Summer of 1976 (Europe)

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The summer of 1976 was considered to be one of the hottest summers in Europe (and especially the United Kingdom[1] [2] [3]) within recent memory. A large high-pressure area dominated most of Europe for all of the summer months. The pressure system moved into place in late May 1976 and remained until the first traces of rain were recorded on 27 August. Rainfall throughout the July–August period was down by half the annual average. During this spell of hot weather temperatures exceeded 32 °C (89.6 °F) at several weather stations within the United Kingdom every day and the town of Cheltenham had eleven, including seven successive days from 1 July - recording 35.9 °C (96.6 °F) on 3 July.[4]

For the entire period much of Europe was bathed in continual sunshine with the United Kingdom seeing an average of more than 14 hours of sunshine per day. 1976 was dubbed "The year of the Ladybird" in that country due to the rise in the mass numbers of ladybirds brought on by the long hot period.

"The long hot summer of 1976 which eventually ended in September of that year, was the culmination of a 16-week dry spell - the longest recorded over England and Wales since 1727. "Quote From Met Office

The summer of 1976 is by now a firmly established reference point for discussion in the UK of contemporary hot spells.


  1. ^ "The summer of '76". BBC News website. BBC. 20 March 1998. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  2. ^ Gray, Louise (27 May 2010). "Met Office predicts a return of the summer of 1976". Daily Telegraph website. London: Telegraph Group. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  3. ^ Wainwright, Martin (17 May 2006). "The great drought". The Guardian website. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  4. ^ Payne, Billy. "The summer of 1976". MeteoGroup website. MeteoGroup. Retrieved 18 August 2011.