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1956 Rather Cool and Dull. Cold February; Poor Summer
In the year that both Morocco and Tunisia gained independence from France, President Nasser of Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal provoking a short war with France, Israel and Britain; and the Soviet Red Army brutally suppressed an uprising by the people of Hungary. In the world of music, the first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Switzerland and the UK charts were dominated by Ronnie Hilton with 'No Other Love', Doris Day with 'Whatever Will Be Will Be'; and at the end of the year Johnny Ray spent 7 weeks at the top of the UK charts with 'Just Walking In The Rain'.
Weather Notes:-
11th June - Over 150mm of rain fell in 2 hours at Hewenden Reservoir, south of Keighley (West Yorkshire).
29th July - A deep depression crossed the UK bringing severe gales and heavy rain. Gusts of over 70kn occurred along the south coast, and in northeast Scotland over 100m of rain fell in places.
6th August - Severe hailstorms in Sussex and Kent. Both Tunbridge Wells (Kent) and Arundel (West Sussex) had over 25cm of level hail in places, with Arundel having the equivalent of over 40mm of rain in less than 20 minutes.

In London...
 Temperature  9.8°C  Rainfall619.0 mm  Warmest 27.6°C
 Sunshine1434 hrs   Coldest -8.3°C

JanuaryWet with above normal temperatures and sunshine.
 Mean Temperature  4.5°C  
 Monthly Highest 12.1°C  Total Rain 94 mm
 Monthly Lowest -5.1°C Total Sun 50 hrs

There was plenty of dry weather during the first 9 days of January, but it was often cold and foggy. On the 5th, there was fog all day, and the maximum temperature on the 9th was only 1.7°C. The weather then became mostly mild and changeable. On the 10th, nearly 16mm of rain fell, and the temperature on the 26th rose above 12°C. At the end of the month, east winds developed and it became colder. The minimum temperature on the 30th/31st was below minus 5°C. 

February - Very cold and dry with normal sunshine.
 Mean Temperature -0.1°C  
 Monthly Highest 12.0°C  Total Rain  5 mm
 Monthly Lowest -8.3°C Total Sun 64 hrs

The beginning of February was exceptionally cold, and the highest temperature on the 1st was only minus 4.3°C. Although most nights were frosty, daytime highs generally rose above freezing during the first fortnight, There was a little snow, and on the 12th, it equated to over 1mm of rain. During the second half of February it was very cold with 6 consecutive days when maxima were below freezing. However, the last few days of the month became much milder. 

March - Dry, sunny and rather mild.
 Mean Temperature  7.1°C  
 Monthly Highest 16.5°C  Total Rain  20 mm
 Monthly Lowest -2.3°C Total Sun 143 hrs

The early part of March was mostly mild and changeable. On the 3rd, over 9mm of rain fell. During the second week it became colder with some frosty nights, and the maximum temperature on the 13th was only 3.4°C. There was plenty of dry weather and there were lengthy spells of sunshine. There were further dry and sunny days after mid month with rainfall light and short-lived. It became milder, too and the afternoon temperature on the 26th was above 16°C.

April - Cold and dry with below average sunshine.
 Mean Temperature  7.5°C  
 Monthly Highest 18.1°C  Total Rain  24 mm
 Monthly Lowest -0.5°C Total Sun 146 hrs

The first week of the month was mostly cold and rather cloudy. The maximum temperature on the 6th was only 7.5°C. During the second week, the weather became warmer but unsettled. On the 10th, the afternoon temperature exceeded 18°C., and on the 13th nearly 8mm of rain fell, After mid month, there was plenty of dry weather, but it was mostly rather cold with large amounts of cloud. However, there were a few clear nights with ground frost, and some sunny days.

May - Very dry, sunny and rather warm.
 Mean Temperature 13.4°C  
 Monthly Highest 24.6°C  Total Rain   6 mm
 Monthly Lowest  2.9°C Total Sun 257 hrs

High pressure dominated the weather during May bringing plenty of dry and sunny weather. Weak fronts occasionally brought bands of cloud with rain or light showers, and on the 9th, over 1mm of rain fell. Temperatures were mostly above normal, but a chilly northeast wind accompanied a high of only 13.3°C. on the 18th. During the last week it became warm, but after a high near 25°C. on the 28th, over 1mm of rain fell on the 29th and it became cooler.  

