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Heatwave and drought ends with a flash and a bang

The heatwave and drought was ended in dramatic fashion by torrential thunderstorms. Credit: Jo Clarke / Mike Talbot

As temperatures touched close to 35°C (95°F) in the Anglia region on Friday, thunderstorms in many areas brought the heatwave and drought to a crashing end.

Some places in the East of England had not seen rain for 40-50 days until the storms arrived with torrential rain and gusty winds.

Although it will be much cooler and unsettled over the weekend, the weather will again settle down next week with temperatures rising again and the summer is still on course to be among the warmest on record.

Forked lightning in a thunderstorm over the coastal resort of Sheringham in Norfolk. Credit: Barry Williams
Lightning over the sea off Great Yarmouth in Norfolk taken from Caister-on-Sea. Credit: Richard Lay

On Friday 27 July, the tiny village of Tibenham in south Norfolk was the hottest place in the UK when the temperature reached 34.7°C (94.5°C).

That made it the hottest day in the Anglia region so far in 2018 but the UK's hottest day of the year so far was Thursday 26 July when it was 35.3°C (95.5°C) in Faversham in Kent.

Faversham holds the UK record for the hottest temperature ever recorded at 38.5°C (101.3°F) on 10 August 2003.

Most places in the Anglia region exceeded 30°C (86°F) on Friday

Hailstones bigger than a 5p coin fell at Brisley near Dereham in Norfolk. Credit: Christine Roos

Torrential rain from the thunderstorms saw two weeks' worth of rain fall in a short space of time until parched ground. There were hail storms in some places too with hailstones the size of marbles, more than 1cm wide, falling at Brisley near Dereham in Norfolk

It was accompanied by strong and gusty downdraft winds which brought down tree branches in some places.

At Holbeach near The Wash in Lincolnshire, 18 mm (0.7 inches) of rain fell in five hours while Charsfield in east Suffolk saw 16 mm (0.6 inches) of rain between 7pm and 10pm on Friday. That ended a run of 39 days without rain at Charsfield.

The Broom's Barn agricultural research station near Bury St Edmunds recorded a remarkable 51 days without rain from the 5 June until 25 July inclusive.

More storm clouds on Friday evening close to Baldock in Hertfordshire. Credit: Carla Sears

Despite the break in the weather, it is still likely to be the second hottest July on record in the Anglia region with daytime maximum temperatures averaging 26°C (79°F).

It is currently the hottest July since 2006.

Maximum temperatures in the Anglia region on Friday 27 July 2018

  • 34.7°C in Tibenham, Norfolk
  • 34.4°C in Cavendish, Suffolk
  • 34.1°C in Wattisham, Suffolk
  • 34.0°C in Santon Downham, Suffolk
  • 34.0°C in Writtle, Essex
  • 33.9°C at Brooms Barn near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
  • 33.8°C in Cambridge
  • 33.4°C in Weybourne, Norfolk
  • 33.1°C in Andrewsfield near Braintree, Essex
  • 32.9°C in Marham, Norfolk
  • 32.9°C in Monks Wood near Sawtry, Cambridgeshire
  • 32.6°C in Charsfield, Suffolk
  • 32.1°C in Houghton, Norfolk
  • 31.9°C in Wittering, Cambridgeshire
  • 31.6°C in Bedford
  • 30.9°C in Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  • 30.9°C in Woburn, Bedfordshire
  • 30.8°C in Cromer, Norfolk
  • 30.3°C in Shoeburyness, Essex
Storm clouds gathering on Friday afternoon at Ramsey St Mary in Cambridgeshire. Credit: Chris Mitchell

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