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Grey start to summer pales in comparison to last year's hottest ever July day

Published 01/07/2016

The wet and dreary weather is in stark contrast to July 1 2015
The wet and dreary weather is in stark contrast to July 1 2015

One year ago the UK was basking in the hottest July temperatures on record, but summer 2016 has fared less well with an overwhelmingly grey, drizzly and damp start.

July 1 2015 was the hottest July day ever recorded, with temperatures soaring to 36.7C (98F) in Heathrow while crowds of sunbathers basked under Mediterranean-style skies.

In contrast, Friday's maximum temperature was forecast to be around half the maximum temperature on the same day last year.

It follows a month of above-average rainfall, with four areas in the UK experiencing near-record levels while others were spared the downpours, the Met Office said.

The first month of summer was one of "stark contrasts", with some parts of the UK experiencing more than twice the average monthly rainfall, while others stayed mainly dry, provisional figures for June show.

Essex and Middlesex both had high levels of rain recorded between June 1 and 27, with 111.9mm and 112.5mm falling respectively.

The previous highest level of rainfall was 122.5mm in 1958 for Essex, and 123.8mm for Middlesex in 1971.

Aberdeenshire also came close to seeing record levels of rain, experiencing 142mm up to and including June 27. Its wettest June on record was in 1948 with 151.7mm.

Also in eastern Scotland, Kincardineshire was only a few millimetres away from its previous record in June 2012 when 144.5mm fell.

However, north-east England and much of Scotland and Northern Ireland were largely spared a soaking.

A Met Office spokesman said: "The key findings are high levels of rainfall in certain, localised areas, and obviously a lot of that was to do with the significant thunderstorms and associated heavy downpours that were experienced in London, the South East and also parts of the Midlands, northern England and particularly eastern Scotland."

Despite a sunny start, the end of June saw flash flooding which affected London and the South East, causing some polling stations for the EU referendum to be closed or relocated.

The average amount of rainfall across the UK up to June 27 was 83.9mm - 10.5mm higher than the 30-year average for June between 1981 and 2010.

Wales saw the highest rainfall, with 104.5mm falling (122% of the 30-year June average for Wales), and England saw 84.3mm - 136% of the average.

Levels of rainfall in Northern Ireland were average, with the exception of heavy showers in Co Londonderry and Co Tyrone.

The sunniest area was Lerwick, off the northernmost tip of Scotland, which saw 16.7 hours of sunshine on June 5, while Scotland's Scardroy Lodge saw the most amount of rain on one day on June 7, with 87.8mm.

More drizzle ushered in July, with much of the UK shrouded in dreary grey skies.

The weather for the rest of the month will be "fairly changeable and rather cool conditions will continue into the start of July with a mix of dry, sunny spells and cloudier periods bringing rain or showers," the Met Office said.

The spell of unsettled weather is due to the UK being "on the cold side of a strong jetstream", it added.

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