Weather wise

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WE HAVE been taken to task by a reader in the frozen north. Sue Couling writes: "Hottest day of the year? Why are you kidding? Yesterday [Monday] I was wearing jumpers and coat and needed to put the heating on. It poured with rain for most of the day. I live in York - only a few hours from London but obviously far enough to be insignificant. Weather Wise failed to notice that a large proportion of the country were shivering on the 'hottest day of the year' ... It is plain that London is the centre of the known universe - as far as the media are concerned."

I can only plead guilty. As our weather listings on Tuesday clearly noted, while London was enjoying its Cloudy, 18, York was shivering in Cloudy, 9 - the coldest place listed in this country.

The trouble with British weather is that conditions vary enormously over relatively short distances. The prevailing westerly winds caused by the earth's spin bring us damp air from across the Atlantic. Chilled by Arctic air currents, or by rising over hills and mountains, it deposits most of its rain on the west country. That is why the west (and especially the south-west) has up to twice the rainfall of places in the east of the country. At the start of this week, the south of the country enjoyed a warm air stream from Africa - but it did not blow as far north as York. In future, I shall try to keep an eye on the weather up there.

At 12.43 yesterday, the temperature in Hillsborough was 13C with 83 per cent humidity and barometer reading of 1022.