|main historical menu|
|<<<< 1975 - 1999|
|> [ December+January+February ] - Averaged over England & Wales, the SUNSHINE hours for December=65 (134%), January=63 (124%) and February=97 (133%) (averages relate to the 1961-90 period); For the winter season as a whole, this means that this was the SUNNIEST winter (as defined) in the entire record (which started in 1907). Many places, especially in eastern & central Scotland, eastern & southern England and the Midlands recorded record sunshine. For London (Heathrow), there has been a total of some 257hr; There have been very few occasions in London with sunshine totals above 200hr. According to Philip Eden (Telegraph), since the record began in 1876, the events were: 1948/49=206hr; 1951/52=208hr; 1979/80=207hr; 1983/84=229hr; 1987/88=209hr; 1997/98=226hr and of course, 1999/2000=257hr. [ NB: record not made up from the same station.]|
|2000 (April & May):|
|> A notably WET pair of months. Using the EWP series, April 2000 plus May 2000 was the second wettest such combination (wettest=1782 !). This was not surprising, as the April (2000) was the WETTEST April in the EWP series (beating the 1782 figure). The words 'FLOODING' cropped up quite a bit in these two months - for April, the rainfall was fairly uniformly spread about England, Wales & NE Scotland, with 200 to 300% of average. In May though, the excessive rainfall was much more regionalized - over 200% southeast of a line Whitby/Bournemouth, with some spots in SE lowland England circa 300%. [ see also 1983 & 1782 ]. Some spectacular THUNDERSTORMS in May - including one at Bracknell, the home (until late summer 2003) of the UK Meteorological Office!|
|> For the England & Wales (EWP) series, it was (at the time) the
WETTEST autumn since that series began in 1766. The final total was 503 mm,
which is 196 % of the 1961-90 average. SIGNIFICANT FLOODING occurred over
England & Wales, and also more locally over Northern Ireland, south and
east Scotland. For Northern Ireland, it was the WETTEST autumn since at least
1900 and in the Belfast area, perhaps the wettest autumn since 1814.
> The Environment Agency (who look after England & Wales only) suggests that up to the end of November, the flooding was the worst since 1947 (though note carefully that the meteorology & hydrology of the '47 floods was different. However, in York, it is thought that the FLOODS were unprecedented in the past 400 years. (Also worth noting that historically it was probably wetter about a thousand years ago!)
> September: most areas well above average .. 175 to 200% much of England and SE Wales, also areas of E. Scotland. Locally Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, >200%.
> October: the WETTEST October (England & Wales) since 1903 with 188mm, and the second wettest October in that series. It was also exceptionally wet in eastern counties of N. Ireland & across some parts of SW Scotland.
> November: 182 mm in the EWP series, the WETTEST November since 1940 & the fifth wettest November in that series (at the time - see 2009).
|Manchester (Ringway) airport recorded NO FROST in the three months September, October and November this year (2000). This was unprecedented in their record which began in 1942.|
|> The WETTEST (calendar) year in the EWP record since 1872, and the
third wettest in that series. Total=1233 mm/135% of 1961-1990 average.
It included the WETTEST September to December period on record, the wettest
Autumn (q.v.), the wettest April (q.v.), the second wettest October, the 6th
wettest November and the second wettest April & May pairing (q.v.). [ see
also 1768, 1852, 1872 & 1960 ]
> Many central southern & southeastern counties (south of London) of England exceeded 1000mm of RAIN, with upwards of 1300mm in parts of Sussex. The DRIEST area this year was around the Wash/eastern Fens & east coastal East Anglia where some places recorded just under 700mm of rain.
|2000 (Oct)/2001 (Feb):(5 months):|
|> Above average SUNSHINE in the Northern Isles. For Lerwick (Shetland) & Kirkwall (Orkney), the accumulated values for these months are easily the highest in the respective records for these autumn/winter months.|
|2000/2001 (6 & 12 month periods):|
|> According to Philip Eden (RMetSoc/Weather Log): " the
six-month period September 2000 to February 2001 was unprecedentedly WET over
England & Wales. At Herstmonceux (East Sussex) 1154mm fell in this period
compared with a mean of 426mm." This represents some 270% of the average,
and indicates how the highly notable wet weather has been concentrated across
> The 12 months from April 2000 to March 2001 in the EWP series is the WETTEST such 12 month period in that record (starts 1766) with a total=1355 mm; this is not far short of 1.5 times the 1961-1990 average. For parts of SE England, the anomaly is probably well in excess of 200% - and current thinking is that this may be an event that has not occurred for many centuries!
|1999-2001 (24 months to end March):|
|> The 24 month period ending March 2001 was the WETTEST in the EWP series.|
|> PROLONGED/HEAVY SNOWFALL affected eastern Scotland & NE England
3rd to 5th. Shetland, Fife, Tayside & Aberdeenshire amongst worst affected.
A train (15 pax & crew) was trapped by SNOWDRIFTS in the north of Scotland
(en-route to Wick), electricity was cut-off to roughly 11000 households after
SNOW/HIGH WINDS brought down power lines, many roads closed and an Inverness to
Edinburgh train was de-railed (nr. Killiekrankie) after it hit a tree brought
down by GALES. Many schools closed.
> A depression moved slowly south-eastwards across the British Isles during the 26th & 27th & SNOW fell heavily across Scotland & N. Ireland, DRIFTING in the strong wind. Once again, reports indicated that transport was severely disrupted. Large accumulations south of the border were confined to Northumberland, Durham & North Wales.
|> Record WARMTH by the CET record, also for eastern Scotland. The (provisional) CET value=13.3degC (+2.7 on 1961-90 climatology), easily beating the previous October CET record (at the time) of 13.0 set in 1969. The difference was most notable in the mean overnight MINIMUM TEMPERATURE, and there were no AIR FROSTS recorded. For individual stations (using the 1961-90 average), Dyce (Aberdeen), Eskdalemuir (Dumfries & Galloway), Cambridge and Hurn (Bournemouth) all had mean MINIMA 4degC or more above, with the anomaly at Cambridge +4.6degC. The night average at Heathrow (11.3degC) was some +3.3 above average, and was the highest (for October) in that station's record which began in 1946. In many parts of the UK, the month was warmer than September 2001. (Also WET by the EWP series: ~ 160%)|
|2001 (November & December):|
|> In November, 2001, anticyclones dominated the weather, with PRESSURE anomaly +10 mbar or greater over Wales and the West Country. Specifically, a large anticyclone settled over the British Isles from the 14th to the 20th November, PRESSURE peaking at 1044 mbar at midday on the 16th - not too far from the known 'highest' for November. December also experienced anomalously high PRESSURE. A 'mean' high was centred over the Channel Islands (central value ~ 1025mbar), with an anomaly centre south of Iceland in excess of +16, and anomalies across mainland UK ranging from +9 in southern England to +14 in the far NW of Scotland. Philip Eden (Weather Log/R.Met.Soc) says that with the mslp exceeding 1040 mbar somewhere in the UK daily between 8th & 19th, this may be unique in the instrumental record.|
|> SUNNIEST December on record over large parts of UK (& specifically by the composite England & Wales record which began in 1909**). Several sites >=200% of LTA., e.g. Heathrow (London) 93hr/203% & Aldergrove (Belfast) 78hr/200%. ** [ The England & Wales sunshine figure=2.6hr/day (183%).](see also 1999/2000 winter)|
|> Another WARM year. The GLOBAL average surfaceTEMPERATURE roughly 0.4degC above the 1961-90 average, in the 'top-10' WARMEST years (as at 2011) in record which started in 1860. (Warmest 2005 & 2010: q.v.):(reflected in the CET record, with an anomaly of +0.5degC of the 1961-90 LTA .. probably less for the 1971-2000 base-line though ~ +0.2degC, and a long way short of being in the 'top-ten' of warm years by the CET.)|
|> Notable DRY spell in southern Britain.|
|> DRIEST September Aberdeen (Dyce) & Plymouth (Mountbatten) since 1959.|
|2002 (October & November):|
|> A notably WET (& MILD) pair of months: by the EWP (CET) series, though not 'record-breaking' as such. Some local all-time records set, e.g. Aberdeen, St. Mawgan (nr. Newquay, Cornwall) and Aldergrove (nr. Belfast). Eastern Scotland had it's second WETTEST (areal average) October on record. Also, using areal-averages, the south & SW of England probably had one of their WETTEST Novembers in at least 150 years, perhaps longer (some sources say THE wettest - though I have my doubts about this). Northern Ireland also had a notably wet November.|
|2002 (into early 2003) (October - December, into early January 2003):|
|> The three months October to December 2002, using the EWP series, were the third WETTEST in that record. With depressions taking a more than usual southerly route across the British Isles, exceptional autumn and early-winter rainfall was the result across southern areas. The concentration / frequency of high-rainfall events was not quite of the order of 2000 (q.v.), but FLOODING did result, with the Thames Valley particularly affected - the events spilling-over into January 2003.|
|> Another WARM year. (CET=10.60degC/+1.1degC [ on 1961-90 means or
+0.9degC on 1971-2000 means ] (fifth WARMEST .. behind 1949, 1990, 1999 &
2006). Mainly due to January to April 2002 being extremely MILD, with MAXIMUM
TEMPERATURES in February the second HIGHEST on record; night-time TEMPERATURES
also noteworthy for being well above average in several months - implying
increase in humidity values over the year as a whole; the average annual
MINIMUM CET placed it second-warmest (after 2004) in that series. According to
the Hadley Centre (at the time), five of the six warmest years in the full CET
record have occurred since 1990, the one 'outlier' being 1949.
> According to the MetO/Hadley series revised (in 2012) data series, 2002 was amongst the top-10 WARMEST years globally.
> Notably WET in some parts of the UK. By the EWP series, the total=1118mm (121%), placed it at number 10 in the series 'top-10', but looking at the past 100 years, the total was only exceeded four times (1903, 1927, 1960 & 2000). For Aldergrove (Belfast airport) specifically, the year saw a total of 1095, the WETTEST year in that station's record (started 1927), the previous highest being in 1966. No individual monthly records broken, but the 3 months October to December were the third WETTEST on record. In northern England, rainfall in February beat the previous (areal-average) value by 2mm. FLOODING was again a feature of the news, though not the widespread/intense events of 2000.
|1998-2002 (5 year period):|
|> According to COL the period 1998 to 2002 inclusive was the WETTEST five-year period in the EWP series (which starts in 1766); the total = 5419 mm. The others are: 1875-1879 = 5205 mm, 1876-1880 = 5197 mm, 1997-2001 = 5145 mm& 1878-1882 = 5107 mm.|
|2003 (January): HIGH (LOCAL RECORD) UK TEMPERATURES|
|> On the 26th, a MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 18.3degC at Aboyne,
Aberdeenshire. This equalsthe previous record for January in the UK, set
at Aber, North Wales on the 10th January 1971 & 27th January 1958.
> In England, 17.4degC was recorded on the 26th at East Malling (Kent) and is apparently the highest January regionalvalue for the SE of England: previous highest 16.3degC at Gravesend-Broadness (Kent), on 6th January 1999 - though there are considerable doubts about this station's readings / exposure etc. (based on 'Weather'/RMetSoc & MetO press releases)
|2003 (April):HIGH TEMPERATURES - NEAR RECORD APRIL UK/RECORD SCOTTISH|
|> Very high TEMPERATURES mid-month (with heath/moorland FIRES breaking out - mainly started deliberately). On the 16th, Wolverhampton MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE = 27.3degC, the HIGHEST April temperature in the UK since 16th April, 1949 (Met Office). Individual station records (varying record-length) broken in many places, and on the 17th, the afternoon MAXIMUM of 26.9degC at Lochcarron (Western Highlands) set a new April temperature record for Scotland, beating the previous record of 26.7degC (?80degF converted?) at Dollar (Clackmannanshire) in April 1870.|
|2003 (January - April):NOTABLY SUNNY - LOCAL RECORDS BROKEN IN MARCH|
|> For the period January to April (inclusive), the total SUNSHINE across
the UK was remarkable. Philip Eden (WeatherOnline) states: " The first
four months of 2003 have provided .. the SUNNIEST start to the year since
1893". The averages (from Met Office site) over England & Wales=149%
(Feb: 152%, Mar: 166%); Scotland=138% (Mar: 166%); N. Ireland=139% (Mar: 169%).
[ anomalies wrt 1961-90 averages ]. Inspecting the graphical output, it appears
that Northern England has benefited most with an overall anomaly for these four
> Feb: sunniest since 1988, with anomalies at least 140% and locally over 160%; Northern Home Counties, East Midlands, East Anglia and areas around the Solway Firth particularly blessed.
