It’s the time of year when we really notice the strength of the sun. Scorchio weather dates back to the 1990’s in the BBC comedy the Fast Show with Caroline Aherne, when it was always scorching hot like today.
If it is still hot and dry on Sunday 15th which is St Swithun’s day then according to tradition we will have another forty days of drought. The wall-to-wall sunshine is too hot to handle – when will it all end? The forecast is certainly for the heat-wave to continue until August.
The continuing hot weather is caused by an extensive area of high pressure lingering over the UK. The last memorable heat-wave was in 1976 with temperatures over 32C for fifteen consecutive days. A temperature of 35.6C was recorded on 28th June that year in Southampton which remains the UK’ s June record, while a temperature of 35.9C occurred in Cheltenham on July 3rd. The merciless heat has prompted warnings from health authorities urging the public to to take care in potentially “dangerous” conditions. The Meteorological Office issue Heat Health Alerts requiring social and health care services to target specific action for high risk groups – if you are elderly stay indoors.
At Ashridge the hill cattle are suffering from a lack of piped water, the disposable barbeques have been burning holes in the turf, the ponds are drying up causing stress for the wildlife, and the hay crop is languishing in the meadow. Even the thermals are in a state of turbulence dumping a glider in the trees! There is an ever present fire risk and all fires and barbecues have been banned – broken glass lying in the grass can magnify the heat and cause combustion. Hopefully the volunteer litter pickers will have taken out most of the problem.
On the hills the green grasses have bleached to blonde, but the wild flowers like the knapweeds and thyme are loving it!