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How Long And How Hot Was The 1976 Heatwave?

Will Carrick-Buchanan

| Last updated 

How Long And How Hot Was The 1976 Heatwave?

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Britain is in the midst of a heat wave, and the hottest day of the year upon us. It therefore seems prudent to look back at how this year compares to the infamous summer of 1976, the longest heatwave the country has ever seen. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the heatwave of 1976…

How Long And How Hot Was The 1976 Heatwave?

The summer of 1976 heatwave lasted for 15 days, spanning from 23 June all the way until 7 July. The heatwave is thought to have been the hottest summer for 350 years, although the hottest recorded temperature for one day was broken in 2019 when Cambridge University botanical gardens reached a staggering 38.7 degrees Celsius.

Nonetheless, the summer of 1976 still remains the hottest on record with Heathrow recording temperatures over 30°C, for 16 days straight! Although this was heaven for a lot of the population, there were some disastrous consequences.

Some places in Britain went 45 days without rain, causing widespread drought. Things got so severe that parliament had to pass the Drought Act, and bring MP Denis Howell in as Minister for Drought.

The lack of rain also meant that wildfires were extensive, although this actually had some ecological benefit as it helped kill scrub which was invading heathland across the country.

There was however a 20% 'excess death rate during the heatwave, plus a significant rise in emergency hospital admissions, during the two-week period where temperatures soared.

Furthermore, the heatwave strangely led to swarms of an estimated 23.65 billion ladybirds, as the heat amped up their food sources.

The temperature is supposed to reach 32°C in London today, and although Saturday is going to be cloudy, we will still experience highs of 27°C.

Nevertheless, whilst temperatures are extremely high at the moment, it doesn't look like this very heatwave will continue for another two weeks.

Still, we are only in June, so keep an eye on the forecast, as who knows what extreme weather we’re gonna experience for the rest of summer.

Topics: Weather, UK News

Will Carrick-Buchanan
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