Hasn't the weather been awfully wet this summer? Well yes, actually it has, and I have the data to prove it. I've been checking the weather every day since July 15th to see if at least one raindrop fell on London, or not. It chucked it down back on St Swithin's Day, so the superstitious amongst you might have expected 40 days of rain, but that's not quite the way it turned out...
July 15th: wet
total: wet=24 dry=16
My data doesn't show a full 40 consecutive wet days, but it does show that a very disappointing 60% of the last 40 days have been damp. That's a lot higher than the average you might expect (which is just 30%) but it's not quite a complete washout. On the bright side the last week in July and the first week in August were really quite dry (if you ignore that one Tuesday of torrential flooding across the capital), and I'm particularly pleased to have chosen one of those two weeks for my week off work. Scanning the rest of the summer season, however, makes for grim reading with never more than two dry days in any other week. I guess we've been fortunate that at least most of our weekends have been dry, even if few weekdays followed suit.
St Swithin has been wrong every single year since records began. The most wrong he's ever been was back in 1976 when a thunderstorm on the evening of July 15th was followed by 38 days of scorching heatwave. 2004 actually rates as one of his better 'successes'. We've already suffered twice the average rainfall for August and there's still a full week of the month to go. Don't go blaming a dead archbishop for this, and don't blame global warming either, just blame an unusually southerly jet stream. Our weather is merely very good at being random, and next year should be completely different. Probably worth sticking the suntan lotion back in the bathroom cabinet until next summer then.