July sets records for rain, temperatures and lack of sunshine
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July sets records for rain, temperatures and lack of sunshine

Photo by Helen Lyons / The Brussels Times

This past July will go down in the history books as one of the gloomiest months Belgium has experienced in decades, with new records in rainfall, low temperatures and a lack of sunshine, according to the monthly climate report from the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI).

Last July was the wettest one the country has had in over 40 years, with 166.5 milimetres of precipitation falling over 17 days in Uccle, where the RMI has been recording climate data since 1833.

The previous record was 133.8 millimetres in the year 2000, and the wettest July on record remains the one of 1942, when 196.5 millimetres fell.

Since the beginning of this year, the period 1991-2020 has been used as the new reference period for calculating the normal.

July was also a particularly gloomy month, with just over 170 hours of sunshine compared to the average of over 203 hours.

Even April (198 hours, 38 minutes of sunshine), May (170 hours, 31 minutes) and June (201 hours, 34 minutes) were all sunnier than July, which is the second month of summer.

Temperatures were also below normal for most of the month.

Only the period from 17 to 23 July was slightly warmer than average, seeing the only three summer days with temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.

Besides those three proper summer days, July had 24 “spring” days (days where the maximum temperature is greater than 20 C), but not a single “tropical” day (one with maximum temperatures over 30 C).

“With these temperatures, it’s not surprising that the average temperature in Uccle was below normal at 17.9 C (normal is 18.7 C). Only the average minimum temperature was just above normal (14.3 C compared to the normal of 14.1 C),” the RMI said in its monthly report.

The meteorological institute also noted two other remarkable values: the fourth highest absolute minimum temperature since 1982 (11.4 C), and an absolute maximum temperature of 26.5 C that was the second lowest of the current reference period, just behind the record set in the year 2000 (25.1 C).

This July was the 16th time that an absolute minimum temperature of at least 10 degrees Celsius had been recorded, including 12 times since 1991.

The last time the absolute maximum temperature was below 25 degrees Celsius was in 1974 (23.5 C).