Category Archives: monthly summary

December 2014: Sunny, dryer than average

This December was the sunniest on record in my series going back to 1877. Over 90 hours of sunshine was recorded in this area which is 224% of what we can expect to see during an average December.

It was the sunniest December on record in the series going back to 1979. Some 11 mornings were completely clear at the 9am observation time
It was the sunniest December on record in the series going back to 1979. Some 11 mornings were completely clear at the 9am observation time

Mean temperature for the month was precisely average at 5.6C. Rainfall of 39.9mm was 75% of average – the driest since 2010.

The month was 0.7C cooler than last December – with just under half the rain that fell in that wet and stormy month.

The first day of December was cloudy, dull and dreary with drizzle in a keen east wind. The following days alternated between rain and sun and some night frost. On the 6th the day started sunny with just a few cirrus clouds – overnight frost persisted all day in my garden with a grass min at -2C. The 9th began sunny after a hard frost but then the temperature climbed for 19 hours with cloud building and brief rain at 2am before the cold front passed.

The wettest day occurred on the 11th. The day started sunny but blustery showers blown in on strong WSW winds coupled together with 6 hours of rain overnight produced 11.5mm.
Things turned much milder in the 3rd week with frequent, chiefly light rain, abundant sunshine and an absence of frost. On the 18th the temperature reached 14C.

Christmas Eve saw the weather begin to cool down again with progressively colder nights. Boxing Day was a cloudy, cold day with rain spreading in during the evening and a notable warm sector raising the temperature to nearly 9C at midnight. The first lowland snow of the winter was reported up north. The month ended with long sunny days and sharp frosts, a couple persisting through the day.

Air frosts: 12

Ground frosts: 15

This satellite picture taken on December 27th, 2014, shows the LP clearing through to leave us in clear, deep cold air
This satellite picture taken on December 27th, 2014, shows the LP clearing through to leave us in clear, deep cold air

From this month, using a similar method for predicting winter, I am going to finish these monthly reviews with a look ahead to see what next month has in store.

The general consensus of the models suggest the first half of the month is going to be mostly unsettled with a mixture of wind and rain off the Atlantic and transient ridges from the south bringing mild, sunny days.

Looking at the 10-day ahead forecast on Netweather suggests the temperature will be just above average with rainfall also slightly higher than normal.

Beyond that, for anyone seeking any snowy weather, the outlook is uncertain. Using a similar method to my Christmas forecast, which was correct at 25 days ahead, I’ve had a look back in the archives to see if there is any precedent in the pattern we’ve had this December.

The simple answer is there is no over-riding signal for any weather type, save that there appears no chance of a repeat of the very mild January of last year. Taking all the probabilities together gives an 88% chance that January will be average to cold – so perhaps there will be some snow in the second half of the month.

january probabilities

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November 2014: Mild and wet, average sun

The final month of autumn was most notable for its rainfall with 19 consecutive days of measurable precipitation and just four completely dry days .

November 22nd by Perch Pond. Drizzle early morning couple with damp air left mist floating above the surface
November 22nd by Perch Pond. Drizzle early morning couple with damp air left mist floating above the surface

The month was warmer than average; the mean temperature of 8.9C was 0.9C above average, making it the 19th warmest November since 1797: 2.2C warmer than last November, though only the warmest since 2011.

The sunny and start on the 1st was quickly replaced with an unsettled, cooler regime week which lasted for nearly three weeks. A brief respite on the 20th was followed by more rain – with 12mm and 15.2mm on the 22nd and 23rd. It was wetter than average: 97.5mm represents 165 per cent of what we’d expect to fall in a normal November.

Despite it being wet it was only the 40th wettest November in the series back to 1797.

The warmest day occurred on the 1st with 17.2C recorded. The first frosts of autumn were recorded. The lowest temperature occurred on 24th when the mercury fell to -1.5C.

Sunshine was average with 60.5 hours recorded – that’s 103 per cent of mean. The sunniest day was on the 4th when 6 hours of sunshine were recorded.

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October 2014: warm but wet

Save for the warmest Hallowe’en on record and a notable depression on the 21st October was a relatively quiet month.

The month was warmer than average; the mean temperature of 13.7C was 1.9C above average, making it the 5th warmest October since 1797: 0.7C warmer than last October, though only the warmest since 2011.photo (7)

The dry and sunny start was replaced with a very unsettled regime at the end of the first week which lasted until the end of the second week – with 39.5mm of rain falling over the 12th and 13th, a notable total for this region. It was wetter than average: 82.4mm represents 123 per cent of what we’d expect to fall in a normal October.

Despite it being wet it was only the 74th wettest October in the series back to 1797.

The warmest day occurred on the 31st with 21.5C recorded. Many nights were warm with date records matched or broken. Cold nights, relative to the time of year were few. The lowest temperature occurred on 4th when the mercury fell to 2C – a ground frost was narrowly avoided with the grass minimum thermometer falling to 0.2C.

Sunshine was slightly below average with 103.6 hours recorded – that’s 97 per cent of mean. The sunniest day was on the 5th when 9 hours of sunshine were recorded.

