Monday, 31 October 2011

Sunshine in Rutland

We can’t consign the balmy month of October 2011 to history without noting that in the UK temperatures soared, reaching a new record high for the month of 29.9 C.

The top temperature was recorded on the first day of the month in Swanscombe, Kent, which basked in 165 hours of sunshine this month, an average of more than five a day. The previous hottest October day was 29.4 C, recorded in Cambridgeshire in 1985.

Although the temperatures dropped back somewhat in the following days, overall Britain enjoyed its warmest October for five years and its seventh warmest since records began.

The balmy autumn was relatively dry too, with average rainfall of 64 mm for the month and less than 20 mm in the East Midlands, East Anglia and the north Home Counties. This made it drier than three out of four of the last 100 Octobers.

It was sunnier than three-quarters of all Octobers in the last 100 years, with an average of 123 hours of sunshine for England and Wales, and 69 hours for Scotland.

The month almost ended as it started too as October seemed intent on signing off on a high note. It was a pleasant surprise to enjoy a picture-prefect day on 28 October - the last day of school half-term week - with warm sunshine and a deep blue sky.

A day trip to Rutland Water, a man-made reservoir in the east of England, was all the more special for the fine weather, with the opportunity to picnic outside and bask in the bright sunlight.

As these pictures show, however, much of East Anglia is still in drought conditions. The reservoir’s water level is well below where Anglian Water would like it to be.

Rutland Water, set in 4200 acres of open countryside, is Anglian Water's drinking water reservoir in the county of Rutland, England, just east of the county town Oakham. It was known as Empingham Reservoir during its construction and until its official opening in 1976.

It provides a reserve supply of water in the driest and most densely populated quarter of the United Kingdom and is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. By surface area it is the largest reservoir in England, though by capacity it is exceeded by Kielder Water in Northumberland.