so bad that the government of the day introduced a drought law and even appointed a drought minister, Denis Howell, whose job was to encourage the public to use less water.

Like today’s heatwave, the 1976 heatwave involved the same type of persistent high pressure that caused temperatures to rise.

In 1976, a particular pattern formed in which there was cool water near Greenland, warm water further south, and then more cold water closer to the British Isles – and research showed how this pattern of sea temperatures may be related to hotter and drier summers in UK.

The high pressure system was centered further east of the UK, drawing warm, humid air from the south, resulting in sweltering nighttime temperatures similar to those we have seen in recent days.

How long did this last?

The summer heatwave of 1976 lasted for 15 consecutive days, from June 23 to July 7, 1976 – some areas not having rained for months.

This prompted a famous T-shirt slogan – “Save Water.” Bath with a friend. ‘

What temperatures have been reached?

In the 1976 heatwave, the hottest day of all was July 3, with temperatures reaching 35.9 ° C (96.6 ° F) in Cheltenham.

This week, highs of 31.6C (88.9F) were recorded at Heathrow and 30.2C (86.4F) in Cardiff, according to the Met Office.

Sunday’s scorching temperatures capped a record-breaking weekend that saw the four British nations reach new heights.

It was the hottest day on record in Northern Ireland on Saturday, with 31.2 ° C recorded in Ballywatticock, County Down at 3:40 p.m., surpassing the previous highest temperature of 30.8 ° C, which reached the July 12, 1983 and June 30, 1976.

In England, 30.3 ° C was recorded at Coton In The Elms in Derbyshire on Saturday, exceeding the 29.7 ° C recorded in southwest London on June 14.

Also on Saturday record temperatures were recorded in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales, at 29.6 ° C, and Threave, in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, at 28.2 ° C.

The Met Office issued its first extreme heat warning on Monday, which is expected to last until Friday in parts of the country.

The new warning was only created last month, largely due to the impact of climate change.

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