> Mar: Regarded as SUNNIEST March across England & Wales 'on-record' (probably since early 1900's for a few individual stations). Also 'record-breaking' for Scotland (& possibly N.Ireland). SUNNIEST March at Prestwick, Kinloss and Aberdeen since at least 1951. At Eskdalemuir sunniest since 1929 and at Paisley Observatory since 1894 (Met Office). (Also a DRY month).
> Apr: Also well-above average SUNSHINE values across the UK, though no individual records broken.
The abundance of SUNSHINE coincided with a lack of RAINFALL during the months of February to April: averaged over the whole UK something like 65% of "expectations" for these three months. The strong sunshine and dry (or drying soils), undoubtedly helped along the way to the events in the following summer (q.v.); as it was, TEMPERATURE anomalies in March and April were around +2degC across large areas of the UK, with Scotland particularly favoured.
|2003 (June-August/summer): EXCEPTIONAL WARMTH ACROSS UK - RECORDS TUMBLE|
| > On the 10th August, 2003, the 'all-time' UK highest TEMPERATURE was
set at Kew (Royal Botanic Gardens) with 38.1degC. ( This beat the previous
highest of 37.1 at Cheltenham on 3rd August, 1990 ). On this day, many stations
in the Greater London/suburban south-east of England reached around 38degC, but
some of the highest values have been questioned: for example, Faversham
(Brogdale) reached 38.5degC, but this is now not used due to problems with
over-sheltering of the site. Gravesend also reached 38.1 (as above), but it too
is suspect: amongst others (accepted) are: Aldenham School & Heathrow/37.9,
Wisley/37.8, Northolt/37.7, St. James's Park & London Weather Centre/37.6
and Greenwich Observatory 37.5degC. This day's WARMTH extended into the East
Midlands/Lincolnshire to the north and down across Wessex/Central southern
> The period 3rd to 12th August was notably WARM, with many records broken. MAXIMA achieved or exceeded 30degC somewhere or other for all 10 days, and on 6th, 9th and 10th, 35degC was reached/exceeded. On the 9th August, Greycrook (Scottish Borders) achieved 32.9degC, a new "all-time" Scottish record for any month [ which beat 32.8degC at Dumfries 2nd July, 1908: this may have been a degF value converted ]. On the Channel Islands, the day maximum TEMPERATURE at St.Louis/St.Helier observatory was 36.0degC: this was a new record for the site, AND for the Channel Islands as a group (in a record since 1894). In addition, many high NIGHT-TIME MINIMA were recorded. Guernsey airport had a minimum of 23.7degC and St. Mawgan 23.1degC both overnight 4th/5th August, and both long-term local records.
> Looking at the SUMMER overall, and only at CET values, the overall anomaly was +1.6deg (on 1971-2000 values), and is regarded (at the time) as the fourth-WARMEST in that record. June was the WARMEST since 1976, and August specifically was in the 'top-5' of all-time warm so-named months, and in the top-dozen or so 'all-month' warm ones. Not necessarily DRY, with near-average or above-average rainfall June and July, but August again was notably DRY: the EWP anomaly was around 27% and was in the 'top-10' of dry so-named months. Turning to Scotland, June and July was one of the WARMEST such pairings in the past 100 years (warmest since 1961), and as August anomaly was +2.0degC, I am sure that the summer overall north of the border was close to record-breaking.
> By the end of August, 2003, the overall year-so-far anomaly was running at around +1.5degC (depending upon which base-set you use). Also, it was announced in 2004 that the period March to August, 2003 was the WARMEST such period in the CET record (starts 1659) [RMetS/'Weather'/MetO-Hadley].
> According to a 'news item' in the April issue of 'Weather' (RMetS), the University of Berne stated that summer 2003 was "very likely" to be the HOTTEST since 1500 over Europe as a whole - probably by a 'wide margin'; major increase in rate of recession of Swiss glaciers.
|> Using the EWP series, the total precipitation for these two months was 56mm, the second-lowest in the series which began in 1766. (The driest such period was in 1959 with 46mm).|
|2003 (10th August):CARLTON-IN-CLEVELAND INTENSE STORM|
|> On the 10th August (Sunday), when the 'all-time' UK highest temperature was being set (see elsewhere), a very INTENSE RAIN-STORM occurred at Carlton-in-Cleveland (North Yorkshire) when 47mm fell in 12 minutes (46mm in 10min) starting at 0935GMT. The storm was accompanied by a SEVERE SQUALL, HAIL up to 2 cm diameter and a 9degC drop in TEMPERATURE. There was major DISRUPTION across the North Yorkshire/NE England region, with many roads FLOODED, buildings DAMAGED/FLOODED and some trees blown over. The usual crop of power cuts and a lot of DAMAGE to buildings and cars due to the HAIL. Many vessels offshore Teesmouth were caught in the SQUALLS, with 2 fishermen being found dead after the storm had passed. This storm rates as one of the most intense DOWNPOURS ever to be recorded (and accepted) in the British Isles. (source = Royal Met.Soc/'Weather')|
|> The daytime MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 20.2degC on the 7th November, 2003 at Lochcarron (Wester Ross) was the highest in Scotland since 1946. According to Eden (RMetS/WxLog) 'Before this year , November maxima of 20degC or more in the UK had occurred only in 1906, 1938, 1946 & 1997'.|
|> The three-month total (September, October and November) SUNSHINE total at Heathrow airport (to the west of London) was 456hr. This easily exceeded the total of 423hr set in 1997 (q.v.) and this autumn was probably the SUNNIEST such across London and the Home Counties for at least 50yr.|
|2003 (Annual): WARM/SUNNY & DRY - AS MET OFFICE LEAVES BRACKNELL!|
|> TEMPERATURES: well above average, particularly using DAY-TIME
MAXIMA. According to the Met Office, it was the WARMEST year in Scotland since
at least 1961, with an average TEMPERATURE of 8.3degC. The highest UK (known)
daytime MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE was recorded in August (q.v.).
> Using the Central England Temperature record, with a value of 10.5degC, it was in the 'top-10' WARMEST years, with an anomaly (re: 1971-2000 dataset) of +0.8degC. [For the whole earth, in the 'top-5' WARMEST years (in the MetO/Hadley series) since 1861.]
> SUNSHINE: abundant SUNSHINE was a feature across the British Isles (c.f. 1959, the year the Meteorological Office began it's HQ building in Bracknell). In the composite record since 1961 (for England), with 1777hr, it was easily the SUNNIEST over the past 40-odd years. Similarly in Scotland, the composite sunshine record placed 2003 as the SUNNIEST for that nation over a similar period. Several sites with long-running records (though of the Cambell-Stokes variety), recorded their SUNNIEST year on record. Notable amongst these are Weymouth (2113h/start 1895), Malvern (1776h/start 1929) & Nairn (1552h/start 1931). More than 2000h of SUNSHINE was recorded from Dorset to Suffolk as well as in the Channel Islands. According to the 'News' section of 'Weather' for March, 2003 .. "the fact that 2000 hours appears to have been reached in several inland areas of south-east England does appear to be unprecedented ..". (RMetS/'Weather')
> PRECIPITATION: Using the England & Wales (EWP) precipitation series, the February to October 2003 total was the second-lowest, after 1959, since 1921 (R.Met.Soc/'Weather'). Water resources were apparently reasonable due to the high rainfall winter 2002/2003. However, river-flow was well down by late autumn 2003. (A WET end to November helped the situation):
> In the Kew Observatory series (begins 1697, ends 1980 - extended using local sources), this period (February to October) was the second DRIEST, beaten only by 1921.
> For the YEAR, the EWP ended up 761mm (83% 1961-90 LTA), and this total was only beaten by 7 other years since 1900 (specifically, 2003 was the DRIEST year since 1975). However, for the entire series (since 1766) 2003 doesn't even appear in the 'top-10' of DRY years.
| > Notably WARM at the beginning of the month; Using the CET daily
series, both the night 3rd/4th & the day 4th produced the highest CET
(areal mean) February values for the respective data-sets (minimum since 1878,
maximum since 1772). The MINIMUM value in particular beat the previous value
(10.3degC) handsomely. On the 4th, the HIGHEST MAXIMUM recorded was 17.9degC at
Gravesend (Kent), with many values 16 or 17 across the Midlands, East Anglia
& SE of England. However note that these values are NOT records for either
February, or the first-third of that month, (but the Gravesend value is a
record - at this time - for the first week of February). According to Philip
Eden (RMetS/'Weather Log':.. " as measured by the CET, the first half of
the month was the warmest, alongside 2002, since before 1869 ..."
> Exceptionally SUNNY in Northern Ireland & the Isle of Man. Although using different types of recorder, it may have been the SUNNIEST February in these areas for over 50 years, and in the case of Belfast, perhaps since 1906.
> The last two days of January and the first four of February 2004 was an exceptionally WET period across Snowdonia. At Capel Curig, 417mm was recorded over these six days. This led to severe FLOODING in parts of Wales, most especially in the north. Andrew Sibley ('Weather'/RMetS: Feb. 2005) reports that in the 24hr period from 1900GMT on 2nd February until 1900GMT on 3rd February, 169.2mm of rainfall was recorded at Capel Curig. As a result of the high RAINFALL, the banks of the River Conwy broke, and the adjacent railway line carrying services between Llandudno (North Wales coast) and Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd was severely DAMAGED and put out of action for many months.
|2004 (August): THE BOSCASTLE STORM|
|> On the 16th, TORRENTIAL RAINFALL fell on the headwaters of the two
rivers that drain (in combination as the R. Valency) through Boscastle
(N.Cornwall). The highest (24hr) rainfall for this event is 200.4mm at Otterham
(nr. Boscastle), which fell in under 5 hours. At Lesnewth (also nr. Boscastle),
85.7mm fell in just one hour at the height of the storm (actually a series of
heavy rain-producing cells). An estimate (radar and other evidence) has
been made that at least 250mm fell from the storm-complex over Hendraburnick
Down, from where many local rivers flow. Much DAMAGE was done in the town to
buildings, bridges & vehicles - many of the latter being swept out into the
harbour. All boats in the harbour were destroyed (or otherwise lost to the
sea). No-one was killed. FLOODING also occurred in other parts of N.Cornwall,
e.g. Crackington Haven (where structural damage also evident) and Camelford.
[for more on this see S Burt, 'Weather' / RMetS, August 2005.]
> For August 2004, in the EWP series (since 1766), it was the fifth WETTEST so-named month. The total was 157mm, or approx. 220% of LTA. Some areas were even wetter (see above & below), and Leuchars (Fife) recorded 212mm of RAIN, representing over 340% of LTA. However, it was drier in parts of the southeast of England & the north of Scotland.
|> With the JET-STREAM often a long way south (for a NE Atlantic summer), it was very unsettled & often WET across the British Isles. It was particularly WET across the English Midlands, northern & eastern England & parts of Scotland - some places had well over double August RAINFALL, for example the anomaly for Lowestoft was 294% and for Leuchars (Fife), the total of 212mm represented ~340% of LTA. Earlier, during June, a notably DEEP DEPRESSION (for June) moved across the middle of these islands (from west to east), bringing STRONG WINDS and a central PRESSURE of 982mbar - this equals the lowest value for England and Wales for June in at least 100 years.|
|2004-2006: (late autumn 2004 to spring 2006):|
|> In a dataset covering the 'English lowlands' [begins 1910/UK MetO],
the 18 months November 2004 to April 2006 are reckoned to be one of the most
intense DROUGHT periods in that record. Within this extended period, the period
November 2004 to June 2005 was particularly note-worthy, with many parts of
England & Wales experiencing a lengthy DRY spell - concentrated across
southern England (south Cornwall/far south Devon in the west to much of
Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, West Sussex and the London area in the east. In
these specific areas, PRECIPITATION anomalies (wrt 1961-1990 LTA) were below
60%. [EWP, 'Weather'/RMetSoc, April 2013]
> In marked contrast, NW Scotland had anomalies in excess of 140%, due largely to an excessively WET winter 2004/2005.
|2004 (Annual): ANOTHER WARM YEAR|
| > The Central England Temperature (CET) was: 10.5degC. This places it
inside the 'top-10' of warmest years in the all-time list. By the mean annual
MINIMUM TEMPERATURE (CET), this was the warmest by that measure in the series.
In the period 1990 to 2004, 8 of the warmest years in the entire series (since
1659) have occurred in that 15 year span. (For the globe, with a mean anomaly
of +0.4degC, it was amongst the ten WARMEST years since 1861: it is worth
noting that there was NOEl Nino event to enhance the warmth).
