Wettest summer in North Herts for centuries

NORTH Herts has seen the most rainfall in July for more than 40 years, with the period from April until now the wettest ever.

About 140mm of rain has fallen this month in the area, which is nearly three times the average amount of 51.4mm.

And from April to July, the amount of rainfall is the most we have had since at least 1853, when records first began.

North Herts met observer, Richard Barker, said it was unprecedented.

“It’s been a very wet four months – something that has not been experienced for more than 150 years,” he told the Comet.

“The last time we had a July wetter than this was 1968. There was a lot of flooding in the river valleys then.”

For the first 20 days of the month, it rained every day.

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It has also been a colder month than average and, had it not been for last week’s hot weather, it would have been several degrees below average.

“Up until the weather last week, we were running more than three degrees Celsius below average. That was quite significant,” added Mr Barker.

“The night temperatures have actually been quite warm, but the day temperatures have been colder than average.”

The unusual weather has had an effect on farms in Comet country.

Hitchin Lavender Farm has had a late crop this year, due to the heavy rain and late sunshine.

Tim Hunter, who runs the farm, said: “The early crops were late coming up because of the delay in sunshine, and they also went early.

“The later crops normally don’t come up until mid-July, They have only just come up now, because of the lack of sunshine.

“They will still be around until the end of August, so we’re getting a later summer which is good for us. We probably won’t harvest until middle of September, whereas last year it was early September, and that was later than usual.”

Church Farm in Ardeley has had to undertake extra work because of the wet period.

Owner Emma Massie said: “It’s certainly had an effect in a number of ways. The vegetables have been waterlogged, and many just wilted.

“We seemed to have a slug and snail infestation, and they have done a lot of damage on the crops as well. It’s also been quite a job keeping on top of the animals, because they are out in muddy fields. We’ve been through a lot of straw, particularly for the low lying levels.

“You just have to get on with it, though certainly it’s taken a lot of our time.”

She added: “We’ve actually still had a lot of campers. I think the sound of rain on canvas is embedded in us British people.”

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