Temperature soars but rain is nextBy julie Spencer
July 25, 2012
Wokingham's temperature soared on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons – but rain is set to return by the weekend.
As families enjoyed the sunshine in Elms Field during the first week of the summer holidays, the town’s meteorologist warned our taste of summer may be short-lived.
But he also revealed that despite monsoon conditions, last month was not the wettest June on record in the town as detailed weather reports dating back to 1882 show.
Bernard Burton, who runs Wokingham Climatological Station in conjunction with the town council, said: “Our weather station is in the grounds of Emmbrook School but measurements have been collected over the years at Pinewood when it was a sanitorium, and at Wellington College.
“The month of June in both 1971 and in 1903 were wetter than this year.”
Mr Burton was a senior forecaster with the Met Office in Bracknell and also worked at Heathrow Airport, on weather ships and on a Pacific island for The World Meteorological Association.
Records reveal that the hottest temperature recorded in Wokingham was 36.9C in 2003 and that 65 summers since 1903 have seen the thermometer hit 30C.
The reading in Wokingham at 1pm yesterday was 26.6C, and expected to rise during the afternoon.
And although June was a washout, average temperatures, unbelievably, were not that much below average because of the cloud cover.
Mr Burton explained: “As far as the maximum temperature goes, that was only 1.6C below and the minimum was about normal.
“But it was the dullest June that we have recorded since 1909 but March was very sunny. In March we had 185 hours of sunshine but in June only 108 hours.”
The rain has had a huge impact on wildlife in the area, providing perfect growing conditions for more aggressive plants, according to Grahame Hawker, senior park ranger at Earley Town Council.
He said: “The amount of rain has changed the vegetation and our meadows are full of coarse grasses and flowering plants have been overtaken.
“Butterflies have had a torrid time which will have an impact on birds, particularly blue tits, which feed their young on caterpillars.”
But a massive increase in slugs and snails this summer has led to more sightings of glow worms in the area, he said.
“Slugs and snails have reached maximum size and maximum numbers and glowworms feed on snails so one man’s meat is another man’s poison.”