> A notably THUNDERY year across lowland England. At Heathrow airport (west London), a total of 23 days with THUNDER recorded, the highest such annual figure in their record which began in 1947. Within the SE region of England, particularly just to the south of London & across Norfolk, some places recorded up to 30 days with 'thunder heard'.
|2005 (January): CARLISLE & WELSH FLOODS|
|> Very UNSETTLED first two weeks: although monthly RAINFALL overall was
below average (notably DRY east, south & Midland England), locally in Wales
and NW England, high-intensity RAINFALL over the period 7th - 10th contributed
to SEVERE FLOODING, most notably in North Wales and Carlisle, Cumbria. Over a
two day period covering 7th/8th January, Capel Curig (N.Wales) recorded 184mm
and Keswick (Cumbria) 118mm.
> Later, on the 11th/12th of the month, a vigorous, very deep DEPRESSION moved to the NW of Scotland, with HEAVY RAIN/SEVERE GALES (low-level GUSTS up to 90+knots) affecting N. Ireland & W/NW Scotland; there was extensive DAMAGE, with some people KILLED.
|> A COLD May. On the night of the 17th / 18th, the TEMPERATURE fell to -6.3degC at Tulloch Bridge [Lochaber]; according to Philip Eden (usw), this was the lowest May temperature in the UK since 1982, and possibly the lowest minimum that late in the year since 1956.|
| > As a DROUGHT continued to affect SE England, Hawnby, on the North
York Moors experienced something like a month's rainfall (~50mm) in around
half-an-hour on the 19th, and 70mm in three hours. Parts of Helmsley and Hawnby
(and other local villages) were severely affected by sudden FLOODING:
helicopters had to be used to rescue people from cars etc., as streams became
swollen torrents. No deaths were recorded, but there were widespread power cuts
& property DAMAGE.
> In the SW of England, near Padstow (Cornwall), another high-intensity, high-yield RAIN-STORM occurred on the 29th: over a period of about 4 hours, at St. Merryn, an estimated 75-100mm of RAIN fell in this short period (Crugmeer, near Padstow recorded 51mm, most of which fell within 75mins); roads became impassable with motorists trapped in cars. (Eden / RMetS "Weather Log" & "Weather Eye")
> Notably CHILLY nights during the first 10 days of the month, with some stations breaking records during the period for low NIGHT MINIMA. Overall though, it was a WARM month, at least for England & Wales - for some the second warmest June since 1976. Across some parts of the lower Thames Valley (including London), the TEMPERATURE anomaly was around +2degC on the 1971-2000 LTA.
|2004/2005 (November - June):|
|> A lengthy DRY SPELL for many parts of England & Wales, though concentrated in its severity across southern England, from south Cornwall & far south Devon in the west to much of Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, West Sussex and the London area in the east. In these aforementioned regions, PRECIPITATION anomalies (wrt 1961-1990 averages) were below 60%. [ By contrast, NW Scotland had anomalies in excess of 140%, largely due to an excessively WET winter.] (MetOffice / RMetS / 'Weather')|
|2005 (July): BIRMINGHAM TORNADO|
|> On the 28th, a destructive TORNADO moved across southwestern parts of Birmingham, leading to a score of injuries (but no deaths) & extensive DAMAGE to buildings, vehicles, trees etc. (See also: 1931 - June)|
|2005 (September, October & Autumn):|
| > Using the CET series, September 2005 had an anomaly (on 1971-2000
dataset) of +1.5C, and this placed it just outside the 'top-10' warmest
Septembers in that record (since the 17th century); it was one of four or five
warmest such-named months over the previous 100 years. October was remarkably
WARM (particularly by night - see **below), with an anomaly of +2.7C using the
CET value, and thus within the 'top-5' of warmest such-named months (in date
order: 1921, 1969, 1995, 2001 & 2005) in the entire record (2nd WARMEST
after 2001 using the Hadley figures). (** for a cluster of stations from the NW
Midlands down to the south coast, the overall anomaly for mean minima was well
in excess of +3C). October was however distinctly disappointing as regards
> Combining September & October in the CET record, it was amongst the WARMEST such pairing in that series: depending who you take, it could have been the warmest (vying with 1949 for that honour).
> Autumn (September, October & November), was by a whisker the WARMEST such-named season since 1978. The mean CET was 11.5degC (+1.2C anomaly), rendering it one of the 5 or 6 WARMEST Autumns in the past two centuries, and if it was not for the very cold second half of November, it might have been the 'all-time' warmest autumn over England & Wales.
|2005 (November & December):|
|> According to Philip Eden, "it was the SUNNIEST November, averaged over England & Wales, since before 1881, and new station records were posted at more than 20 sites in eastern, central & southern England". In particular, an excess over long-term mean values of 150% or more occurred widely across the north Midlands & N. England, with pockets similarly favoured across SE England. Waddington, near Lincoln (Lincolnshire) had 111 hr, which represented 164% of the LTA. The excess of SUNSHINE continued through much of December 2005, with anomalies locally well in excess of 170%. For England and Wales, it is thought to have been the fourth SUNNIEST December since the late 19th century: Philip Edenwrites that it was the SUNNIEST November & December since modern records began.|
|2005 (December): BUNCEFIELD OIL-DEPOT FIRE|
|> Just after 0600 GMT on Sunday, 11th December, a series of large explosions occurred at an oil-storage depot (Buncefield) on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The resultant fire was regarded as the most intense / largest in western Europe since the end of the Second World War. The plume of smoke from the fire affected some areas well away from the source, reducing solar radiation significantly, until the fire was extinguished late the following day. Dispersion of the smoke plume was slow, as the dominant pressure pattern was anticyclonic.|
|2005 (Annual): OUTSTANDING WARMTH GLOBALLY|
|> According to the updated (2012) MetO/Hadley dataset, 2005 was equal
WARMEST year globally (with 2010). The fact that this was a 'record' year for
warmth is doubly interesting, as there was NO strong (i.e. 'warm') El Nino
event, as there was in 1998.
> By the CET record, the anomaly was around +0.7C (wrt 1971-2000 series, or +0.9C wrt 1961-1990 standard), and placed 2005 within the 'top-10' of warmest years. Of the 10 years 1996-2005, 8 had all-year anomalies of greater than +0.5C. The consistent WARMTH of the past decade is also reflected in series covering Scotland & Northern Ireland. Whichever way you look at it, it was an exceptionally warm year, following a continuing upward curve in national TEMPERATURES.
|> June & July 2006, taken together, were notably WARM & very
SUNNY. There was also a lack of RAINFALL, at least over large parts of England
Much of Britain was exceptionally DRY until the last week of June, 2006. For June specifically, by the EWP series (MetOffice), the value of 24 mm represented ~35% of the long-term average. For the two months together, the EWP total=63 mm, about half the average (1971-2000) RAINFALL. Only 3mm of rain fell at St. Catherine's Point (IoW) & 4mm at Benson (Oxfordshire) [Philip Eden]. According to COL (bulletin), a large area of the Midlands, north & west Home Counties & parts of East Anglia had <25% of average, with a small area around Bedfordshire / north Buckinghamshire ~10%.
> TEMPERATURE: Using the Central England Temperature (MetO/Hadley) series, these two months together were in the 'top-3' for WARMTH in that series (begins 1659), alongside 1826 & 1976. By mean MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE, it was arguably the warmest such pairing for over a century. Specifically, June 2006 was probably the WARMEST June across a large part of the British Isles since 1976 (a memorable summer), with anomalies typically +2C across much of England & Wales. Looking only at mean MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES, then anomalies exceeding +3C were reported from central southern & southeast England. July was also a very WARM month: the CET value of 19.7degC places it as the WARMEST July (and WARMEST any-named month) in this long established record. There were two HOT spells; one at the beginning of the month, and one from 16th - 19th, and on this latter date, the all-time (known/accepted) July British Isles TEMPERATURE record fell; 36.5degC was reported from Wisley, Surrey, beating the previous (accepted) highest of 35.9degC at Cheltenham in 1976.
> Following a very SUNNY June across much of Wales, central & southern England, July saw many long-standing SUNSHINE records broken across a wide swathe of Britain, from south & southeast England to the central lowlands of Scotland. According to Philip Eden, this was (for England & Wales) 'easily the SUNNIEST July since records began in 1881 .. and probably also the SUNNIEST calendar month of any name on record.' Specifically for southeastern England, with total SUNSHINE in the range 300-350 hours, it was probably on a par with the very sunny month of July 1911 in this region, though comparison is difficult due to changes in instrumentation used.
|> Although PRECIPITATION averaged over the country was below average
(for the England & Wales series ~80% of 1971-2000 average & for
Scotland ~82%), the summer was notable for two dramatic STORMS:
> On the 26th June, showers / THUNDERSTORMS readily formed, and at Penzance (Cornwall), aided by sea-breeze convergence, 82.1mm of RAIN was recorded in the 24hr from 0600GMT on the 26th (mostly in the evening & early part of the night), leading to much FLOODING in the area. ('Weather', August 2006 & others)
> On the 13th August, THUNDERY RAIN developed along a marked line of convergence which stretched from East Anglia to Hampshire. By the late afternoon / early evening of the 13th, some places within this zone had at least 80mm of rain (within roughly 6 hours), with isolated instances of over 100mm of RAIN: NE Hampshire & NW Surrey were particularly badly affected, with the local railway line closed for four days, properties FLOODED & much disruption to road transport.
> In addition, East Anglia had a particularly WET August, with a range of %ages of 170% across Norfolk & 250% for Suffolk.
> According to the Met Office, the three-month summer of June, July & August was one of the WARMEST on record for the UK, with an anomaly of roughly +1.5degC on the long-term mean. For the CET domain specifically, with a value of 17.2 (+1.6C on 71-00 mean), it was ranked fifth in the whole series. It was also SUNNY and DRY (see 1. above). [ The WARMTH was a feature for a wide area of continental Europe, with anomalies generally +1 to +2degC, and in parts of northern Europe, the anomaly was up to +4degC.]
|2006 (Autumn): RECORD-BREAKING WARMTH|
|> This was, both by the CET and UK-wide record, easily the WARMEST
Autumn in their respective series (for the CET since 1659) - the WARMTH was
spread out across all three autumn months with September setting a new record
(see below); for the CET, the value was 12.6degC. From COL records, the warmth
was most evident (within the British Isles) across SE and Central Southern
England & East Anglia, with an anomaly (wrt 1971-2000 means) of +2.6C.
(Previous warmest Autumns in the CET series were 1730 & 1731; the figure
recorded for 2006 outstripped those for these 'ancient' years by a considerable
amount - around 0.8C! - see also 2011 for the 'second-warmest').
[ The exceptional warmth was a feature of virtually the whole of Europe - only Greece, the southern Balkans & Turkey-in-Europe missing out. A broad swathe of anomalies >+3C stretched from SW France, across all of Germany & the Low Countries to the Czech Republic & the Baltic States. ]
> September 2006, was the WARMEST September in the CET record: The figure of 16.8degC, is 3.1C above the 1971-2000 LTA, beating the previous 'record-breaker' in 1729. Using a wider measure covering the whole of the British Isles, it was the WARMEST September for at least 100 years. (Met O / COL). (Also worthy of note was that owing to the fact that August 2006 was 'around average' as regards temperature, September was considerably warmer (& also SUNNIER) than this nominally summer month, by as much as 1C in some eastern areas of England. According to Bob Prichard / letters COL / taking sunshine AND warmth together, this September was unparalleled in the modern record.)
> October 2006: an EXCEPTIONALLY WARM month (again!): The CET value was 13.0degC, representing an anomaly (wrt 1971-2000) of +2.6C, with anomalies locally across southern England of +3.5degC. The WARMTH was again (as for September) experienced across the greater part of the UK, though October 2005 was technically warmer for England & Wales. This October lies in the 'top-5' of warm such-named months in the series which began in 1659.
> For the extended period April - October, 2006, it was the WARMEST thus-defined period in the CET record.
> It was also a WET Autumn in central-southern England, the south, west & northern Home Counties & parts of East Anglia, together with many populated parts of Scotland - in the former case, this was important as it offset a DROUGHT that had triggered water supply restrictions across parts of SE Britain; in the latter case it 'set the scene' for some serious FLOODING during the subsequent winter season.
|> The north-west London district of Kensal Rise experienced a damaging TORNADO (T4 at least, perhaps T5) on the 7th December, 2006. A small but intense line of THUNDERY downpours moved quickly east across southern England, reaching London around 11GMT. It produced gusty winds, heavy RAIN, HAIL & notable 'day-darkness'. ('Weather' Jan 2007 & TORRO).|
|2006 (Annual): WARMEST-EVER YEAR IN THE CET RECORD|
|> 2006 is the WARMEST year in the CET record (began 1659), with a value
of 10.8degC. This represents an anomaly of ~ +1.3C. The previous warmest
years were 1999 & 1990. Using a wider measure covering the whole of the UK
confirms that this was the WARMEST year over that domain since at least 1914
(previous warmest across the whole-UK was 2003).
