Hottest night in 25 years recorded in Reading12 August 2020
The hottest night since 1995 was recorded on Tuesday night in Reading – only its third ‘tropical night’ (20°C+) in more than a century.
With daytime temperatures soaring above across large parts of the UK, data from the University of Reading’s Atmospheric Observatory showed that the overnight temperature did not drop below 20°C for the first time in 25 years.
It was only the third time a tropical night has been recorded since the University’s weather records commenced in 1908. Only the nights of 5 September 1949 (20.3°C recorded at the former London Road site) and 2 August 1995 (20.8 °C recorded at the current Whiteknight campus site) have been hotter.
The screen temperature instrument at the Reading weather observatory is again reading higher than 30°C on Wednesday, making it the sixth consecutive day to surpass that figure. This equals a six-day spell in July 1983 as Reading's equal second-longest strong heatwave (consecutive days of 30°C+) since 1908.
The only longer hot spell was the astounding 14-day heatwave starting at the end of June during the infamous summer of 1976.
Stephen Burt, Visiting Fellow in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, said: “Parts of the UK have been basking in a heatwave for nearly a week. While we always hope for sunny summer weather like this, the sustained strong heat combined with stifling night-time temperatures have made it uncomfortable for many.
“Temperatures are set to drop from Thursday, offering us some relief from the heat, but we must remember that such high temperatures can be expected to become more and more frequent due to climate change. Without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, prolonged heatwaves are likely to become a regular fixture of summers in future, particularly in the south-east of England.”