Summer 2020

Overall, this summer was broadly in line with those of the last few years here, but conditions varied significantly over June, July and August.

Temperature

June was close to average with a maximum of  29C and a minimum of 7C. Although July's maximum was typical (28.7C) the minimum was significant lower than in recent years and the month as a whole was cooler than average. August's maximum was a new record for the weather station (34.1C) and the month was significantly above average.

August saw a heatwave from 6th - 13th with maxima well above 30C for 4 of those days and above 25C on all of them. Overnight minima were high too, with nothing less than 14C throughout that period. We were probably a little less affected than more inland areas.

Precipitation

After the drought in May (with only 2.4mm which fell on 2 days) precipitation moved back to normal levels. In fact, rainfall in June and May varies a great deal from year to year here, depending mainly on when a prolonged drier spell and how many thunderstorms directly affect the weather station location. July was slightly wetter than usual (with 46.6mm over 10 days instead of about 38mm over 6) and August was very much in line at just under 100mm over 15 days. August is usually wetter here than one might expect for a summer month. This is a combination of convective rainfall when thunderstorms and showers break out in hot, humid air drawn off the continent and one or two Atlantic cyclones that tend to occur in the latter half of the month.

Wild Fires

The Forest was very dry as summer began and continued to have some lengthy dry and warm spells, so there were a number of wildfires, particularly on heathy areas. Two of these were within 500m of the weather station. Rapid response by the Fire Brigade and Forest Workers kept the area burnt to low levels this year, despite a marked increase in visits to the Forest due to the pandemic and its impact on foreign holidays. There were more serious and extensive fires in Dorset. Almost all fires were started by barbecues or other deliberate fires going out of control. 

This article was updated on Thursday, 3 September 2020