The winter of 2015/16 was skewed by a ridiculously mild December which brought the natural calendar forward three months.
Daffodils and other spring bulbs which normally come out in early March in this part of the UK were in full bloom at the end of December. Spring blossom was also very early with many may trees out in early February.
The mean temperature for the season finished 7.38C, that’s 1.9C above average. It was the third warmest winter in my series going back to 1797, behind 1989 / 90 and 1974 / 75.
Rainfall was almost precisely average: 144.8mm fell, within half a millimetre of what normally falls. Sunshine was just under average: 162.8 hrs is just over 5 hours short of what we’d normally expect during December, January and February.
The warmest day of the winter occurred on December 19th with 16.3C recorded, the second warmest December day in my daily record going back to 1959 – the record fell short by just 0.1C.
The coldest night of the winter coincided with the coldest mean temperature on January 19th. A low of -5.7C was the lowest value recorded in Wanstead for three years.
The wettest day of the winter occurred on January 10th when 11.6mm, a very unremarkable amount for winter and in complete contrast to the deluge that affected NW England and NE Scotland. There were 51 rain days (where 0.2mm or less fell) and 37 wet days (where 1mm of rain falls over a 24hr period).
Although sunshine was around average there were 24 sunless days.
Snow, like the previous two winters, was very scarce: just one day of snow falling and lying occurred on January 17th, though you had to be up early to see it.
Winter forecast review
At the beginning of December the opening par for my forecast for winter read:
Winter in the London area this year is likely to be average overall, following the pattern of the past two winters that saw little snow.
It was broadly correct though I won’t pretend that I knew just how mild December would be when I prepared the figures at the end of November.
January, as predicted, produced the coldest weather and best chance of snow while February was, as thought, about as average as you can get.
The stats overall:
Predicted – Mean: 5.4C, Rainfall: 153.5mm
Results – Mean: 7.3C, Rainfall: 144.8mm
So, all in all, not bad. The Daily Express and others should take note. This is what they printed last November… I’ll leave it up to the reader which forecast was more useful…