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The UK's most extreme weather events

The met office records some of the UK's most extreme weather patterns. Here are a few that hold the current weather records.

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The UK’s Most Extreme Weather Events

The varied climates throughout the UK have been working overtime. They’ve produced nearly every kind of weather event imaginable throughout the last few decades. We take a look at some of the most extreme records and events in recent history.


The Met Office records some of the UK’s most extreme weather patterns. Here are a few that hold the current weather records.

Highest Temperature

Faversham (Kent), England
10 August 2003

Lowest Temperature

Altnaharra (Highland), Scotland
30 December 1995

Biggest Wind Gust

142 mph
Fraserburgh (Aberdeenshire), Scotland
13 February 1989

Most Rainfall In A Single Day

314 mm
Seathwaite (Cumbria), England
20 November 2009


Floods, hurricane-force winds, and tornadoes have struck the UK in the last 10 years. In all, these 10 weather events have affected hundreds of thousands of residents, and cost the country billions of pounds in damage and insurance.

Summer 2002
Glasgow Floods

Forecast: Torrential rains that pounded Glasgow caused massive flooding throughout the area, particularly in the city’s east end. 
Aftermath: At its height, 1,500 resident and 500 homes were affected by the floods and damage was estimated to reach into the millions of pounds. 

Summer 2003
European Heat Wave

Forecast: Above-average summer temperatures peaked with the UK’s highest temperature ever in Kent. Scotland also broke its highest ever temperature.
Aftermath: According to the Health Protection Agency, 2,000 to 3,000 deaths in the UK were caused by the extreme heat. Throughout Europe, the heat wave caused roughly 40,000 fatalities.

August 2004
Bocastle Flooding

Forecast: Abrupt, heavy rain—more than 6 centimetres in 2 hours—caused flash floods that wreaked havoc on residents in Bocastle.
Aftermath: Roughly 100 homes and businesses, 75 cars, 5 caravans, 6 buildings, and several boats were either swept out to sea or destroyed during the floods.

July 2005
Birmingham Tornado

Forecast: A severe tornado whipped through Birmingham on a July afternoon and reached wind speeds between 115 and 136 miles per hour. 
Aftermath: Though it lasted for just four minutes, the tornado injured 19 people, 3 of them seriously, and damaged hundreds of homes.

January 2007
Storm Kyrill

Forecast: A two-day storm brought severe winds that were the strongest to hit Britain since 1990. The storm continued through Europe, causing power disruptions as far away as the Ukraine.
Aftermath: Hurricane-force winds contributed to 13 deaths in the UK and 47 across Europe. Estimates of total insurance costs reached as high as £2.3 billion.

June/July 2007
Summer Flooding

Forecast: Torrential rain provided one of the wettest summers on record in the UK. A total of 358.5 millimetre of rain fell during the summer months causing severe flooding.
Aftermath: In all, 11 people were killed throughout UK due to flooding, and thousands of homes were affected—including 7,000 in Hull alone. The cost of the flooding was estimated as high as £3 billion.

December 2006 
Northwest London Tornado

Forecast: An estimated 50 tornadoes touch down in the UK each year. In 2006, one pounded the Kensal Rise area of London over the course of a minute.
Aftermath: The tornado injured 6 people, damaged 150 properties, left 29 homes unfit for habitation, and caused damage in the millions of pound.

November 2009
Cumbria Floods

Forecast: Heavy rainfall destroyed flood defences and created severe flooding throughout Cumbria. The rain broke the record for most rainfall in a single day, which had stood for more than 50 years.
Aftermath: The storms damaged or destroyed 20 roads across Cumbria, left 2,500 tonnes of gravel and debris across the region, and resulted in a £276 million bill.

Winter 2009/2010
Big Freeze
Forecast: The winter spanning 2009 and early 2010 was one of the more severe in the UK in over 30 years. Mean temperature for the season was 1.2°C—the lowest it’s reached since 1978-1979.
Aftermath: Heavy snow fell across the UK, with reports of 30 to 40 centimetres of level snow from Berkshire and Hampshire.

April 2010
Ash Cloud Cover

Forecast: An enormous cloud of ash spread across the UK and other European countries, caused by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. 
Aftermath: Air travel throughout much of Europe came to a halt as airports grounded flights on fears of ash effecting jet engines.


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