What happened to summer 2011?

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This is my first blog in a while as I've been away on my travels recently, walking in Ireland and Switzerland.

Last week I was back in Wales filming another two walks for a new series of Weatherman Walking.

The first in Laugharne in Carmarthenshire following in the footsteps of the poet Dylan Thomas, the other in Cwmystwyth in Ceredigion for a walk through the Hafod Estate with its expansive forests, gorges and waterfalls.

We were lucky with the weather but last Friday the heavens opened and we got thoroughly soaked at Devil's Bridge near Aberystwyth.

I also made the mistake of putting my mobile phone in the top pocket of my rucksack, so it's now drying out in the airing cupboard at home.

Anyway, today is the first day of Autumn from a meteorological point of view and the sun is shining across the country but looking back at summer 2011, it's fair to say it was very mixed - some would say disappointing.

We haven't got all the figures in yet but according to the Met Office, it's the coolest summer across the UK for eighteen years.

In Wales, June was the coolest since 1999. However, this may come as a surprise, but despite a duller than average August, sunshine was slightly above normal. 538.8 hours compared to the national average of 525.1 hours for the 3 summer months.

Rainfall was on target too thanks to a drier than average August. During the 3 summer months we would normally expect 270mm of rain, about 11 inches, and this year we've had 268.4mm.

This is an average figure of measurements taken from around the whole country, and some places will have had more rain than others.

So, after the sunniest on April on record, this summer was not nothing special but despite some poor weather at times, it was the sunniest and the driest summer in Wales since 2006.

Climate statistics for Wales dating back to 1910 are available here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/#

Autumn is getting off to a fine and warm start this year but make the most of it as it's not going to last.

Keep your fingers crossed for an Indian Summer in October :)

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