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UK Weather - past and present

Month of August

Floods 7 August, 1839

The vicinity of Rotherham presented a very awful appearance, from the effects of the heavy rains, for on one side of the town nearly the whole surface was inundated. The damage done to the crops, it is feared, will be very considerable; indeed in some parts it is thought that a large portion will be destroyed. The overflowing of the waters extended half way up Bridge-gate, and in some parts several feet in depth. The turnpike road from Rotherham to Attercliffe was almost impassable; in fact the coaches went by way of Canklow. About one hundred tons of timber, the property of Messrs. Buxton, railway contractors, was washed away from Iccles, and struck with great violence against the timber bridge over the river Don, but by the exertions of a large number of men, it was prevented from going any further, or doing more injury.

The body of a woman was discovered near Kilnhurst, floating on the surface of the water; it was in a decomposed state, and it is thought that it is the remains of the woman who drowned herself about three months ago, near the railway station, in consequence of some disagreement with her husband. The body of a man was, we understand, also found in the neighbourhood.

Approaching Harvest August, 1853

A favourable change in the weather took place at the beginning of the month, which has since continued. Under its influence the cereal crops are rapidly maturing, and we expect wheat cutting will commence in a few days. On the clay soils the wheat crop is very deficient, and though some improvement has taken place they are much below an average. Sand land and limestone soils have much better wheat crops this year. Very little has been lodged by the excessive rain, which shows the crops are not heavy, but we think they promise a full average quality and yield. Barley is a large crop; we have scarcely seen an exception throughout the district. Oats, too, are very promising, and from the large breadths sown there is likely to be abundant produce. Patches of this grain have already been cut a few miles to the south of Doncaster. Both winter and spring planted beans look well. There is abundance of straw. On the whole, we consider them above an average crop. Some of the early potatoes are much diseased; the later sorts, as yet, are not affected, and the late change of weather is likely to stop its progress. A continuence of fine weather is now most desirable. If the wheat crop is well secured it will, to a considerable extent, compensate for the deficiency in quantity. We may add, that near the Great Northern line of railway, from Hitchin to Biggleswade, harvest has generally commenced, and wheat, oats, and winter beans are all being extensively cut down. In the neighbourhood of Stamford also the wheat and oat harvest has commenced. The wheat crop cuts up light, but the quality is likely to be better than was at one time expected.

Floods Burst River Banks August,1958

Roads in many counties were still affected last night by yesterday's floods, which caused damage in a wide belt of country stretching southwards from Sheffield to Southend. Many places had over one and a half inches of rain in 12 hours.

In the Sheffield area, where conditions were said to be the worst since the bursting of the Dale Dyke reservoir in 1864, hundreds of people were evacuated early yesterday from their houses after river banks had collapsed.

A cloudburst over the moors on the city's south side sent the usually placid little River Sheaf surging down the valley from Totley. The banks burst in several places, causing flooding in Millhouses, Abbeydale, Heeley, and Lowfields. The swollen Sheaf then joined the River Don near the Midland Station. Thousands of houses were flooded - some cottages to a depth of 5ft.- roads became rivers, two bridges were demolished and motor cars were swept away. A trail of damage 6 miles long was left.

House Falls - Just before a terrace house in Yarborough Road collapsed into the river, workmen shouted to the tenant, Mrs. Evelyn Rowlands, aged 83, to get out. Her son, who lives next door, rescued his mother, who is an invalid. Sheffield W.V.S. workers set up a rest centre where 35 people evacuated from their homes were accommodated. Mobile canteens provided hot meals for people whose homes had been flooded.

Army personnel helped to evacuate tenants stranded in 12 old people’s bungalows near the River Dearne at Darfield in the West Riding.

Half a mile of the main Sheffield - Doncaster railway line was flooded to a depth of from 4ft, to 7ft. at Rotherham, halting traffic, and last night the water was reported to be getting deeper. Sheffield Midland Station was at a standstill for several hours, lines being blocked by debris. One end of the tunnel was still affected by flooding.

Eight Feet above Normal - The River Don at Rotherham was at one time more than 8ft. above normal and 18in. above danger level.

Frost In August, 1864

A letter to the Times newspaper dated 22nd August, 1864:
Sir, The following are my readings of this morning:
Ground minimum - 33.5 degrees; on grass - 27.5 degrees; Four feet above ground Maximum - 64 degrees. Such cold in August is of seldom occurrence.
I am Your obedient servant, Thomas L. Plant, MBMS, Birmingham

Ice In August, 1864

On 25th August, 1864, a piece of ice was taken from an iron sheep trough at Kidlington, Oxford, which after being carried half a mile, measured 12 inches in length and was as thick as common window glass. The next morning, ice was taken from the bottom of a punt on the River Isis, Medley Lock, Oxford, as thick as a sixpence.

Killed by Lightning, 1865

The neighbourhood of Sheffield was visited on 26th August, by one of the most violent thunderstorms experienced within the last few years. Bolton-upon-Dearne experienced the full force of the storm, and here a man lost his life. It appears that a young man named George Fretwell, aged 18 years, an agricultural labourer, belonging to Wroot, was engaged with a little girl in a corn field, when the storm came on. Anxious to be protected from the heavy rain, they took some sheaves and placed them in such a position that they could shelter behind them. This they did, and remained some time there, but the sheaves were struck with lightning and instantly Fretwell was killed. His companion was stunned, but she fortunately recovered shortly afterwards. Fretwell's body was taken by some neightbours, who were called to the place, to the nearest Inn, and medical men were sent for, but their services could be of no avail, as the death of the unfortunate man must have been instantaneous. The body presented no appearance of a violent death, and there was not the slightest discoloration. An inquest was held on Wednesday evening by Mr. Webster, when the girl who was with the deceased gave in evidence the facts above enumerated. The jury found that the deceased had died from having been struck by the lightning. The sad event has created a most profound sensation in the neighbourhood. Sheffield Independent.

Thunderstorms, Rawmarsh, Tinsley. Catcliffe, 1877

On 18th August, 1877, there were more heavy thunderstorms in various parts of the country. At Rawmarsh, near Rotherham, a collier named Charles Thompson was killed by lightning. He and another collier named George Grey left the Stubbin pit to return home, and being overtaken by the storm sought shelter under an oak tree in the middle of a lane. A flash of lightning struck the tree, passed down the trunk, and struck the two men beneath it. Thompson was killed on the spot, having been struck on the head, and his clothes were torn and the buttons melted off. Grey was badly injured, and is not likely to recover. Two other men who were somewhat in advance of Thompson and his companion refused to take shelter under the tree on account of the danger. At Parkgate and also at Aldwarke damage was done by the lightning. At Tinsley, near Sheffield, the farm premises of Mr, Joseph Needham were struck and the granary set on fire. A West Riding policeman named Joseph Hewitt, stationed at Catcliffe, was taking shelter from the rain against a wall in the yard, when he was struck and rendered insensible. Rain mixed with hail fell in torrents at Leeds for half an hour, and the lightning was very vivid.

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