You better believe it! Marlborough's summer was pretty good and August itself was even better

Written by Eric Gilbert on .

In 1818, Jane Austen wrote “To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure [lush green vegetation], is the most perfect refreshment”. Fortunately this past month did provide several days that fit this description - allowing plant life to flourish as shown in my image of a home grown dahlia set against a deep blue sky.

Perhaps we have not appreciated that it was the warmest August since 2004 with a mean temperature 0.8C above the 32-year average. Although we did not have any extended periods of very hot weather, there were two very hot days with the thermometer reaching 27.9C (August 23) and 27.3C (August 24.)

The record for Marlborough's hottest August day was set in 1990 with a peak of 34.3C.

The rainfall for the month was predominately at the beginning and end. 20.5mm fell on August 1 and 30.2mm was recorded during almost three hours of thunderstorms on August 27.  During the peak of this storm the downpour measured a rate of rainfall of 290mm per hour.

Within the rainfall of the first storm, there was some small hail. Those two days made up sixty per cent of the month's total rainfall of 77.8mm, which was 11mm above the 32-year average.

There were several showery days with modest rainfall totals, but they were interspersed with eighteen dry days, which is  average for August.

The equivalent rainfall for evaporation from ground sources and plant life was 83.7mm, which is 6mm greater than the rainfall total.

There were 164.8 hours of strong sunshine - almost double the hours recorded in 2015. Although this instrument was only installed in 2014 it gives a figure of almost double the average for those two years.

There were a couple of days when valley fog formed as the temperature dropped quite low overnight.  And thick fog gave visibility down to 100m during the early morning of August 6.

Although there were no long periods of hot dry weather during the past three months, the statistics prove that it was one of the better summers we have experienced in recent years.  It was the warmest since 2006, some 0.7C above the 32-year average.

Rainfall also gives a picture of a better than average summer as the total precipitation totalled 154mm, which was 29mm below the long-term average for the summer months. Looking at the statistics I see that the very driest summer was in 1995 with just 53mm - and that contrasts with the very wet record for summer 2012 when rainfall over the three months reached 328mm.

In Marlborough we enjoyed 324 hours of strong sunshine.  And that is significantly higher than the Summer average of 83 hours over the previous two years.

[Photo by Eric Gilbert. Click to enlarge.]