SEVERE WEATHER RECORD 2000
summary of severe weather warnings
and other notable weather extremes for
Northamptonshire since February 1998.
7-10 February Strong winds and driving rain associated with a succession of fronts affect the county. Gusts reached gale force on 8th (57mph) and 9th (52mph). The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the morning of 10th February as driving conditions become treach- erous on the main trunk routes across the Northampton Uplands. 27 February 12.2mm of rain falls in 6.5 hours. Further rain on 28th and 29th February results in flood warnings being issued on the River Great Ouse in the south of the county near Brackley. 14 March 11 consecutive days without rain, only trace being recorded on 9th. March total as of 14th: 4.2mm. The passage of a cold front southwards during the morning produced a significant gust front with winds recorded up to 53mph. 31 March Second driest March since 1972. Only 12.8mm recorded at Pitsford Hall, 28.7% of the March average. Rain falls on only 7 days. 2-4 April Heavy rain and showers of snow and sleet affect much of the county. 15.5mm and 18.6mm of rainfall recorded on the 2nd and 3rd respectively. Rainfall on the 3rd accompanied by strong winds with gale force gusts (56mph). Lying snow recorded on the hilly tracts of the Northampton Uplands around Thornby and Naseby. 23 April Several days of wet weather brings chaos to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Police are forced to turn away spectators as car parks become unusable due to waterlogging. April rainfall at Pitsford Hall currently standing at 89.7mm, 188% of the April average (61-90), with complete saturation of the ground being recorded everyday since the 12th. 15 mile tail backs reported on the approach roads to the grand prix circuit. The local vicar is ferried by helicopter to conduct Easter Sunday services in surrounding villages. The organisers are criticised for not fore- seeing the bad weather with the event having been moved from July.
Click here for Silverstone news report.
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30 April The wettest April since 1998 and the second wettest since 1920 is recorded at Pitsford Hall with a total of 108.6mm, more than twice the April average of 47.7mm.
Click here for the local newspaper's feature on April's weather.
Note that the article refers to 1891, this should read 1920. This April was the first for 9 months to have near normal temperatures. The average of 8.0C was just 0.3C short of the average for April. 26-27 May Heavy rain results in widespread flooding and difficult driving conditions across the county. Totals: 0830-0830 (26th) 19.8mm, 0830- 0830 (27th) 21.8mm. The latter occurred despite 9.7 hours of bright sunshine. The county escaped the worst affects of the flooding in the eastern counties which centred on Essex. 30 May Intense thunderstorm deposits 11.9mm of rain in 1.3 hours. Widespread flooding on roads in many areas as storm drains are unable to cope with the volume of water. Storm accompanied by spectacular fork lightning. 17-19 June Heat wave affects the county. Air maxima: 26.1C on 17th, 29.4C on 18th and 30.3 on 19th, the hottest June day in Northampton since 1995 (30.6C). Sunshine totals: 12.7hrs on 17th, 12.5hrs on 18th and 12.2hrs on 19th. 1-3 July A thundery start to July. Intermittent moderate and heavy showers associated with southward moving fronts. Notable fall of 5.9mm over 2.3 hours on 3rd. 28-29 July Heavy and thundery showers reported across much of the county. On 28th reports of a house being struck by lightning in Irthlingborough. 3 August Thunderstorm with heavy showers and significant lightning close to the station. 6.7mm fell in just 15 minutes just after 1700hrs BST. Total rainfall over the period 0830 (3rd) to 0830 (4th): 7.6mm. 14-19 September Prolonged spell of wet weather across the county. 19.5mm fell on 14th, followed by 7.1mm on 17th and 10.5mm on 19th. Following the rains on the 19th several flood warnings were issued on local rivers. 23 September Earth tremor centred on Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, felt at Pitsford Hall. Time: 05.23BST, 4.2 on the richter scale. The event shook the rooftop screen leaving a record in the thermograph trace. Vibrations continued for approx. 5 seconds. Reports indicated that the tremors were especially noticeable in the Northamptonshire Uplands around Guilsborough. No structural damage was reported from any location across the county. 11 October Intense low pressure tracks across the United Kingdom becoming centred over Northamptonshire at around 0300GMT. Pressure recorded at 965mb (reduced to sea level). Winds gusted to 48mph as the system approached on the 10th, but winds were remarkably calm as the centre of the low passed through early on the 11th. Heavy rain over the previous couple of days led to flood warnings being issued some rivers. Rainfall on 9th - 9.0mm, rainfall on 10th - 15.0mm. However, the county escaped the severe flooding which occurred in Kent and Sussex. 