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How to predict the summer weather – magic, miracle and meteorology

By Helen Parish, Professor in History, University of Reading
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On July 15 971, the bones of St Swithin were removed from their resting place on the order of Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, and placed in a shrine inside the cathedral. The saint, it seemed, did not approve. A violent storm followed, and rain fell for 40 days. And from that story came the belief that the weather on July 15 predicted a summer of sun or rain.

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain’
For forty days it will remain;
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair,
For forty days will rain na mair.

The weather in the UK this summer has been…


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