You can see it from the Heath! Enthusiast's own weather station charts record temperatures

Ben Masschelein-Rodgers first set up his equipment in 2009

Tuesday, 19th July — By Harry Taylor


The kit on a roof in Savernake Road

A HOBBYIST weather station owner in Hampstead was among those monitoring the record-breaking temperatures – from his home in San Francisco.

Ben Masschelein-Rodgers, has been operating a weather station in Savernake Road since 2009, although it is now tended to by his mother, Juliet Rodgers, while he works as a software developer on the Californian coast.

His equipment registered record breaking temperatures of 39.1C, just below the 40C declared by the Met Office at Heathrow.

It’s viewable from Hampstead Heath, he said, saying that eagle eyed people can spot the big white box on her roof.

Speaking from the US, the 31-year-old said the temperatures in the UK had been making headlines in the US, and his mother was excited by her part in the monitoring the scorching temperatures.

He said: “All the weather people I follow here are talking about it, it is being picked up on. It’s been much hotter in London than it has been in the US. It’s in the mid-20s here.

“That’s the biggest difference, and in the evenings in California it cools down nicely, whereas in the UK you have seen it stay warm overnight.”

Ben Masschelein-Rodgers

Mr Masschelein-Rodgers’ kit recorded a high temperature of 39.1C on Tuesday afternoon.

He uses a digital thermometer, in the shade and with a Stevenson Screen that allows airflow to ensure an accurate temperature reading.

“I’m fairly confident,” he said. “I’ve been checking it against the Met Office figures for about ten years and it’s in line with them. You always have to give a 0.3 margin of error but I’m confident. We saw 39C in St James’ Park and 40C in Heathrow so it would make sense.”

He started his fascination with the weather when given some weather recording kit aged 14, and began recording the data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. He has since set up a weather station at his home in San Francisco, but occasionally returns to London and see his Mum – and clear out the spiders who have taken refuge in his kit.

“I’ve definitely been surprised it reached 40C. Even the Met Office did not think we would get to 40C until 2050. It’s very unusual, and I wouldn’t expect to see weather like this again this summer – but all the modelling shows this won’t be the last time we see these temperatures.

“My mum has been really enjoying tracking it. I got a message first thing this morning, she was telling me to make sure I’d tweeted out all the information and make sure I got the message out there.”

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