29-30 October Severe weather conditions lash Northamptonshire as southern Britain is hit by gale force winds and rain. Commuters in the county are stranded as trains are cancelled and falling trees and debris block roads. The Environment Agency issues flood alerts for the Rivers Nene, Avon and Ouse. Traffic came to standstill when a bus crashed into a fallen tree on Wellingborough Road in Northampton, while the A438 between West Haddon and East Haddon and the A50 at Welford were also blocked by trees toppled by winds. Speed restrictions were also put in place on the M1. Gusts of more than 70mph caused disruption to train services. All trains out of Northampton were cancelled during the morning of the 30th and there were long delays on trains out of Wellingborough on the Midland Main Line. 28.7mm of rain fell over 12.5 hours between 0900hrs on the 29th and 0900hrs on the 30th. The highest recorded gust at Pitsford Hall was 54mph shortly before 0900hrs on the 30th. Among the worst affected areas was the A508 from Road to Northampton, Blisworth village and roads between Daventry and Napton. Apart from fallen trees, no reports of severe structural damage were recorded, the county lying just north of the main swathe of disruption to the south.
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5 November A severe flood warning is issued for the River Nene as further rainfall is forecast for the county. The period since the 30th October has seen significant rainfall across England and Wales with scores of rivers having burst their banks or on severe flood warnings. 200 people have been evacuated from their homes in Northamptonshire. 6 November 25.6mm since 0900hrs on 5 November (Pitsford Hall). Flood warnings released for the River Ise in Kettering and Wellingborough. Police officers reassure care homes and elderly people in the Far Cotton and St James area of Northampton, areas devastated by floods in 1998. Weedon, Kislingbury and Bugbrooke are placed on flood alert. 7 November Severe flood alert on the River Ise at Geddington. Several homes are inundated by the floodwater as further rain falls overnight. 6 December Rare winter thunderstorm centred over Wilby. The following report was sent in from weather correspondent Jeremy Borrett. "This morning, between 1am and 1:30am, Wilby had a thunderstorm with a very heavy shower and some moderate easterly to south-easterly winds. It resulted with two lightning strikes with two thunderclaps which included one right above the house(wasn't as loud as you might think!) and the other was about a mile away. It resulted in 8mm of rain in around 30 minutes." At Pitsford Hall only 0.8mm was recorded in the same period. 8 December Flooding experts keep an eye on the River Nene after heavy rain (16.4mm at Pitsford Hall since 0900GMT on 7th) causes rivers to burst their banks across the country. The river is placed on 'floodwatch'. Flood alerts are issued overnight on the Great Ouse between Brackley and Buckingham and the River Avon upstream from Rugby. Strong winds also cause disruption on the railway as branches are blown on to cables. In the evening the Environment Agency issues a flood warning for the Great Ouse on the Northamptonshire border between Thornborough and Stony Stratford. The River Nene and tributaries continue on 'floodwatch' warning.
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12-13 December Gale force winds whip across the county. Gusts exceed 60mph in many parts (56mph recorded at Pitsford Hall). 5 lorries are blown over on the M1 motorway near Crick and trains out of Northampton are cancelled as debris is blown on to the line. 28 December First snowfall of the winter across the county. Depth of lying snow at Pitsford Hall at 0900GMT 8.0cm. Snow fell continuously from 0430 to 0930GMT (3.1mm rainfall equivalent). 29 December Following a sharp frost (-7.4C air minimum at Pitsford Hall), icy roads and frozen snow cause chaos on the county's roads despite night-long gritting. The icy conditions result in 30 accidents during the morning rush hour. Temperatures remain below freezing all day (-0.4C air maximum). 30 December Icy conditions continue. Depth of lying snow 5cm. Grass minimum thermometer at Pitsford Hall (reset above snow surface) registers -13.6C. Overnight air minimum -5.8C.
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The weather extremes documented here are generally only those observed at Pitsford Hall Weather Station. Reports received of extreme events in other parts of the county are indicated by *.