June - Dull and cool with above average rainfall.
 Mean Temperature 14.3°C  
 Monthly Highest 23.8°C  Total Rain  47 mm
 Monthly Lowest  7.0°C Total Sun 147 hrs

The beginning of June was mostly cool or very cool and changeable. The 8th was a particularly unpleasant day with 11mm of rain falling and a maximum temperature of only 12.1°C. After mid month, the weather remained mostly cool and unsettled, but during the last week of June it was somewhat warmer with more in the way of sunshine. The afternoon temperature on the 25th rose close to 24°C., and on the 27th there was a day of almost unbroken sun. 

July - Very wet, rather cool and dull.
 Mean Temperature 16.8°C  
 Monthly Highest 27.6°C  Total Rain 151 mm
 Monthly Lowest  9.2°C Total Sun 173 hrs

There was plenty of dry, if rather cloudy, weather during July with measurable rain only falling on 11 days. However, the rain that fell was often heavy and thundery. On the 9th, over 60mm was measured, with a further 39mm recorded on the 19th. The temperature only reached 15.2°C. on the 13th, but during the last week it became briefly warm, and the high on the 27th was above 27°C. It then became very unsettled and windy. A gust near 60kn occurred on the 29th.  

August - Very cool, wet and rather dull.
 Mean Temperature 14.9°C  
 Monthly Highest 21.9°C  Total Rain   93 mm
 Monthly Lowest  7.0°C Total Sun 165 hrs

A series of Atlantic depressions crossed the country during August bringing bands of rain followed by sunshine and showers. Some of the rain was heavy and thundery, and on the 27th, nearly 16mm of rain fell. There were no warm days during August, although the maximum temperature on the 8th rose close to 22°C. It was mostly cool or very cool with some of the lowest temperatures occurring at the end of the month. The maximum on the 30th was only 14.1°C.

September - Rather dull with above average temperatures and near normal rainfall. 
 Mean Temperature 15.5°C  
 Monthly Highest 24.0°C  Total Rain   51 mm
 Monthly Lowest  9.3°C Total Sun 111 hrs

The beginning of September was mostly very cool and changeable. The maximum temperature on the 1st was only 14.0°C., and on the 2nd, nearly 13mm of rain fell. After the first week, temperatures rose above normal with some mild nights,  and although cloud amounts were often large, there was plenty of dry weather. On the 23rd, the temperature briefly rose to 24°C., but it then became cooler and unsettled again although the last day of the month was sunny. 

October - Rather cold and sunny with below average rainfall.
 Mean Temperature 10.0°C  
 Monthly Highest 17.0°C  Total Rain  54 mm
 Monthly Lowest  1.0°C Total Sun 112 hrs

The first day of October was very wet with over 35mm of rain falling. During the remainder of the month, although unsettled at times, the rain was mainly light and there was plenty of dry and sunny weather. On the 16th, the temperature rose to 17°C., but generally values were below normal. During the last week it became cold at times with overnight ground frosts. On the 30th, the maximum temperature was only 8.3°C. However, there was plenty of sunshine.

November - Very dry and rather cold with above average sunshine.
 Mean Temperature  6.5°C  
 Monthly Highest 13.5°C  Total Rain 10 mm
 Monthly Lowest -4.0°C Total Sun 58 hrs

There was plenty of dry weather early in november, and temperatures were mostly close to normal. On the 8th it was sunny all day and mild, the afternoon temperature exceeded 13°C. Around mid month the weather was changeable for a while, and on the 14th over 5mm of rain fell. It then became mainly settled, but colder. During the last 10 days of the month there were some sharp frosts and lingering fog. On the 24th, the maximum temperature was only 2.9°C. 

December - Very dull, mild and rather wet.
 Mean Temperature  6.7°C  
 Monthly Highest 13.1°C  Total Rain  65 mm
 Monthly Lowest -1.5°C Total Sun   9 hrs

The first 3 weeks of December were mostly very mild and cloudy with rain and drizzle. On the 12th, the temperature reached 13°C. During the third week it became less changeable and eventually colder. On both the 19th and 20th dense fog occurred, and on the 25th light snow fell with a maximum temperature of only 1.7°C. The weather became milder and unsettled after Christmas, and on the 28th, nearly 9mm of rain fell, but there were also a few sunny interludes.

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