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The Top 10 Poorest Summers since 1900
Many people are complaining about the poor summer weather this year (2011), and compared with recent years it is fairly indifferent. However, since 1900 there have been several very bad Summers.
How is a poor summer defined?

Firstly, summer  for the purpose of  this article uses the calendar months of June, July and August.  It is also accepted that a poor summer is very subjective, with farmers often wanting June rains, and July or August dry weather for harvesting. Gardeners tend to want a mixture of rain and sunshine, and holiday-makers usually wish for dry weather. No-one particularly wants cool conditions, but a combination of heavy rain and low temperatures is generally the least beneficial weather for most outdoor  events. Therefore, in this article equal weighting is given to both temperatures and rainfall. Rather than combine rainfall totals for the three months, a ranking system has been used for the individual months. For example, in June,  1976 was the driest month and has been allocated 1 point; June in 1972 was the wettest and given 111 points. A similar system was used for warm months and cool months. The higher the total, the worse the summer. Sunshine totals have been ignored for this article, mainly because several of the cool summer months have had sunny starts to the days but afternoons had become depressingly cloudy and cool. To reiterate, this is very subjective!

10th poorest summer......... 1912 with 489 points

June was cool and wet, and the maximum temperature on the 7th was only 14 Celsius, but  there were some good days during the third and fourth weeks. July was a very dull month. but it was fairly dry and temperatures for the month were actually above normal. On the 12th the temperature rose above 30 Celsius, but the high on the 19th was only 14 Celsius. August 1912 was an exceptionally dull, cool and wet month. The highest temperature, on the 4th,  was only 21 Celsius, and there were no sunny days. Over 130 millimetres of rain were measured, including around 25 millimetres on the 26th.

9th poorest summer........... 1980 with 495 points

The temperature reached 29 Celsius on the 4th, but June was generally cool and unsettled. Towards the end of the month there were several very cool windy days, and on the 23rd the temperature only reached 14 Celsius. July was both cool and wet., with 3 consecutive days during the second week having maxima below 16 Celsius. There were several warm and sunny days late in the month, and on the 25th the temperature reached 28 Celsius. August was a 'westerly' month, and although rainfall was below normal, and temperatures were close to average, there were no warm spells. 

8th= poorest summer..........1902 with 497 points

After a cool and wet May, the start of June was little better. The second week was particularly poor, with a maximum temperature on the 9th of only 12 Celsius, and with over 25 millimetres of rain falling on the 13th. There was some fine and warm weather at the end of the month but the beginning of July was cool and unsettled. However, July was generally a dry and quite sunny month, but with winds mainlyy arriving from the northwest, it was often cool, especially at night.  August was changeable and cool. Over 20 millimetres of rain fell on the 6th and there were no maxima above 25 Celsius.

8th= poorest summer..........1922 with 497 points

Summer was confined to late May and early June during this year. In fact, the highest temperature of the year (30 Celsius) occurred on the 24th May. On the 14th June the temperature only reached 12 Celsius, nevertheless, further fine and pleasantly warm days occurred,  and  rainfall was well below average. July  was a very cool and changeable month with temperatures not rising above 25 Celsius.  There was also  no warm spell during August with day-time temperatures remaining below 23 Celsius. Although rainfall for the month was slightly below average, days were frequently cloudy.  

6th poorest summer............1924 with 513 points

Over 24 millimetrres of rain fell on the first day of the month, and although there was plenty of dry weather, further heavy downpours led to double the monthly average. Temperatures were generally close to normal, but the maximum on the 13th was only 13 Celsius and on no days did maxima exceed 25 Celsius. July was another wet month and once again there were heavy downpours. On the 17th over 25 millimetres of rain fell. It was rather cool, but there were sunny and warm days, and the temperature on the 12th reached 30 Celsius. August was cool, dull and rather wet with no warm spells.  

5th poorest summer............1927 with 536 points

June was a cool, dull and wet month with the worst of the weather occurring during the last week. The warmest day of the summer was a ,mere 26.7 Celsius on the 16th June.  July was even duller than June, but although it was a rather wet month, most of the rain fell in heavy downpours, including the 27 millimetres that fell on the 11th. The heavy rain fell after a rare warm day when the temperature reached 26 Celsius. On the 17th the temperature only rose to 14 Celsius. Over 100 millimetres of rain fell in August, and in a cool month,  it wasn't until the last day that the temperature exceeded 24 Celsius.

4th poorest  summer..........1946 with 537 points

The cool, dull and wet weather of May continued throughout June. The highest temperature of the month was only 23 Celsius, and although daily rainfall totals were not especially high, the monthly accumulation was over 60% above average. July was a sunny month.with temperatures not far from normal, and on the 12th a maximum of 28 Celsius occurred. Rain totalled over 75 millimetres, but 53 millimetres of that rain fell on the 26th, with most of it falling in just half an hour.  August was a dull and wet month. It was also very cool, although on the 5th the temperature reached 26 Celsius. 

3rd poorest summer...........1954 with 558 points

The temperature reached 27 Celsius on the 27th May and again on the 1st September but the summer in between was awful.June was particularly dull, cool and wet. The highest temperature was only 23 Celsius and by the end of the month over 100 millimetres of rain had been recorded. Temperatures were very low during July with 23 Celsius again the highest value. It was a dull month, but rainfall was not far from the average. The temperature almost reached 25 Celsius on the 4th of August but the month was again disappointingly wet and also cool. On the 19th the maximum was only 14 Celsius.  

2nd poorest summer..........1956 with 564 points

Rainfall was only slightly above normal in June but it was a decidedly dull month, and it was often very cool. On the 8th, a day of rain and drizzle was accompanied by a maximum temperature of only 12 Celsius. Slightly better weather occurred during the last week, and the temperature on the 25th almost reached 24 Celsius. Although there were plenty of dry days during July, some heavy downpours occurred. On the 9th over 60 millimetres of rain fell, contributing to a monthly total of 150 millimetres. August was a dreadful month. It was wet, but above all it was cool, with no maxima exceeding 22 Celsius.

Poorest summer was 1903 with 618 points

This was an unusual summer in that when it was bad it was very bad and in between there were several good days. Above all, though, it was wet. June was one of the wettest summer months ever recorded with 183 millimetres of rain falling. Yet all the rain fell between the 9th and 20th. Over 79 millimetres of rain fell at Carshalton on the 10th and nearly 38 millimetres fell at Kew on the 13th. It was remarkably cool at times, and on the 19th the temperature only rose to 10 Celsius. By way of contrast, no measurable rain fell between the 21st June and 11th July and at times it was warm. The maximum temperature on 11th July was 28 Celsius. A deterioration in the weather occurred towards the end of the second week and the rest of the month was cool and changeable. Over 100 millimetres of rain was measured by the end of July including 32 millimetres on the 18th. Sunshine was slightly above average during August but there were no warm spells with temperatures failing to reach 25 Celsius. Close on 100 millimetres of rain were recorded during the month including a fall of 27 millimetres on the 24th.  

........and what of this summer, 2011?

It can be seen above that in the not too distant past there have been some dreadful summer months. Unless this month (August) takes a marked change for the worst, it seems unlikely  that Summer 2011 will feature in the Top Ten. June and July this year  have produced a points tally of 309. An average August will produce a further 110 points and that would give a grand total of 419 points making it the 31st poorest summer since 1900 but, more significantly the worst summer since 1988. If temperatures stay close to average it would need a very wet month for this summer to enter the top twenty, let alone the top ten, so if this month is poor, don't expect the media to go further back than 1980 for their comparisons!   

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