2008 – no weather to speak of Posted on January 2, 2009

I didn’t recognize the awful wet summer everyone was complaining about last year, and there is certainly little sign of it in the daily record I have been keeping (for the past 37 years, I realize, counting the weather-stained volumes on the shelf). But then Essex is notoriously dry, with the corollary that we don’t do badly for sunshine. In fact we live halfway between England’s two best-known addresses for jam, Tiptree and Elsenham (the latter, alas, no more), so there is a long record of good fruit-growing weather.

Last August was certainly drizzly, with a trace of rain on two days and measurable rain on 13. Only ten days gave us any sunshine, while the highest temperature was a meagre 74° Fahrenheit (and the lowest 50°). July was a much better month, with nine days in the high 70°s F, sunshine on 16 days and measurable rain on ten. Still admittedly a disappointing summer, but certainly not a washout.

January was very mild, with no temperature below freezing, and what was billed as ‘the warmest January night ever’, or some such, on the 19th, when the thermometer did not go below 54° F. There was 66 mm of rain, but in February only 15 mm (it was still mild), made up for by a constantly showery March with 85 mm. The only cold snap, with a snow shower, was over Easter on the 22/23rd.

April was mild and very dry again, with only 44 mm, half of which fell on the 29/30th, no temperature below freezing, and most days in the 50°s and 60°s F. May was warm, with seven days in the 70°s (and over two inches of rain around the Bank Holiday on the 25th). June was not too bad, with only 23 mm of rain spread over seven separate showery days, but a distinct sunshine deficit: only ten days when it was worth mentioning in the book, and only four days when the temperature rose above 70° F.

Such was the summer: like the winter and spring, tepid. September changed nothing: no day over 68° F, showers in the first ten days, some brighter weather at the end. October started dry, never warmed up and ended with eight damp days, followed in November by two weeks with some rain every day.

Others apparently enjoyed splendid autumn colours; ours were as unremarkable as the summer. There are always interesting tints, and a reliable show from amelanchiers early and oaks late. But maples merely fizzled. December was mild again, and dry, with less than an inch. The annual rainfall total was 605 mm or 24.5 inches – about two inches above the average.

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