> According to the MetO/Hadley revised (in 2012) dataset, 2006 was amongst the five WARMEST years globally (since the mid-nineteenth century).
| > Exceptionally MILD. Using the CET record, for the three months
DJF=6.4degC [anomaly +1.9C on 1971-2000 means], the WARMEST winter by this
measure since 1989 (6.5degC). In the entire series (since 1659), this was the
fourth warmest winter by this measure. Much of lowland England had an anomaly
on MEAN TEMPERATURE greatly exceeding +2.5C.
> January was a particularly WARM month. By the CET record, with a value of 7.0degC (+2.8C), this January was the fifth WARMEST such-named month in the series (began 1659); it came behind: 1796, 1834, 1916 & 1921. According to Philip Eden (Weather Log/RMetS) " rarely for January, there was not a single instance of a sub-zero maximum at a low-level site in the UK ".
> Two points of note: the Glasgow area apparently had it WETTEST November & December 'on record' (Bishopton 303 mm/289% and 295 mm/260% respectively), whilst at Aberdeen, the SUNSHINE total of 88hr greatly exceeded the previous December record in 1951. (Philip Eden/Weather Log/R Met Soc). Across the winter as a whole, according to the Met Office, large areas of central, west & NW Scotland had PRECIPITATION anomalies exceeding 150%, with small pockets (including some high population-density areas in the 'Central Belt'), exceeding 175% of the long-term average. [see also entry below.]
> SEVERE GALES caused widespread DISRUPTION and loss of life on the 18th January, 2007 as a depression tracked eastwards across Scotland & headed for northern Europe. Like the STORMS of the 3rd January, 1976 and the 25th January, 1990, it was notable for high GUSTS in central and eastern England (67 knots Heathrow & Northolt) as well on western coasts. In places, it was the severest GALE since the 'Burn's Day storm' of 1990 or the storm of the 30th October, 2000. 13 people were known to have been killed on the day in the UK. ('Weather', Feb2007)
|2006/2007 (latter Autumn, all Winter & early Spring):|
|> The months October 2006 through to February 2007 (March for Scotland)
were consistently blighted by WET weather; the individual figures [using the
England & Wales Precipitation series (EWP)] aren't too dramatic, but
accumulated over these five months, the total by this measure=552 mm,
representing around 122% of the 1971-2000 long-term average. (EWP)
> These figures don't of course apply to Scotland and here the excess-over-normal was even more dramatic: in this country, significant FLOODING was reported at various times throughout these months. For example, in October 2006, parts of NE Scotland had well over twice 'average' RAINFALL, with isolated pockets ~300%. In November & December 2006, there was 'record' RAINFALL in the Glasgow area (based on the Bishopton recording station - see above), with FLOODING the result - by December, many Scottish rivers were close-to or exceeded capacity. The very WET weather continued into January & February & early March of 2007, with further problems following the heavy excess of RAINFALL. Accumulating the Bishopton (Renfrewshire / west of Glasgow) RAINFALL over these 6 months, the total was 1185 mm or just over 200% of long-term average. (Eden/Wxlog/UKMetO)
|[ According to Philip Eden in 'Weather Log'/R MetS: this was the
eleventh most anticyclonic April in 134 years of records.]
> Exceptionally WARM, and many areas of the British Isles set new records for both April maxima and mean TEMPERATURES. Maximum temperature anomalies were at least 5C above the long-term average over many parts of southern England, with a local +6C anomaly 'hot-spot' in SE Hampshire / West Sussex. By the CET value ( 11.2°C/+3.1C c.c. 1971-2000 series), it was the WARMEST April (at the time) since at least 1659 [ beaten subsequently by 2011; just four years later - significant to my mind ]. The previous warmest April was that of 1865, with a value of 10.6degC, so rather than the new record being a few tenths of a degree above the previous 'record', this year the record was 'smashed' by 0.6C.
> It was also very DRY, with near-DROUGHT conditions over southeast England, East Anglia, the East Midlands, Wessex & Lincolnshire: many places here recorded much less than 5 mm of RAINFALL, with a few spots (i.e Norfolk/Suffolk, lower Thames Valley & either side Thames Estuary) no more than 1 mm. From the Royal Met.Soc 'WxLog' data, Lowestoft (Suffolk) & Hastings (Sussex) did not return measurable rainfall for this month, whilst Cambridge recorded just 1 mm (2%).
> With an EWP value of 10.4 mm (representing just 17% of the LTA 1971-2000), it was in the 'top-10' DRIEST such-named month in the series (starts 1766): more impressively, for the south-east of Britain (using the Hadley dataset / definition), it was probably the DRIEST April (since 1912) with just 2.3 mm of PRECIPITATION and with this value it was also one of the DRIEST months of any name in the southeast.
> It was also very SUNNY: exceptionally so for the southern half of Britain, where some stations had their sunniest April on record. According to Philip Eden (WxLog/RMetSoc), it was the second-SUNNIEST April (after 1893) in a record that starts in 1881.
|> Spring was the WARMEST in an areal series back to 1914 for the UK & England and Wales, joint-warmest for Scotland and second-warmest for Northern Ireland. It was also SUNNY, with anomalies exceeding 125% over most of the UK, and around 140% in a zone extending from the Isle-of-Wight, through Hampshire and east Dorset to much of Berkshire & south Oxfordshire. [Previous warmest 1945.] (Met Office/NCIC as reported in 'Weather', July 2007)|
|2007 (May, June & July): MAJOR FLOODING EVENTS OVER ENGLAND|
|> This period was exceptionally WET, both as regards the individual
months, and when aggregated. This was the wettest sequence of such-named months
in the England & Wales Precipitation (EWP) series**, with a total EWP value
of 401 mm, (216% 1971-2000 LTA). May, with 118.4 mm (194%) was just outside the
'top-10' of such-named months in the series, and June, with 144.9 mm (213%) was
third (at the time) in that list. July was also a very WET month with nearly
two-and-a-half times average RAINFALL.
From the COL (Climatological Observers' Link) analysis, the wettest areas taking these three months together (anomaly >250%) were: South & East Yorkshire, most of Lincolnshire [ ~300% in the east of this latter county ], the western half of the Midlands and the Severn & upper Thames valleys. In these latter two catchment areas, the anomaly was around or greater than 300%. There was a small area encompassing the Isle of Wight and the immediate Solent region of 250-300% anomaly.
[**Previous wettest MJJ by the EWP dataset occurred in 1789, with a value of 349 mm q.v.]
> As a result of the heavy & often prolonged RAINFALL across these three months, there were many stories of disruption and DAMAGE during this late spring / early-to-mid summer period: major events, such as Wimbledon, Glastonbury etc., were affected, as well as many smaller events around the country. FLOODING attained 'major' proportions for South & East Yorkshire, the north & west Midlands & along the Severn & upper Thames valleys. In a government-sponsored report after the event, it was stated that the disruption arising from the flooding was the "largest peacetime emergency since World War II" (Pitt review/2008); the deaths of 13 people were attributed directly to the various events noted, and nearly 50 000 dwellings flooded to some degree - often involving total loss of possessions & usable habitation.
> In June, two major rainfall events between the 13th and the 15th & then again around the 24th/25th led to major FLOODS affecting communities from the Midlands to South & East Yorkshire; there was also significant flooding for some counties in Northern Ireland. The flooding in Yorkshire, particularly near Doncaster & around Hull & Sheffield, generated headlines in the national & international press - infrastructure items such as pumping stations were seriously affected, and many people were unable to return to their homes - estimates suggest at least a year for full recovery.
> In July, short-lived flooding affected southern England, particularly in parts of London, but the major event of this month occurred across the lower Severn and upper Thames valleys around & in the days after the 20th: intense RAINFALL produced well in excess of 100 mm over the two days 19th & 20th. (Sudeley Lodge, ~10 km NE of Cheltenham / Gloucestershire 163.1 mm and Pershore / Worcestershire 157 mm across the two rain-days), and hundreds of thousands of people were without fresh water for several days, electricity supply was interrupted & many were flooded out of their homes. Comparison was made with the March 1947 flooding in the same area - similar in effect, but completely different in type.
[ NB: the Foot & Mouth outbreak (early August) in Surrey may have been linked to faulty drainage pipes, and so the abundance of surface water, possibly contaminated with the virus, could also be linked to this poor spell of weather.]
|> Very WARM & notably DRY across Northern Ireland, with an overall TEMPERATURE anomaly around +2C & many areas experiencing 60% or less of the long-term (1961-1990) average. In particular, the Province had its second-WARMEST November in a Met Office series that started in 1914. It was also a very DRY autumn in south & west Wales and the far SW of England. (Met Office, COL & RMetS/Weather log)|
|> According to the annual summary on the Met Éireann web site, it was the WARMEST year in the respective records at Valentia Observatory (1892) and Malin Head (1885). For Ireland as a whole, the TEMPERATURE anomaly was just over +1C; for Northern Ireland, the Met Office(UK) note that in a series starting in 1914, it was the WARMEST year. By the longer-period CET series, 2007 (equal with 2004 & 1959) lay just outside the "top-10" warmest years in that long series [started 1659].|
|> Another EXCEPTIONALLY WARM January / winter month. With a CET of
6.6degC (+2.4C on 71-00 LTA), it was only 0.4C cooler than the previous January
[ which was 5th warmest such-named month q.v. ], and places it at equal (with
1898) 9th warmest January in that series. The WARMTH was most evident across
Wales & England, with large areas of +3C anomaly across central &
eastern England. It is interesting to note that the mean low-level flow
(isobaric) was W or WSW, and thus not bringing air from the 'deep',
sub-tropical south, but from the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic.
> RAINFALL was well above average across most of the country (UK) with pockets of >=200% on LTA scattered about from 'Wessex', across much of the north of England & around the Forth & Tay estuaries (COL). According to Eden (RMetS/WxLog), 'new records were set in the Edinburgh, Glasgow & Belfast districts'. Using the EWP series, this January was just within the 'top-10' WETTEST such-named months. FLOODING in parts of northern England (amongst others).
|> SUNSHINE was remarkably high averaged over the month, especially
across England, Wales, the Channel Islands, much of Northern Ireland & east
and northeast Scotland. Large areas of lowland central & SE England had
over 200% of LTA, and according to the Met Office, many parts of England &
Wales had their SUNNIEST February since at least 1929 (start of consistent
series). According to Philip Eden (WxLog/RMetS), it was 'substantially SUNNIER
than previous sunny Februarys in 1891, 1949, 1970 & 1988'.
> It was also a WARM month, mainly due to mean MAXIMA being some 2 to 3C above the LTA.
|> May was dominated by an easterly flow; according to Philip Eden,
"it was the most easterly May in 136 years of record". It was the
WARMEST & DRIEST May on record in many parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland
and NW England and it was also the SUNNIEST locally in northern Scotland. The
warmth was also experienced further south, and it was the warmest May at some
spots for over 150 yr. However, using the CET series, the month fell just
outside the 'top-10' of warmest such-named months.
> It was a WET month across much of southern England & SE Wales, with anomalies around or in excess of 200% across Wessex and along the Channel coastline from Plymouth to Dover and round into the Thames estuary. Indeed, in the extreme east of Kent, the anomaly was circa 400% of the 1971-2000 average. The excessive RAINFALL that fell during the month meant this was the third successive wet May across southern & central UK, though it was very DRY across northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
> During the latter afternoon & evening of the 29th, THUNDERSTORMS occurred across the West Country, with short-lived, SEVERE FLOODING for some in Somerset.
|> This month was very WET and exceptionally DULL across much of the
British Isles: large areas (except far N Scotland & North Isles), including
most major population centres, had <70% of the long-term average sunshine,
with significant pockets below 60%, and a few spots lower than 50%, e.g.
Eskdalemuir 41.4 h / 36% and Durham 64 h / 48% (WxLog/RMetSoc & COL maps).
According to Philip Eden, "SUNSHINE duration was the lowest in almost 130
years of records, with the sole exception of August 1912". [Remember
that most modern records are now based on electronic sensors so there is a
certain amount of 'fudging' to compare with the older records.]
