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Scorching Solstice

21st June is the summer solstice and this year saw the hottest summer solstice on record, as temperatures reached 34.5oC at Heathrow. It was also the hottest day of the year so far and the hottest June day since 1976, when 35.6oC was reached in Southampton. This month has also seen 5 days in a row with temperatures reaching 30oC or above for the first time during the month of June since June 1995.

Hottest day of the year so far for UK

Today the Met Office recorded 32.4 ºC at Northolt, making it the hottest day of the year so far for the UK.

Wales also recorded its hottest day of 2017 so far, with 30.6 ºC at Usk.

A very warm & muggy night once again for many, especially the south where some cities may stay above 20°C. According to the Met Office, this hot spell is set to be the first time in over 20 years that somewhere in the UK has reached over 30 °C for 5 consecutive days in June.

Deadly forest fires in Portugal

Sixty-two people have died and more than 54 injured in one of Portugal’s deadliest forest fires. Many of those who lost their life were trapped in cars as they tried to flee the central forested region of Pedrógão Grande, and it is feared the death toll may rise further.

It is thought that the blaze, which is raging in several parts of a mountainous area 200km northeast of Lisbon, may have been sparked by a lightning strike hitting a tree during a rainless thunderstorm on the night of 17th-18th June 2017, following an intense heatwave which saw temperatures exceeding 40degC.

Briefing: the Southern US drought: Analysing the 2011 drought in 13 southern US states

In April 2011 the governor of Texas and presidential hopeful Rick Perry asked that his fellow Texans begin praying for ""the healing of our land"" and an end to the drought. Unfortunately divine intervention was not forthcoming and the drought continued to worsen""ó¢by late June nearly three quarters of the state was experiencing exceptional drought conditions that persisted until the end of the summer. Texas experienced its driest 12 month period on record (August 2010 to July 2011), with crop and livestock losses estimated at $5.2 billion. It was not only Texas that was affected.

2010: The year of extremes: Extreme weather events from across the globe in 2010

Record highs and drought

Although the 2009/2010 European winter saw some exceptionally cold and snowy periods, the Arctic polar regions and Canada experienced unusually mild winter conditions. Northern Europe experienced its coldest winter for nearly 30 years, while temperatures in some places in the Arctic and Canada reached +6°C above the long-term average and Canada experienced its mildest winter on record.