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UK Weather - past and present

Month of May

Thunder and lightning, May 1811

In Sheffield in May, during a tremendous storm, accompanied with thunder and lightning, the streets were covered with hail-stones from 3 to 5 inches in circumference, and much damage was done to the fruit trees, hot-houses etc; on the premises of 32 persons, no fewer than 10,710 panes of glass were destroyed. Source:History, gazetteer, and directory, of the west-riding of Yorkshire

Comment about the UK Temperature in May, 1843

To The Editor of the Times
Sir, - The daily average of the temperature of the past month exhibits 47.86 as the coldest, 59.22 as the warmest in the shade, and 77.45 as the highest in the sun, presenting a difference of 3.5 less diumally in the heat of the shade, and 4.3 less in the sun, the nightly average of cold corresponding with that of last year. This difference in the day is very great, and was felt the more on account of the changes which have taken place. On the 2nd ult. the mercury stood at 69 in the shade and 99 in the sun; whilst, on the 29th, the shade thermometer indicated 50, the sun 71, and the night following 40, showing an extreme difference of 50 degrees during the month.

At the commencement of May, and during the latter part of April, we had a continuous current of the north east winds, which continued until the 5th ult.; during which time the same difference took place in the extreme heat of the shade and sun usual with this wind, which, upon this day, presented 36 degrees variance between them. On that day the under current of wind changed to S.W., the upper one being N.E., and on the day following (the 6th), a conflux took place early in the morning, the N.E. being above, and the S.W. beneath, producing a compression of the hydrogen, and inducing one of the heaviest rains we have experienced for some time. This was the day of the "Aurora," and the most remarkable change occurred in the temperature that I recollect during the day time. I found my thermometer at 52 (the lowest point of the previous night having indicated 51), and when I returned in the afternoon I found the index had been depressed to 40; showing a difference of 12 degrees during the open day by a thermometer protected from the influence of the hail which fell. During the whole month, the currents of air have been very contrary at different elevations, occasionally conflicting together. On the 28th ult. the S.W. was driven upwards by the N.E., which was the sub current; and on the 29th, when the thermometer was so very low, there was another of those oppositions. The highest point that day was 50 at 8 o'clock a.m., and was contracted to 46 during the day, and to 40 during the night. Altogether, the past month has been one of the most ungenial and extraordinary that has experienced for years past, chiefly arising from some meteoric influence in the aerial regions.

Variations in Temperature, 1861

On May 11th 1861, the highest temperature at Clifton Station was only 41 degrees and on May 16 it was as high as 75.3 degrees. a remarkable difference as 34.3 degrees between two maxima, only 5 days apart.

Snow in Wales

During the week ending 25th May 1863, it was extremely cold in different parts of Wales with snowfalls. The snow was ankle deep on the Merioneth Hills

Yorkshire Floods in May, 1886

On Thursday morning alarming reports, revealing serious damage in South Yorkshire, were received at Barnsley. Along the whole route from Barnsley to Doncaster the river Dearne had overflowed its banks, inundating lands and houses in the low-lying districts. Several highways in the Wombwell and Wath districts were impassable. Rain fell without intermission in the Sheffield and Rotherham districts until noon on Friday. The damage done is enormous. Steel and iron works, paper mills, and flour mills have been stopped, and hundreds of men thrown idle. Railway traffic was closed to several districts, Rotherham Station platform being flooded. Many highways were impassable, and the houses inundated, the people taking to the upper rooms. In the valleys of the Don, Dearne, and Rother the country was a series of vast lakes.

At Eyam, Stoney, and Middleton grave loss has also been sustained. The river at Stratford-on-Avon overflowed its banks, submerging all adjacent fields and roads. Several low-lying parts of Wallsall were flooded by the river Tame, and the railway station and lines, for the distance of 3 or 4 hundred yards, presented the appearance of a vast lake.

Doncaster Floods May 1932

The most tragic colliery village in the country at the moment is Bentley, a populous township on the borders of Doncaster. It has suffered worse than any other district in South Yorkshire by the unprecedented floods which have swept down the Don and Dearne Valleys during the weekend following the incessant rains.

The full force of the deluge which converted murmering streams and lazy rivers into raging torrents that burst or overflowed their banks and flooded thousands of acres of land and hundreds of houses, was not felt in Doncaster for a day or two. At the moment, however, while the river Don has dropped 4 or 5 feet and is nearer normal level, and scores of houses near its banks at Doncaster which were invaded by the floods are now clear, two portions of the Bentley district are in a serious plight.

It is an exact repetition of the disastrous floods of last September, when 1,500 people resident in the same areas were rendered homeless and had to be accommodated in schools for several weeks.

Two months later 43 men were killed in an explosion at the colliery. Today the colliery is surrounded by water and is idle because the 3,000 men and boys cannot get to it.

Scores of houses have their downstairs rooms flooded, and the whole countryside is one vast expanse of water. Today 350 houses in the Toll Bar area were vacated by their occupants along with a number of others in the newer portion of the village. Altogether it is estimated that nearly 1,000 houses have been or will be vacated. the area has been visited by Mr. H. W. Coales, an Inspector of the Ministry of Health, and Captain J. C. A. Rosevcare, the Chief Drainage Engineer of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Work of Rescue. Today policemen, firemen, and experienced boatmen were engaged in the work of rescuing stranded families from their flooded homes. The water in places is 8ft. to 10ft. deep, and it was only with extreme difficulty that men, women, and children were safely lowered down ladders, placed in boats or carts, and transferred to other homes. There have been many sad cases. Expectant mothers and newly born babies with their mothers have had to be removed under circumstances of considerable difficulty.

Roads for a considerable distance are under water and impassable. A large elementary school has been placed at the disposal of the Urban District Council and preparations made for housing there a thousand men, women, and children until their houses are again fit for occupation. Many other families have found shelter with friends or relatives.

The London and North Eastern Railway main line to the North is flooded in places, and main line trains have had to be diverted. It is expected, however, that the water has now reached its peak and that tomorrow will see a definite improvement. Owing to the low lying position of the Toll Bar district pumping operations will have to be carried out. Roads in the Thorne area are flooded in some places to a depth of from 4ft. to 6ft. A number of houses are flooded and a very large expanse of land is under water.

500,000 Damage in Derby District. Yesterday a cheque for 100 was sent from the Relief Department of the British Legion to the Derby Relief Fund raised by the Lord Mayor and Mr. J.H. Thomas, M.P., to alleviate the suffering occasioned by the serious floods in the district. It is understood that in the district damage to the extent of half a million pounds has been done, and that more than 60 per cent of the sufferers are ex Service men.



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