> As to RAIN, anomalies (w.r.t. 1971-2000) were widely 150% or higher, with large areas of Ireland, central Scotland & Fife well above 200%: in the Edinburgh area, the anomaly was at least 300%, perhaps as high as 340%. FLOODING was reported frequently from these areas due to short-period, high-yield events. An outstanding 'wet' spot proved to be Fair Isle, where in contrast to the rest of the Northern Isles, the station here collected a 24h total of 101.2 mm of rain from 0900GMT on the 10th to 0900GMT on the 11th. This easily beat the previous 24h maximum total of 46.2mm recorded in November 1996. The total for the month here was 162.2 mm / 265%, easily the WETTEST August on Fair Isle for over 35 years. [COL, inter alios]
|> RAINFALL:- another wet summer (c.f. 2007); Using the England and Wales Precipitation (EWP) series, the %ages w.r.t. 1971-2000 data series for June, July & August were: 95%, 186% & 162%, so nothing like 2007, but the consistency of 'wet' since March shows up in the figures for March (141%), April (125%) & May (124%): it was probably the persistent wetness that led to the FLOODING problems experienced in August this year, coupled to some exceptionally high point RAINFALL amounts. From the Met. Office summary (NCIC/'Weather'), the wettest areas were distributed across south & central Scotland, much of northern England (particularly the NE), S & W Wales, the West Country & much of Northern Ireland.|
|> On the 25th, due to a combination of HEAVY RAIN & HIGH, GUSTY
WINDS, the Lake District marathon was abandoned for the first time in its
41-year history. Many competitors had to be rescued, and even experienced Fell
walkers found the conditions 'extreme'. Indicative of just how much RAINFALL
fell in this general area, at Eskdalemuir (other side of the English / Scottish
border), 334 mm (~204% 1961-1990 average) of rainfall was recorded for this
month - possibly a record for that month.
> The 28th and 29th were particularly COLD & WINTRY for the time of year (especially for the early 21st century!), with showery areas of RAIN, HAIL, SLEET & SNOW moving from the north-west (associated with a shallow low pressure) during the 28th: there were slight accumulations of SNOW in the southeast during the evening of the 28th, with 2 to 5 cm reported from the hillier parts of the Midlands and southern England (7 cm Whipsnade, Bedfordshire / Philip Eden) and SNOW settled in the London area for the first time in October since 1934 [ possibly applies to a wider area around London & across the lower elevations of the Home Counties ]. Looking at lowland Britain as a whole, Philip Eden states that this was "quite possibly the heaviest and most widespread snowfall event . . . in October since 1880".
> Early hours of the 30th, in the same ex-Arctic airmass that led to the remarkable snow (see above), a notable HAILSTORM/THUNDERSTORM affected the Ottery St. Mary area of East Devon. It is estimated that at well over 160 mm of RAIN/HAIL fell (i.e. melted equivalent) in just three hours (00-03 GMT), with radar-assisted analysis suggesting 'over 200mm' as a possibility: the large amount of low-density/small diameter HAIL blocking drains/culverts etc., plus the amount of torrential rain, led to major FLOODING in the area with severe impacts on the local community: no lives were lost, but much DAMAGE & disruption resulted (Ref: 'Weather'/Oct09/Grahame et.al).
|> The first half of February 2009 was cold & often WINTRY (as part of the COLDEST winter across the UK for at least 12 years), and some significant SNOWFALL was experienced, causing traffic disruption, even within central London. During the night of the 1st/2nd, many eastern, Midland & southern counties of England experienced SNOW (instability), with heavy/persistent SNOWFALL affecting London, west Kent, Surrey, West Sussex & Hampshire. Up to 15 cm lay in central London (road transport dislocated, particularly London Buses & Ambulance/Fire emergency), and between 20 & 40 cm elsewhere: at Wisley (Surrey), 41 cm (level) was recorded. Further SNOW fell in various parts of the country up to the 9th, with another significant event affecting the southwest peninsula (Devon/Cornwall) overnight 5th/6th: 55 cm of level snow was reported from Okehampton (Devon). Severe trunk road disruption occurred, particularly south of Exeter.|
|1. Very SUNNY across many parts of the British Isles - one of the four or so SUNNIEST Marches in the modern instrumental record (~130yr).|
|[ According to Philip Eden in the Weather Log (Royal Met.Soc), the
southerly component of the mean surface flow this month was exceeded only seven
times in 137 years of records. ]
> A very WARM month. Although falling outside the 'top-10' of WARMEST Aprils in the entire CET record, the overall anomaly (w.r.t. 1971-2000) was +1.9C and there were only five Aprils warmer in the past 100 years.
> HEAVY RAIN occurred overnight 24th/25th in south Cornwall, with particularly intense RAINFALL falling around the St.Ives/Zennor area. Estimates using radar integration suggest that the area west of St. Ives had about 170 mm (within a 24hr period) with a maximum of 193 mm just to the SW of the town. There was extensive FLOODING in the town where several shops and properties were severely DAMAGED - other damage was reported along the coast to the west with much erosion and damage to bridges. Two men and one woman were swept away as they crossed a swollen, fast-moving stream near Zennor.
|> This summer month was notably cyclonic, and as a result, RAINFALL was well above average in almost all areas. It was particularly WET in a broad swathe from SW England, across Wales, the English Midlands & the North Country into south-eastern Scotland. Devon, Cornwall, much of southern Wales & most of northern England had anomalies >300%, locally >400%. New records for July monthly RAINFALL were set at several points within these latter regions. According to the Met Office, for the UK as a whole, it was WETTER than both 2007 & 2008 (two notably WET Julys) & the WETTEST July across the UK in a homogeneous series that began in 1914, but there was an absence of widespread flooding as the preceding months were not excessively damp. Using the narrower EWP measure (England & Wales / starts 1766) this July had a similar value to that of 2007, and ranked outside the 'top-10' of wet Julys. [MetO/NCIC/Eden/EWP]|
|2009 (November): RAINFALL RECORDS TUMBLE - CUMBRIA FLOODS|
| > November 2009 was a notably CYCLONIC, and exceptionally WET month.
Using the England & Wales Precipitation series (Met Office/EWP), it ranked
fifth (for a November), being the WETTEST November since 1940. Of more note,
looking at all months, it was the eighth wettest any-named month in a
series that began in 1766. With the exception of NW Scotland, the west and
north Isles, RAINFALL %ages everywhere were >150%, with >250% around the
Solway Firth, northern Pennines/Lake District (>300% latter) & much of
London/SE England. Many long-standing records were broken, of which the monthly
total of 432 mm (~257% of the 1971-2000 LTA) at Eskdalemuir [Dumfries &
Galloway, border Scotland] stands out, as that station has 100 years of
homogeneous records. According to Burt & Eden ('Weather'/March/2010), the
month's total of 1430 mm at Styhead, Cumbria for November 2009 is the highest
known (and accepted) any-calendar-month total in the modern era.
> Deserving a separate entry, new records for all periods ranging from 24hour (but NOT the standard 09GMT-09GMT rain-day), to 4 days were set at Seathwaite Farm, Borrowdale, Cumbria during a prolonged, intense RAINFALL event that began 18/2000 UTC and finally ceased some 34hr later, at 20/0600 UTC. Of note, in the 24hr commencing 19/0000 UTC, Seathwaite Farm collected 316.4 mm of RAIN, and this now stands as the highest total for ANY 24hr period in the modern instrumental record (~150 years). [ However, the 24hr 'rainfall day' record held by Martinstown in July 1955/q.v., still stands ]. This Cumbrian rainfall was, by any standards exceptional, and although widespread & significant FLOODING resulted (Cockermouth particularly badly hit), & there was widespread DAMAGE to property, infrastructure etc., loss of life was limited to one on-duty policeman directing traffic. [EWP/Eden/Burt .. in particular, see 'Weather'/RMetS/Jan2010]
> With a value of 8.7degC, it was equal (with 1939) ninth WARMEST November over England & Wales using the CET series; according to the Met Office, in their series (since 1914) it was third WARMEST across the whole of England & Wales.
|2000-2009 (Decade): WETTEST DECADE IN THE EWP SERIES|
|> Using the EWP series maintained by the Met Office, the 'whole' decade 2000-2009 was the WETTEST in that series (began 1766): the 10-year mean was 987 mm, and this figure is comfortably above the previous highest set in the 1870s (978 mm). The ten years included the third wettest (2000/1233mm/133%) and tenth wettest (2002/1118mm/121%), and it was the inclusion of the former very wet year that helped these 10 years stand out. However note that using a 10-year rolling mean, then the period 1874-1883 is the wettest such period (q.v). [EWP]|
|Back to main historical menu.|
|2009/2010 (Winter):'WAKE-UP CALL' WINTER|
|> After an unsettled, reasonably mild first-half to December, this
turned out to be the COLDEST winter (December, January & February) since
that of 1978/79 for the UK as a whole (and also by the CET series) and since
1962/63 for many parts of Scotland & Ireland; the Met Office stated that
the north of Scotland specifically had its COLDEST winter in the homogeneous
record that started in 1910. The COLD periods were often prolonged (second-half
of December, first-half of January) with harsh FROSTS(**) and frequent
SNOWFALL(***). Given our modern-day reliance of 'just in time' goods delivery
& the long distances people travel to get to work, frequent periods of
> The winter's lowest TEMPERATURE of -22.3degC at Altnaharra (Sutherland) on the morning of the 8th January 2010, was the lowest value (known) since the winter of 1995/96. Scotland & the north of England were particularly prone to very low overnight minima, snow and depressed day-time maxima**: large areas of upland northern England & Scotland had deviation from the 1971-2000 average in excess of -2.5C. (MetO-NCIC/RMet Soc "Weather log"/Eden & COL)
[ **Many places reported seven consecutive days continuously below freezing ('Ice Days') from the end of the first week of January, and upland sites in Wales & northern England logged a run of 12 such days. According to Philip Eden, this run of ICE DAYS was probably the longest in January since 1963.]
> (***)There were several periods of HEAVY SNOWFALL sufficient to cause major disruption: in comparison to 35+ years ago, perhaps not 'dramatic', but given the reliance we have on ease of movement of goods, services and people, what snow events there were caused mayhem: the principal events were: 17th December (East Anglia, East Midlands & SE England - Eurostar/Eurotunnel disruption); 21st December (London/Home Counties); 20th-24th December (much of northern Britain & Northern Ireland); 5th/6th January (Southern England, especially Wessex & the western Thames Valley) - also eastern Scotland & much of NE England on these dates; 10th/11th January (far SE England); 11th February (far SE England) and 18th-22nd (Wales, Midlands, East Anglia & the northern Home Counties). The amount of SNOW that fell across SE & eastern parts of Britain was most unusual for modern times - but to someone who lived through the 1947 or 1962/63 events, not of particular note. And although strictly part of the climatological 'spring' season, there was a HEAVY SNOWFALL event across much of Scotland at the end of March with widespread disruption due to wet snowfall & a strong northerly WIND affecting the public power supply.
|2010-2012 (spring 2010 to spring 2012):|
|> In a series based on the Met Office 1910+ gridded dataset covering the
English lowlands, the 24 month period April 2010 to March 2012 produced the
fifth most intense DROUGHT in this area, with a cumulative deficit of 326 mm.
Across the wider England & Wales Precipitation (EWP) domain, the total
RAINFALL was=1506 mm, roughly 81% of the 1971-2000 LTA. [See also individual
entries below.] ['Weather'/RMetSoc, April 2013 & EWP]
> Note that this notable/extended DROUGHT was abruptly reversed in 2012 by the WETTEST April to July over England & Wales in almost 250 years; see later entries. [EWP]
|> Although part of a notable DROUGHT episode (see entries above and below), according to the Met Office, over twice the monthly average RAINFALL fell across SE England/East Anglia this month, and East Anglia specifically had its WETTEST August since that of 1912 - see separate entry elsewhere for that dramatic month. ['Weather'/RMetSoc, April 2013]|
|2010 (August & September):|
|> Adjusting the Heathrow airport SUNSHINE figures from KZS (electronic) to CSR (sun-burning-card) equivalent, the total value for these two months in this year was 278 hours. This is well below the 1971-2000 mean (79%), and in the composite Kew / Heathrow record since 1900, there have been only 21 occasions (out of 110) when there was less sunshine - and the majority of those events were pre-smoke control orders of the 1950s & 1960s. (RMetSoc/Weaatherlog data)|
|2010 (early/mid - November): VERY MILD FIRST WEEK, THEN SAVAGE FLOODS IN CORNWALL|
|> Notably WARM first week: MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE reached 19.0degC at St
James' Park, central London on the 4th, and the previous night's MINIMUM
TEMPERATURE at Olympic Park (London/Docklands) was just 15.9degC. The next day
(5th) the afternoon MAXIMUM at Yeovilton (Somerset) was 18.4degC. At Heathrow
(records since 1947), the MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 18.5degC on the 4th was the
highest November temperature in that record. (WxLog/Eden)
> 17th: FLOODING along the Fowey river (and some others) in mid-Cornwall; HEAVY RAIN overnight 16th / 17th across Cornwall - with short-period / high intensity RAINFALL across the headwaters of the local rivers in this part of Cornwall ( Mevagissey, St. Austell, Par, Lostwithiel etc.) in the hour up to 06GMT, though the entire event covered the period 17/0400 to 17/0700Z. Motorists were trapped in cars as FLOOD waters rose to around 2 m in places with over a hundred homes evacuated. So far (written in 2011), total rainfall amounts returned are not much above 50 mm, but some higher values are almost certain given the effect: Philip Eden in 'Weather log' quotes 79 mm at Restormel. It may be that the nature of the local river system & lack of drainage maintenance contributed to the problems, rather than necessarily a very high 'number' of mm in a particular period.
|2010 (late November & December): EXCEPTIONAL WINTRY CONDITIONS|
|> Notable COLD SPELL began in the last week of November and continued
well into December: the COLDER conditions began to be felt around 21st November
and from the 24th of that month it became significantly COLD with northerly,
later persistent easterly winds, and deep cold air aloft: it was to prove the
start of an extended spell of deep cold. FROST during these last few days of
November was very SEVERE at night, with large areas remaining below FREEZING
through the 24 hours. The lowest night MINIMUM was -18.0degC at Llysdinam (
near Llandridnod Wells, Breconshire/Powys ) early on the 28th November, a new
record for Wales for that month. The day MAXIMUM at this location was just
-5.6degC. Philip Eden (WxLog/RMetSoc) stated that "these may well be the
lowest November readings anywhere in England & Wales since 1890".
