Hot gossip about the summer of '95

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The Independent Online
Meteorological records have been kept since 1657. We have just endured the third hottest July this century, beaten only by 1976 and 1983.

Yesterday's average temperature in London was 33C (91F) and the highest reading of the summer was 34C (94F) recorded in Worcester on 30 June. The all-time high for the British mainland was 99F in Cheltenham on 3 August, 1990.

July's top temperature was 32.6C (91F) at Heathrow on Monday, the last day of the month. Temperatures in the low thirties were recorded as far north as Kinloss on the Moray Firth.

Bookmaker William Hill has reduced the odds on a record-breaking 100F in mainland Britain from 14-1 to 10-1.

The past four months have been the driest since 1976. An approximate 39mm of rain made it the 15th driest July this century. Brief breaks in the sunshine in July saw two inches of rain fall in a day in Cynwyd, Clwyd and more than one- and-a-half inches in a day in Swanage, Dorset.

The coolest place in Great Britain yesterday was Lerwick in the Shetland Islands with a daytime maximum of 14C (58F). Elsewhere in Europe, Paris was 32C (90F) while Lisbon was a mere 21C(70F). Only Kingston, Jamaica and Washington, US, matched London's heatwave with 33C (91F).

British seaside resorts are welcoming record crowds. In Weston-super- Mare, 1,800 people a day have been sunbathing on the town's main beach.

Bristol Water says that water consumption has increased by 30 per cent to an average 416 million litres a day. But it says that reservoirs are still 66 per cent full and it has no plans to introduce restrictions. Only a few counties have hosepipe bans - West Cornwall and Mid Kent along with parts of Sussex, Surrey and Yorkshire.

Sport has suffered, too. There was no racing on the first day of Cowes Week due to lack of wind while, in the Fourth Test match at Old Trafford, good light stopped play when the reflection from a nearby greenhouse dazzled the batsmen and the action was interrupted.

Two London bus companies have allowed their employees to wear regulation shorts.

The B&Q DIY store in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, has been answering an average of one call a minute from customers keen to buy fans. One of the chain's superstores sold 3,000 fans last week.

Holidaymakers en route to Spain had to swap airports when their jet could not take off from Southampton Airport. The heat meant the aircraft's engines needed a longer runway to take off.

The giant greenfly has returned to Great Britain after an absence of several years. The hot weather has attracted swarms of the aphid to Scotland and other parts of the country. Scientists have also warned that the hot weather has made wasps more likely to sting. Cambridge University experts have warned that millions of ladybirds are about to descend on East Anglia.

The National Rivers Authority has issued warnings about poisonous blue- green algae, which can seriously harm humans if they touch it.