New weather record set, no rain for 34 days, but storms ahead

Photo: Dutch News

A new weather record was set in the Netherlands on Thursday, with no rain at the De Bilt weather station near Utrecht since May 13.

The dry stretch of 34 days is the longest period of drought ever recorded in the Netherlands, according to calculations by weather bureaus Weeronline and Weerplaza, which base their claims on the readings in De Bilt. 

The previous record dates from 2007 when it did not rain in the area between April 4 and May 6.

The KNMI, by contrast, which is actually based at De Bilt, looks at the situation differently. The meteorological office bases its position on the results at 13 weather stations nationwide and says there is no chance of any drought record being broken this year. 

“If you look at one weather station, then it might not be raining there, but it could be raining everywhere else,” researcher Frank Selten told news website He says a small amount of rain was recorded at two of those weather stations last week, so there is no question of any record being broken. 

The situation is emphasised on the KNMI website. “We call a day dry in the Netherlands if there is less than 0.3 millimetres of rain at the 13 weather stations spread over the Netherlands. On July 7 and 8 there was a little rain at two of them, in the south and the east.”

The KNMI’s position might appear logical, but the De Bilt weather station is where most weather records are based – such as hottest temperatures and longest spell of “tropical weather”. 

As the KNMI website says, “in the Netherlands, a heatwave is five successive days in De Bilt where the temperature is at least 25° and of which three are classed as tropical – so 30° or more. 

Dutch News has asked the KNMI for comment. 

Meanwhile, both the KNMI and Weerplaza are forecasting little change in the current heatwave for the next few days. But both stay storms are becoming increasingly likely in the east on Monday, as the temperatures rise again to 30°.

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