[ See 3. below for data regarding other events in December.]
> During the spell of VERY COLD weather from the 24th November, significant SNOWFALL affected much of NE England, N. Yorkshire, E, NE & parts of the central-belt of Scotland (North Sea temperature-driven / deep cold air aloft) - HEAVY SNOW on most days in these areas at some time or other, with at least 30 cm (un-drifted), and some reports in populated areas of at least 40 cm.
> In addition, during this period, convergence-forced SNOWFALL affected the far SW of Britain (SW Cornwall / Isles of Scilly), and this was unusual for so early in the 'winter' season.
> The Met Office have stated that the SNOWFALLS during these last days of November and first few days of December probably the 'most snowy' period at this time of year since 1965; always a bit subjective of course!
> The SNOWFALL events continued until mid-December, and particularly around the 17th and 18th December, there was further HEAVY SNOWFALL in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Country - extending to much of the Midlands and SE England.
> December was an exceptionally COLD month! TEMPERATURES integrated over the entire UK were around 5degC below the 1971-2000 LTA. The COLDEST December in over a century & one of the COLDEST calendar months in the past 100 years; in the CET record [begins 1659] only 21 months of any name beat this one: using data from the Met Office, much of the English Midlands, Wessex, the Home Counties around London along with Lincolnshire had an anomaly close to -6degC!
> Possibly the COLDEST December in the overall Scottish instrumental record (around 100 years) & only February 1947 (any month) beats this one. However, for Edinburgh specifically, it was probably the COLDEST December in a record that began in 1764 (GPE/WxLog/ng).
> In Northern Ireland it was COLDER than February 1947 and the COLDEST month of any-name for over 100 years (COL). Specifically, in the Armagh Observatory record (see reference), the mean TEMPERATURE for December was -0.4degC and it was the COLDEST December since 1878 [that December was also VERY COLD in the CET record - roughly 4th or 5th COLDEST].
> Using 'rolling' 30-day average values on the CET record (from 1772 only), the period 28th November to 27 December, 2010 inclusive had a mean TEMPERATURE of -1.5degC & this is the COLDEST 30-day period as defined occurring at that time of year; all the others (12 occasions) happened later in the winter. [CET/'Weather', RMetS, Prior & Kendon]
[ With the depth & persistence of COLD & the notable SNOWSTORMS outlined above, dislocation / disruption was inevitable. Coming at a time when the economy was under severe strain (due to the aftermath of the world banking/credit crisis), these exceptional weather events were most unwelcome! Road, rail and air traffic was at various times and locations affected - the Forth road bridge was closed for the first time since it was opened in 1964 due to heavy snow. 300 passengers were stranded on a train in Sussex overnight 1st/2nd December and elsewhere, drivers were trapped in their vehicles. Electricity & water supplies were cut, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland ... in Scotland for example, the government minister responsible for winter preparations was forced to resign after what was perceived as an inadequate response to the emergency. In the second spell of severe conditions that began mid-December further severe disruption led to many thousands of airline passengers being unable to take flights from the major London airports at the busiest time of the year. Eurostar rail services were suspended and train services elsewhere (e.g. East Coast main line) were halted after overhead power lines were damaged or brought down. Compared with 'historic' cold/snowy periods such as 1947 & 1962/63 the 2010 events from a meteorological standpoint pale - but given modern reliance on ease of transport for goods & people, this was a very serious event.]
> SUNSHINE - Significantly above-average December SUNSHINE across much of the north & west of the British Isles (Northern Ireland & western Scotland exceptionally SUNNY with record-breaking amounts: Bishopton 69hr/220%, Eskdalemuir 66hr/206%, Aldergrove 78hr/213%), but large parts of the SE of Britain, including London/Home Counties & much of Central-Southern England were often DULL: Heathrow 19hr/40% & Hurn 27hr/53%. (WxLog/RMetSoc)
|> NASA / GISS global temperature figures show that December was COLDEST
month since August 2008. In spite of that, 2010, in this series, was the
WARMEST year on record (at that time), narrowly beating 2005 to the top spot.
There are two other 'global' series, and using one of them, the (updated /
2012) Met Office / Hadley / CRU dataset, 2010 was (technically) equal WARMEST
year (with 2005) [but these things are 'revised' from time-to-time, so check
source data]. This warmth is despite a significantly COLD-ENSO event in
progress for much of the year.
> According to Bob Prichard, writing in the COL bulletin " two features stand out. It was widely the quietest year for THUNDER on record (for over fifty years) in southern England, but the frequency of thunder was much above normal over much of eastern Scotland." (RJPrichard/COL Bulletin).
|> Winter (December+January+February) SUNSHINE was markedly different as
between the north-west of the British Isles and the south-east.
> It was very SUNNY in Northern Ireland, SW Wales, western-most Scotland and the far SW of England, with anomalies >135%. For Northern Ireland, it was the SUNNIEST winter in a series that began in 1929. In the Republic of Ireland, SUNSHINE was noted as being well-above normal at some southern & western stations, with 175% of long-term average recorded at Belmullet; here it was the SUNNIEST winter since the station opened in 1956. [Met Office/NCIC/'Weather' & Met Eireann]
> By contrast, East Anglia, South-east England and parts of central-southern England had well below average SUNSHINE, with Greater London and the immediately surrounding area having <65% of long-term average values. In a composite series covering climatological regions "Central Southern & SE England" [starts 1929/30], it was the probably the third (change of instrumentation remember) DULLEST winter in that series: the dullest was 1971/72 with 107 h, followed by 1965/66 with 125 h and 2010/11 is credited with 126 h. [Met Office/NCIC/'Weather'/COL bulletin]
> The period from late November through December has already been noted (q.v., above), but looking at the three winter months overall (December, January & February), the 'core' of COLD was located in the western parts of Ulster, much of southern and central Scotland and across Powys and into Herefordshire. In these areas, anomalies, despite a MILD February, easily exceeded -1.5degC, with values >-2degC in parts of central Scotland and west of Northern Ireland. It is worth emphasising that although the bitter weather of December eased considerably for much of England & Wales with the arrival of the New Year, for northern UK, the COLD persisted much longer and caused many infrastructure & community problems.
|2011 (April): A NOTABLY WARM DRY AND SUNNY MONTH!|
|> The UK mean TEMPERATURE was 3.7C above the 1971-2000 average, beating
the previous WARMEST set in 2007 [MetO series 1910+]. Daily MAXIMA in
particular were notably above-average, by as much as +6C in SE England &
East Anglia. [MetO/NCIC summary & 'Weather log'/Eden].
The Central England Temperature value for this month was 11.8degC; by this measure, April 2011 was the WARMEST such-named month in the entire record (begins 1659), with an anomaly of +0.6C on the previous record, set as recently as 2007. (CET)
> The MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 27.8degC at Wisley on Saturday 23rd produced the WARMEST April day across the British Isles since 1949. Elsewhere it was noted that on this day, the relevant DAY MAXIMA broke local records for April going back a good deal longer; for example, the maximum temperature in Coventry reached 26.0degC, making it the hottest April day in the city since 1893 (26.7degC) (uk.sci.weather newsgroup).
> RAINFALL was notably below-average over all except western Scotland. It was exceptionally DRY over southern, central and eastern England, where 10% or less of average rainfall was recorded (5% or less East Anglian fens & Home Counties around London). Some places in eastern England failed to record 1 mm of RAIN.
> Using the England & Wales PRECIPITATION series (Hadley/MetO), a value of 12 mm is recorded. This represents around one-fifth of the 1971-2000 average, and places this month in the 'top-10' of DRIEST such-named months in that series. (EWP)
> It was a SUNNY month across all of the UK, with amounts some 150% (or more: 176% at Eskdalemuir, 168% Woodford & Waddington) of average, and in a series that starts in 1929, it was amongst the SUNNIEST in the April dataset. [MetO/NCIC summary]
|> A deep DEPRESSION (lowest mslp 976 mbar) passed close to NW Scotland on the 23rd, bringing the severest May GALE to Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England since 1962 (Eden/RMetS 'Weatherlog'). GUSTS at low-level sites included 70 kn at Inverbervie (Kincardineshire) and 67 kn at Drumalbin (Lanarkshire). Two people died and 30000 homes were temporarily without power.|
|2011 (Spring / March to May):|
|> Notably WARM & SUNNY across large areas of England, with anomalies
> +2C across central & eastern England; for the UK as a whole, according
to the Met Office, it was the equal-WARMEST spring season (with 2007) in a
series that began in 1910. Of more note, it was the equal-WARMEST (with 1893)
spring in the much longer CET record (1659+) with a value of 10.2degC. [ NB:
There are only three spring seasons (as of 2012) with CET values >=10degC:
1893, 2007 & 2011.]
> SUNSHINE was above average almost everywhere for the season as a whole, with the greatest excesses from Yorkshire south into the Midlands and across much of East Anglia & SE England. Some places in East Anglia & either side of the Thames Estuary had well over 140% of the long-term mean SUNSHINE.
> In addition to the consistent warmth, it was also very DRY across large areas of England & Wales. For many English counties, more especially from east Yorkshire southward across Lincolnshire, the Fens, East Anglia, London & the Home Counties, it was the DRIEST spring in the modern record (20% or less in these latter districts). And, in East Anglia & Kent (according to the Met Office/NCIC) it was the DRIEST any three-month period with %ages well under 20%. The extended DRY spell led to DROUGHT conditions in eastern England. [NB: given the often anticyclonic atmospheric conditions, there was a significant reduction in RAINFALL across a wide area of central & western Europe with significant DROUGHT-related impacts.
[** Using the longer England & Wales PRECIPITATION record /1766+, this spring ranks 3rd, behind 1893 (2nd) and 1785 (driest).]
| > Remarkably WARM autumn; provisionally, the overall CET was 12.4degC
(anomaly on 1971-2000 series +2.1C), placing this autumn season second
in the 1659+ series [warmest 2006/12.6degC q.v.]
> All three months contributed, with October being within the 'top-10' WARMEST such-named months in that series & November, with a CET=9.6degC (+2.7C) being the second WARMEST such-named month in that long series; the 'core' of abnormal WARMTH lay across the Fens, much of the east Midlands & into the northern Home Counties - the overall anomaly these areas around +2.5C. [CET, MetO/NCIC]
> According to the Met Office/NCIC (published in 'Weather'), the number of autumn AIR FROSTS was the lowest in the previous 50 years. ('Weather'/RMetSoc/Jan2012)
> There was a remarkable VERY WARM (and for many, SUNNY) spell end September / start October across much of England & Wales, which for a short time also affected much of the rest of the British Isles. The period covered 26th September to 3rd October, thought by some to be the WARMEST spread of days at this time of year since 1908 (q.v). The 'peak' by largest area covered was Thursday / Friday 28th/29th September, with most of the UK enjoying the warmth.
> The 'all-time/all UK' October highest TEMPERATURE (previously set in 1985) was recorded with 29.9degC the day MAXIMUM at Broadness, near Gravesend and Swanscombe, both Kent. A new October record for Wales was also set: 28.2degC was the DAY MAXIMUM at Hawarden (Flintshire), beating a value set as long ago as 1908.
> Dry overall for SE parts of the English Midlands, most of East Anglia/Lincolnshire, the London area & Kent/Sussex. Percentages well under 50% with pockets close to 30%. As these areas also experienced well-below average RAINFALL earlier in the year, by early December there were serious concerns over ground-water supply.
> It was a SUNNIER than average season across much of the eastern half of England, with 125% or more of average in Norfolk & Suffolk. In marked contrast, the SW of Scotland fared poorly with overall %ages 75%, and Eskdalemuir (Dumfries & Galloway) had just 30hr of bright SUNSHINE in October, less than half average monthly 'normal', the lowest in over a century of records (Eden/'Weatherlog'/RMetS).
