—> 2016 —> The Islay rain record (that isn't really)

Diardaoin, 21/Jan/2016

The Islay rain record (that isn't really)

Islay News in stencil

Over the last week or so there have been quite a few reports about Eglwyswrw in Wales, which had recorded over 80 days of rain (BBC, Telegraph, Guardian and even Der Spiegel from Germany). Almost all the reports also mention Islay, as according to them Islay is the current record holder with 89 days. Except … that isn't really true (any more).

Earlier this week I had a Twitter conversation with Dr Mark McCarthy (Mark on Twitter) about this record, started by him wondering where that reference came from. I managed to find a British Rainfall 1923 report from the Met Office which stated:

The longest "rain spell" of the year was at Eallabus, in Islay, where there was rain on each' of the 89 days from August 12th to November 8th. As will be seen from Table VIII this is the longest rain spell to be found in the analysis which goes back to 1903.

That could have settled it, giving the claim to Eallabus on Islay:

Picture of various houses and buildings surrounded by woodlands

Except for it didn't…

After some searching Mark came back with another document, British Rainfall 1954 from Met Office, which states:

The longest rain spell, 116 days with 40-42 inches, was reported from Loch Shin in Sutherland. This ranks as the longest rain spell at the selected stations in the analysis which goes back to 1903; the previous longest rain spell occurred in 1923 at Islay (Eallabus) and lasted for 89 days.

As far as I'm concerned that pretty much takes Islay off the hook for this record which probably no place really wants. If it is still Loch Shin is open to question, as the Met Office isn't officially measuring that stat any more and the definition is vague anyway.

So there you have it, while it has brought Islay in the news the record isn't Islay's any more (and it isn't Eglwyswrw's either, as they had a dry day after 84 days of rain). Many thanks to Mark for challenging this often repeated ‘fact’ and finding the 1954 document.

Opening up the discussion. Have your say:


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