Since February most of this region’s rainfall has been falling during the first half of the month.
May (to 26th) 54%
With only one of these months wetter than average the long-term, rolling trend continues to head downwards.
Considering past rainfall patterns it can only be a matter of time before the graph heads upwards again. Looking further back at rainfall data to 1961 reveals the extremes were higher and that the jump from dry to wet can be sudden.
The wettest 12-month rolling period ended mid way through May 1975 with a total of 873mm. However, just 16 months later, at the end of the hot summer of 1976, the rolling 12-month average was just 302mm, that’s less than half of our average annual rainfall!
Zermatt and the surrounding Valais area in Switzerland has a varied Alpine climate. But a study of weather data back to the beginning of 2011 reveals distinct seasonal patterns in terms of air pressure and precipitation.
Although these patterns can’t be relied on completely in terms of planning a wintersport or summer climbing trip awareness of the extremes can be a big help. Knowing when pressure is usually highest can help mountaineers pick that ideal week in summer to tackle 4,000m peaks. Similarly pinpointing weeks with lowest pressure and highest precipitation is the holy grail for those hunting for powder snow.
Looking at the averages pressure is highest on December 23rd. Further scrutiny of rolling weekly averages shows this date coincides with the week commencing December 20th. Anyone who’s been to the Alps at Christmas time will know that this period can be very unreliable for deep snow cover. In terms of summer pressure is highest on August 21st.
Pressure is lowest on February 2nd. Again this date often coincides when the deepest snowfalls often arrive after weeks of dry weather. Despite the unsettled pattern at this time annual precipitation is usually greatest at the end of October / beginning of November. I’ve lost count of the number of times the press interpret these early snowfalls to be a sign of a bumper season ahead only for the skies to clear at the end of November and, sometimes, the arrival of unseasonably warm weather.
The second wettest period is usually the end of April / beginning of May. Again, this past week has seen some parts of the Alps record the best snowfalls this season.
April finished average though the final figure masked cool and warm spells.
The mean temperature finished 9.7C that’s 0.1C below average and 2C cooler than last April.
Only 11.9mm of precipitation were recorded, 28 per cent of the 1981-2010 average and almost as dry as April 2017.
Some 170 hours of sunshine were recorded, that’s 106 per cent of average.
Four air frosts were recorded.
To view full stats follow this link:http://1drv.ms/1kiTuzv
‘Feels like’ maxima.
April 1981-2019 maximum anomalies
April 2019 was yet another dry month. Just under 12mm was recorded, that’s 28 per cent of average.
There has been rain around but the prevailing wind has not been conducive for great amounts to fall here. Last weekend, over a period of 5 days, just 0.9mm fall. Yet Capel Curig in Snowdonia, 200 miles northwest as the crow flies, recorded 130mm thanks to a NW’ly regime.
A look at rainfall in Wanstead back to July 2013 shows that of the 3,550mm recorded just 17 per cent has fallen when the wind was NW’ly.
Because of the topography of the area most of our rain falls when the wind is blowing between SE’ly and SW’ly, a total of 43 per cent.
A westerly is usually reliable for rainfall, however because this area is in the lee of high ground areas such as Hampstead westerlies have delivered just under 8 per cent of that 6-year total.