> (November): Major motorway accident M5/near Taunton in DENSE FOG (patches)[possibly aggravated and/or triggered by major firework/bonfire event nearby] evening 4th November, 2011 (around 2030GMT); reports at the time stated that 7 people were killed and over 50 injured: 34 vehicles of all types were involved.
|2011 (Annual): [all UK (Temperature) / England & Wales (Rainfall)]|
|> A notably WARM year overall, as measured by the CET record (1659+)
& a wider UK record (1910+). The CET value was 10.7degC (+1.5C on
all-series mean), and ranked second in that long series, behind 2006
(10.8degC). In the UK series (since 1910/Met Office) it also ranked second,
again just behind 2006. Both series only missed out being 'number 1' by a tenth
of a degree, well within analysis variation; Of more importance, in the CET
record, four out of the 10 WARMEST years have occurred in the '2000s' and all,
except 1949, top-10 warmest years have occurred in the past 22 years. (CET
> The year contained the WARMEST (and remarkably SUNNY) April, the seventh warmest October and the second warmest November; February was also anomalously WARM - more on these in individual entries earlier in this database.
> Parts of the Midlands and East Anglia had notable RAINFALL deficits: pockets of <=65% LTA occurred. Over a wider area, much of central, eastern and southern England had persistently below-average rainfall with consequent concerns for water-supply. According to the Met Office, several English Midland counties had their DRIEST year on record (1910+), and for East Anglia and Lincolnshire, only 1921 was drier.
[It was also notably WARM over much of Europe.]
|2011 (Annual): [Scotland only]|
|> By contrast to England & Wales (see above), Scotland as a whole had its WETTEST year in a 1910+ series, with the WETTEST areas being just north of the Central Belt and out to Argyll.|
|> On the 3rd, a major STORM affected southern & central Scotland,
much of northern England, Northern Ireland and parts of north Wales. A
deepening DEPRESSION crossed the Scottish Highlands (deepening to below 955
mbar as it left the Buchan peninsula) and the resultant HIGH WINDS led to
widespread DISRUPTION to road, rail and air transport services and loss of
electrical power supplies; some DEATHS were recorded & many injuries. The
highest GUSTS at low-level sites were 84 kn at Port Ellen (Islay) and 81 kn at
Aberdaron (Caernarfon); 91 kn was registered at Salsburgh (Lanarkshire), which
is 275 m AMSL. At Port Ellen, a steady WIND of 63 kn was reported in the
METAR at both 06 and 07GMT. (Eden/RMetS/Weather log & usw reports)
> The 4th and 5th were also very WINDY days: GUSTS exceeded 70 kn in places, with further DAMAGE/DISRUPTION reported across northern England (lee-slope/wave effects), Wales and the Midlands.
|2012 (Spring/Summer): SEASONS OF EXTREMES: DRAMATIC PATTERN CHANGES - PERHAPS UNPRECEDENTED?|
|[It is assessed by the Met Office that the degree of switch from extended DRY to notably WET conditions in this event has " no close parallel . . . in modern times ". However, I query the emphasis on this point as there are several instances over the past two centuries when such change-overs have occurred. It depends, I suppose, on your definition of 'modern' times!]|
|> A very WARM March with new records set for individual station maxima
in several parts of the UK, and a new national record for Scotland (for March -
see below). The Met Office stated that for the UK as a whole, the mean
TEMPERATURE anomaly was +2.5degC over the 1971-2000 average, and ranked third
WARMEST in their 1910+ series: more significantly, using the CET series, then
(provisionally), with a value of 8.3degC (+1.7C on 1981-2010 average) it
was in the top five or six WARMEST such-named months in that series (began
> A run of WARM days 22nd - 27th March saw Scotland break its March MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE record with a temperature of 23.6C at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) on Tuesday 27th.
> March was a very SUNNY month in most places, but especially so from eastern Scotland south through most of east & SE England and across the Midlands; Percentages in these regions generally >=150%, with pockets of >=175% northeast England & around the London/Home Counties area. According to Philip Eden (WxLog/RMetS) " over England and Wales only in 1907 and 1929 was March SUNNIER. "
> In sharp contrast, April 2012 was exceptionally WET across the bulk of the British Isles. Greatest %ages (from 1981-2010 mean) lay in a broad zone across east & NE Scotland & most of England & eastern Wales. Areas of >300% were recorded over east Yorkshire, Lincolnshire/East Midlands, parts of East Anglia and coastal Wessex; a few localities in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire & the Fens (nominally some of the worst affected areas by earlier DROUGHT) recorded over 400% of average RAINFALL! The England and Wales Precipitation (EWP) figure was (provisionally) 149.9mm, representing around 240% of the 1971-2000 average. With this value, this April was the WETTEST such-named month in the series (begins 1766).
> Then May 2012 flipped over to provide a remarkable WARM spell from 22nd to 30th to reverse what had been threatening to be a chilly month: in this period, MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES for each day over this period somewhere across the UK rose well above 23degC ('mid-seventies' degF) & Eden says that between 22nd and 29th, the TEMPERATURE rose above 26degC somewhere or other; the MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE on the 25th May at Achnagart (Highland) reached 29.3degC, which is a new highest for Scotland for May. (MetO/NCIC)
> Summer 2012 was notably WET (adding to the RAINFALL of April/see above); by the England & Wales PPN series (MetO/Hadley), with a (provisional) total of 375 mm, it was within the "top-5" WETTEST summer seasons in that series (1766+), nominally fourth wettest, and the wettest summer since 1912 [which was the wettest in the entire dataset]. The excessive RAINFALL also affected southern Scotland.
> June 2012 was exceptionally WET - by the EWP series, it was the wettest such-named month in that series, with 160 mm, this represents around 235% of the 1971-2000 LTA. The periods of WET weather significantly affected sporting and other events, and as it was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend at the start of the month, there were some weather impacts there too. Notable periods of FLOODING and DAMAGE due to combination of high RAINFALL and THUNDERSTORM activity: Ceredigion (especially around Aberystwyth) suffered prolonged, HEAVY RAINFALL 8th / 9th with major impacts and there was further heavy RAIN elsewhere, especially late in the month.
> July was also excessively WET with again generally more than twice-average, though not coming within the 'top-10' of wettest Julys.
> The summer was also noteworthy for lack of SUNSHINE. June in particular suffered: In a composite (Met Office) series that starts in 1929, it was (provisionally) the second-DULLEST June in that series (after 1987). Several stations from the Midlands to southern Scotland reported new lowest June SUNSHINE totals, with 50% of LTA or a little under; at Eskdalemuir, the %age recorded sunshine was 49%. Philip Eden (WeatherOnline) reports that averaged over England & Wales, it was the DULLEST summer since 1954; the Met Office web site shows that the Solway Firth & Aberdeenshire areas had <65% of average SUNSHINE across the three 'standard' summer months. [NB: NW Scotland & Islands sunnier/drier than elsewhere].
> An intense ANTICYCLONE travelled east close to southern England on the 11th/12th May: between 0800 and 1100 GMT on the 12th, Valentia observatory (03953) recorded a MSLP of 1043.0 mbar; this breaks the previous 'all-time' record (from circa 1870) for May MSLP in the British Isles, set in 1943.
> In contrast, the DEPRESSION which crossed England and Wales overnight 7th/8th June, 2012 with a central PRESSURE of 980 mbar is believed to have been the deepest in June since before 1900. It also produced widespread HEAVY RAIN. [Eden/WxLog]
> Over the extended period April to September, though May was individually a dry month, the overall EWP rainfall totalled 673 mm, representing ~160% of the 1981-2010 LTA. April, June & July were all notably WET of course, as noted above. There was also, as in previous recent summers, a notable absence of extended 'heat waves' (they came in late spring). This has caused many of us to question the oft repeated assertions of a dozen years ago that somehow 'English' summers would become more like that experienced in the south of France!
|2012 (November & December):|
|High RAINFALL totals during the last third of November with FLOODING reported widely. This came after excessive late spring & summer-time rainfall (see above). Northern and SW England, along with parts of Wales were most seriously affected: according to the NCIC/MetOffice, the period 20th - 26th November was (provisionally) the second WETTEST 7-day period in the last 50 years, only beaten by a similar spell in autumn 2000. Then in December, after a chilly, sunny and reasonably dry first-half, there was a dramatic change around the 14th as Atlantic frontal systems approached/passed-over the British & Irish Isles, but slowed/stalled as they did so. From the 18th December, there were several episodes of high RAINFALL, with again considerable FLOODING being reported, especially across SW England and parts of S & W Wales. December RAINFALL, using the EWP series, was set at 175 mm, representing over 175% of the LTA, and placing it in the 'top-10' in that series for that month, the WETTEST December since 1934. RAINFALL %ages exceeded 200 locally in central and eastern Scotland, northeast England, and parts of Wales, the Midlands and southern England. Combining the figures for November and December, the total of 311 mm represented over 160% of the LTA. [Eden/WxLog, EWP]|
|2012 (Annual): EXCEPTIONALLY WET YEAR|
|> The England & Wales PRECIPITATION value (EWP/Hadley) for 2012 was
1244 mm: this value places it third in the series (starts 1766), only beaten by
1768 (1247mm) and the wettest in 1872 (1285 mm). On a wider perspective, using
the Met Office press release, in their 1910+ series, it was the second-wettest
year over UK (only beaten by 2000) & in that same 1910+ series, the WETTEST
> It was even more remarkable given the very DRY start (first three months well below-average rainfall, see above), but after that, only May had (slightly) below average values, all the others were above, with April (record), June (record), July and December more than 50% above average, the first three over twice-average RAINFALL. [EWP/MetO-NCIC]
> At Dorchester (Dorset), the rainfall for 2012 amounted to 1437.3mm. This represents 142% of the 1981 - 2010 average. It was the second wettest year, after 1960 (1517mm) in local records back to 1896.
|Philip Eden, writing in the Weatherlog (RMetSoc), states: " March
2013 was, by a wide margin, the most easterly March in 141 years of records,
with an airmass source over northern Russia for long periods." The mean
TEMPERATURE anomaly for Moscow for this month was almost -6C. To add to this,
COL state that there was an "unusually large number of days of
snow-falling and snow-lying".
There were two principal periods when notable SNOWSTORMS affected these islands:
> On the 10th/11th, an area of LOW PRESSURE (with attendant frontal system) brought significant SNOWFALL to the Channel Islands & later to coastal SE England (also affecting significantly northern France). HIGH WINDS (NE F7/gusty) persisting for hours at a time, plus moderate/heavy SNOW (with significant DRIFTING) produced DISRUPTION to transport & DAMAGE to overhead electricity transmission lines. All flights to/from the Channel Islands were suspended, cross-Channel ferries halted and rail traffic through the Channel Tunnel was also stopped (or severely delayed) because of snow/gusty wind on the French side. There was further significant SNOW across the Channel Islands on the 12th - delaying recovery operations; this was assessed as a "very rare event" for the Islands, especially given the time of year: on Guernsey, the STORM produced the greatest depth of SNOW in March in modern records & taken as a whole it was the worst winter storm to hit the Channel Islands since January 1987.
> From the 20th onwards, a complex area of LOW PRESSURE parked itself in the SW Approaches, with frontal bands trying to approach against a bloc of very COLD air being fed by the aforementioned E/SE low-level flow. Between 20th and 24th, these developments brought HEAVY RAIN/FLOODING to SW England (particularly Cornwall, where one death was recorded) and significant SNOWFALL (with DRIFTING, locally severe/penetrating FROST) in a zone from eastern England to north Wales, upland northern England, Northern Ireland and SW Scotland (Eden/MetOffice). Unofficial reports suggest 60-70 cm SNOW depth in upland areas of NE Wales and 40-60 cm on some parts of the Isle of Man, in County Down and on the Isle of Arran, with widespread 20 cm or so. Significant DISRUPTION ensued with transport dislocation, DAMAGE to electricity supply & farmers, especially in upland areas were badly affected (lambing time) - the SNOW lay well into early April.
> By the CET series, March 2013, with a value (provisional) of 2.7degC, was the COLDEST such-named month since 1892, also with a value of 2.7, as was the March of 1784; to find a March colder than this one, you had to go back to 1883. It was however, just outside the 'top-10' of coldest-ever of that name. [CHECK ALL THIS ONCE THE CET SETTLES DOWN!!!!]
>It was also COLDER (by mean TEMPERATURE) than the months making up the 'standard' winter period December 2012 to February 2013 inclusive.
>Easter fell right at the end of the month (Easter Monday 1st April): However, by the Easter weekend, the worst of the snow had gone, and the strong, penetrating winds had relented somewhat - even residual snow cover had diminished from all but northern & Welsh upland areas, so although it was a notably cold weekend, it was by no means completely unpleasant. The minimum at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) on the morning of the 31st March (-12.5degC) was the lowest for that date in the modern record, and by this measure, meant that this Easter (movable feast remember) experienced the lowest temperature in a very long time! Day maxima though were woefully short of the March/April 'junction' averages of 10-12degC. By the 'highest temperature reached anywhere on all four days' measure (9.4degC on Easter Monday), this was the coldest Easter in my series (begins 1958).]
|Notably COLD season: significant spells of WINTRY weather in March and early April, with some major SNOWFALLS. Using the CET record for the three months March, April & May the value was 6.9degC (provisional), representing around -1.5C anomaly on LTA. By this measure, it was roughly equal COLDEST with 1962 (q.v.) and you have to go back to 1891 to find a spring significantly colder. The greatest TEMPERATURE anomalies were found across much of Wales, southern England, the western Midland counties and the Lancashire/Cheshire plains. The cold, 'backward' spring had knock-on effects on agriculture later in the year, when despite a reasonably decent summer, yields in some crops were depleted. (CET, NCIC/MetO summary)|
|2013 (Summer & July/early August):|
|[ After several years when the summers across the British Isles were, to
say the least, indifferent (or downright bad - see 2012), this fine season,
though not 'record-breaking' in the classical (i.e. 1976) sense, was very
welcome: it was particularly beneficial for the then slowly improving economy -
after the dramatic downturn due to the 2008 banking crisis.]
> Using the CET record (for June, July & August), the average TEMPERATURE by that measure was=16.3degC (Provisional): neither June nor August was exceptionally WARM, so this value does not 'rate' too highly when set against other very WARM summer seasons. However, it was certainly the WARMEST summer since 2006 and its importance lay in the fact that many of the intervening summers had been regarded as being 'awful'; rightly or wrongly! (CET)
> By anomaly of mean TEMPERATURE, the areas with the greatest +ve values were Northern Ireland, NE England, the border country of England/Scotland and much of central, Highland and NE Scotland. (NCIC/Met Office)
> There were noteworthy sequences of high temperatures during July and August: for example, from the 6th to the 24th July, the TEMPERATURE exceeded 28degC somewhere or other across the British Isles for those 19 consecutive days (equal by number of days achieved to a period back in August 1997), with MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES in this spell of 32.2°C (17th) at Hampton waterworks (Surrey/SW London) and 33.5°C (22nd) at both Northolt RAF and Heathrow (West London). However the highest MAXIMUM of the summer (and the year) occurred on the 1st August, when 34.1°C was recorded at Heathrow airport, the highest TEMPERATURE in the British Isles since 2006. (NCIC/Met Office, Eden/RMetS 'Weatherlog')
> DRIEST by EWP series since 2006 - again, as with temperatures, nothing worthy of major exclamation, but a marked contrast to several of the intervening summers. Looking at more detail at NCIC/MetOffice PPN anomaly maps, the DRIEST conditions occurred in an irregular swathe from East Anglia - north & west Home Counties, Wessex and on to Devon. Within this broad area, some places had %ages circa 30-40% of the 1981-2010 LTA. (EWP, NCIC/Met Office, COL)
> However, as often happens in relatively dry summers, there were some notable THUNDERSTORMS. One such occurred on the evening of the 23rd July 2013 when a 'violent' THUNDERSTORM in the Nottingham area gave a reported 92.8 mm in 75 minutes at Southwell (COL, Eden/Weatherlog). [This, if confirmed, is a 'highly significant' amount of PRECIPITATION to fall in the stated period - the 'record' for 75 minutes is 102 mm at Wisley (Surrey) in July 1947]. HEAVY RAIN affected many parts of eastern England early on the 25th August. Over 50 mm fell across south Suffolk and much of east/mid-Essex; unofficial gauges in SE Essex recorded the most with 101 mm at Heybridge, 96 mm at Hadleigh and 92 mm at Canvey Island, all within 24 hours; FLOODING hit Canvey Island and Southend-on-Sea. Children had to be rescued from a sinking car on a road in Hockley. Prichard assesses that the rainfall rates must have been in excess of 100 mm/hr for a time. [Eden/WxLog, RJP 'Weather images'/"Weather", MetO/NCIC, Eden/'Weatherlog'/RMetS.]
|Provisionally, with a value of 12.5degC (anomaly on 1981-2010 LTA), this
October was around tenth-WARMEST such-named month in the long established CET
series. Philip Eden (WxLog/RMetS) states: " in the last 100 years there
have been only six warmer Octobers "; note that one of them was a recently
as 2011! [CET]
As alluded to above, it was also a WET (and often DULL) month: the EWP (provisional) value was 157 mm (151% 1981-2010 LTA). Across the wider British Isles, the greatest +ve %ages covered southern Scotland & most of England & Wales, with pockets of >200% in the Midlands & SE England. [EWP, COL, WxLog]
Evening 27th / early 28th, major CYCLOGENESIS occurred across southern Britain: the LOW deepened dramatically as it ran from the West of England to East Anglia (Wash): strongest WINDS were in a zone from Dorset to Suffolk and southward, with 71 kn at Langdon Bay (near Dover) and 91 kn at Sandettie LV in the Dover Strait. This was dubbed the 'St. Jude's day storm' (from the Catholic calendar of saints); four people died ( falling trees mainly ), with over 600 000 properties losing electrical power and causing major rush-hour disruption to transport. Many railway companies suspended morning services on warning - with reduced services later in the day (28th). A double-decker bus was overturned in Suffolk injuring the driver and several passengers. A crane on the Cabinet Office in Whitehall collapsed. [Eden, WxLog/RMetS & various public news sources.]
|2013/2014 (Winter): EXCEPTIONALLY WET, OFTEN STORMY - INFRASTRUCTURE IMPACTS IN SOUTH|
|Using the England & Wales Precipitation (EWP) series, with a total of
455 mm, this was the WETTEST winter season (DJF) in that series (began 1766),
representing 177% of the 1981-2010 LTA and approximately twice-average of the
all-series mean. It beat the previous wettest winter (1915/423 mm) comfortably.
> As regards individual months, December 2013 had 134 mm (138% 1981-2010 LTA, ranking around 30), January 2014 185 mm (twice-average 1981-2010 LTA, WETTEST January in EWP) and February 135 mm (just over twice-average 1981-2010 LTA, ranked within 'top-10' of wettest Februarys.) The Met Office, using a wider (but restricted series-length/begins 1910) measure for the UK, stated that this was the WETTEST winter for the UK, England, Wales & Scotland (and the second-wettest for Northern Ireland) in that series. [Met O / NCIC]; In respect of February, although the 'areal' EWP mean was around twice-average, which is of course significant enough, a large swathe of the BII, from the central Midlands of Ireland - across the southern-half of Wales, the Severn Valley, through the upper Thames Valley, most of Central Southern England & the southern Home Counties had well in excess of 250% of LTA (81-10), with pockets of 300-400% over southern England. [COL]
> Perhaps more significantly, this 2013/14 winter season was the third wettest any-named season, coming behind the autumns of 1852 (almost the same value) and the wettest season, autumn 2000 with 503 mm. It is now thought that the winter of 2013/14 across southern & south-eastern Britain was the WETTEST for much longer than the EWP series covers (1766 start), but that is a subjective assessment. In addition, in parts of southern England [the focus of the excess PRECIPITATION], the period mid-December to mid-January was the WETTEST four week period recorded at any time of year for over a century. (Burt/'Weather'/March 2014). Both Central-Southern England and South Wales climatological areas had more than twice-average RAINFALL.
Individual month notes:
> December 2013: The Met Office stated in their December summary that Scotland overall had its WETTEST such-named month in a series that started in 1910.
> 4th/5th December: major STORM developed rapidly south of Iceland; at 18GMT on the 4th its central PRESSURE was only just below 1000 mbar, but 12 hours later, it had deepened to 974 mbar over Shetland, further deepening to 961 mbar (or below) by 05/1800GMT (near Oslo), just 24 hours after initiation - a fall of around 40 mbar. The associated HIGH WINDS driving down the North Sea, coupled to the negative hydrostatic effect of LOW PRESSURE and coinciding with a high 'spring' tide, meant that a STORM SURGE [>=2m above astronomical prediction] affected much of the English east coast - said to be the highest for at least 60 years (probably since the 1953 East Coast floods). At the Thames Barrier, the water level was the highest since it became operational in 1984. There was FLOODING (both coastal and land-based) and widespread effect on TRANSPORT - particularly to railway operations: most of Scotland's railways were shut for a time. Sea water broke through coastal defences in places. Two deaths attributed to the FLOODING etc., but this number is vastly different to the scale of deaths in 1953, for a similar-type system.
> Series of DEEP DEPRESSIONS ran past northwest Scotland 14th to 31st bringing HEAVY RAIN and STRONG WINDS at times to all parts of the UK. The STORMS produced power failures, DAMAGED buildings and felled trees along with some land FLOODING. The STORM of the 23rd/24th has a separate entry below . . . that of the 26th/27th produced HEAVY RAIN/HIGH WINDS. By the end of the month, a total of seven deaths were directly attributed to these major storms.
> 23rd/24th: Major cyclogenesis: this was during the WETTEST spell of the month with widespread/prolonged HEAVY RAINFALL, accompanied by widespread HIGH WINDS and notably LOW BAROMETRIC PRESSURE (see below). Serious FLOODING followed the RAIN across southern England on/and following the 23rd, especially in Surrey, Kent and Sussex. Given that this was right up against the Christmas period, it was most unwelcome - railway services were cancelled (or curtailed early) with locally severe river & coastal FLOODING. About 750 000 properties were affected by power cuts owing to STORM DAMAGE from this particular system - some remaining without power until early January; there were also political ramifications with power companies criticised in part for not being pro-active. [various sources, including Eden/'Weatherlog', Met O monthly summary, COL, BBC News web site]
> January 2014: Further severe problems due to inland and coastal FLOODING. Significant FLOODING of the Somerset Levels, due combination of high land RAINFALL (accumulating from late in 2013) and inability to allow waters to exit to the Bristol Channel due to frequent wind-driven HIGH TIDES. Early month (2nd - 5th): major coastal FLOODING event SW England/South Wales - with high land RAIN run-off contributing to estuarial/river FLOODING. Wind-driven WAVES due to SEVERE GALES associated with high spring tides caused major DAMAGE to Aberystyth (Ceredigion) - parts of the promenade severely DAMAGED, and other coastal/near-coastal area suffered inundation. After further moderate/HEAVY RAINFALL events, a particularly extended spell of HEAVY RAIN occurred mid-month, with FLOODING along the Thames Valley & other SE English river basin areas 15th/16th. The heavy rain also affected the Scottish border country.
> February 2014: The periodic excess of HIGH WINDS / HEAVY RAINFALL continued - at the start of the month (4th/5th), a particularly intense STORM finally did what many railway buffs have predicted for many years: cut the Great Western main line at Dawlish, isolating Torbay, the South Hams, Plymouth & Cornwall from the national railway system! A large section of the supporting rocks/sub-soil was washed away - allowing the railway line to hang without support - and also impacting on the sea-front properties immediately behind. As of end-March, Network Rail expect to have the line re-opened early April.
++ The polar front jet-stream was displaced significantly south of its 'mean' position, but even more importantly, maintained its strength unperturbed (until exiting across the NE Atlantic in the vicinity of these islands) for long periods. There were two(**) intense periods of storminess: from mid-December to early January, then from late January to mid-February. The Met Office stated that the UK had experienced the STORMIEST period of weather for at least 20 years. In addition, an analysis by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggested that the UK had experienced more 'very SEVERE GALE days' than any other winter season in a series beginning 1871. [Met Office, COL, University of East Anglia]
> The most intense of the first sequence(**) passed close to NW Scotland on 24th December, 2013: its central PRESSURE fell to 927 mbar [off NW Scotland 12Z 24DEC2013/EGRR ASXX], the deepest DEPRESSION in the vicinity of the BII for almost 130 years. At Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides, the MEAN SEA LEVEL PRESSURE fell to 936.4 mbar around midday. This was the lowest barometric PRESSURE observed at any site/any month in the British (and Irish) Isles since December 1886 (q.v.) [Stephen Burt/'Weather'/Feb 2014]
As might be expected from the reports of excessive rainfall & high winds, the season was MILD. Using the CET composite series, the value (provisional) was 6.1degC (between +1.5C to +2C on LTA, depending on the series used). At the time, there had been only about a dozen WARMER winters in the series (began 1659). The vast bulk of the country away from the highlands of Scotland (where there was, at times, plentiful snowfall) either had no SNOW, or only transitory snowfall episodes: in general, 'lowland' sites in England (in particular) had no recorded SNOWFALL all winter (DJF).
|Back to main historical menu.|