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September 2014: warmer and dryer than average

In terms of weather events September was a relatively quiet month save for the two thunderstorms that seemed to mark the Scottish Referendum as the results became apparent in the early hours of Friday 19th.

Clouds above could be seen developing rapidly at 2.30pm on 19th September
Clouds above could be seen developing rapidly at 2.30pm on 19th September

September 2014 was warmer than average; the mean temperature of 16.4C was 1.1C above average, making it the 16th warmest September since 1797: 1.6C warmer than last September, the warmest since 2011.

The month was marked with lots of dry, sunny days, the two thunderstorms on the 19th contributing 89 per cent of the rainfall for the month. It was dryer than average – the 44.8mm that fell is 86 per cent of what we would expect in a normal September.

Despite this it was only the driest September here since 2011.

The warmest day occurred on the 18th with 25.6C recorded. Most nights were warm though a couple of nights were chilly: 5.4C was recorded on 24th

Sunshine was below average with 126.9 hours recorded – that’s 91 per cent of mean. The sunniest day was on the 8th when 12 hours of sunshine were recorded. There were 2 days with thunder recorde.

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August 2014 – cool, wet and dull

Anyone hoping for a continuation of June and July’s hot weather would have been left sorely disappointed by last month which was characterised by frequent rain and the coldest August night for over 20 years.

A stunning example of sunlight illuminating the underside of cloud at sunset was seen mid-month
A stunning example of sunlight illuminating the underside of cloud at sunset was seen mid-month

August 2014 was the first month this year to be cooler than average; the mean temperature of 17.2C was 1C below average, making it the 89th warmest August since 1797: 1.6C cooler than last August, the coolest for 7 years.

The month was marked with thunderstorms and heavy downpours, contributing to what was a much wetter than average month – some 76mm fell which is 152% of the monthly average and the wettest for 4 years.

The hottest day occurred on the 7th with 27.3C recorded – nothing special for August and a date that heralded the end of the hot spell during June and July.

A couple of nights were notably cool for August: 5C was recorded during the early hours of the 23rd – the coldest August night since 1993.

Sunshine was below average with 161 hours recorded – that’s 83 per cent of mean. The sunniest day was on the 3rd when 12 hours of sunshine were recorded. Throughout the month there were just 2 days with 10 hours or more of sunshine. There were 4 days with thunder recorded – the average for August is 3.

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Looking further afield there were many thunderstorms around the UK though many places missed out on the big downpours. It was yet another month where rainfall totals could vary greatly in the space of just a few miles.

On the 9th a station in Woodford Green recorded 24.4mm, double what fell in Wanstead. The legacy of TS Bertha coincided with the end of our extended hot spell – an excellent analysis of this storm can be found here.

There were some spectacular cloud formations not far from here. A particularly good one was seen in Witham. 

Squally storm line approaching Witham, panoramic shot!

Prolonged heavy rain on the 11th caused extensive flooding in Scotland.

On the 14th ‘Biblical’ flooding affected Lewisham in south east London.

On 25th a perfect curl could be seen on a depression centred off the west coast of Irleland. The rain associated with this low pressure brought the month's highest daily rainfall total: 23.4mm (the system bringing 27.5mm) - a thoroughly miserable Bank Holiday Monday where it rained ALL day, from 6am until 9.30pm. It was yet another example of how much even frontal rainfall can vary over a small area.
On 25th a perfect curl could be seen on a depression centred off the west coast of Irleland. The rain associated with this low pressure brought the month’s highest daily rainfall total: 23.4mm (the system bringing 27.5mm) – a thoroughly miserable Bank Holiday Monday where it rained ALL day, from 6am until 9.30pm. It was yet another example of how much even frontal rainfall can vary over a small area.

On 25th a perfect curl could be seen on a depression centred off the west coast of Irleland. The rain associated with this low pressure brought the month’s highest daily rainfall total: 23.4mm (the system bringing 27.5mm) – a thoroughly miserable Bank Holiday Monday where it rained ALL day, from 6am until 9.30pm. It was yet another example of how much even frontal rainfall can vary over a small area with St James Park recording 38.2mm. The top 30 totals for that day can be seen here.

sunset overlooking Wanstead Flats 2nd August
sunset overlooking Wanstead Flats 2nd August

Looking even further afield four people were killed in a flash flood at an Italian festival early on in the month.

 

July 2014 – warm and wet on paper

July 2014 was yet another milder than normal month; the mean temperature of 20.2C was 1.7C above average, making it the 9th warmest July since 1797 – and 0.5C cooler than last July.

The month was marked with spectacular thunderstorms and torrential downpours, contributing to what was a much wetter than average month – some 73mm fell which is 168% of the monthly average. While on paper the month looks very wet it should be noted that 52% of the July total fell in two episodes: a stalling warm front on the 10th and a cloudburst on 25th. I was away for the thunderstorm though a friend remarked that the roads close to Redbridge Roundabout were like torrents, the rain was so intense for a short period. I’ve put together a series of radar images that show the evolution of the storm, together with graphs, that can be accessed here.

The hottest day was July 18th with 32.7C recorded. There were 12 occasions where the mercury reached or exceeded 80F – pretty respectable though last July saw that figure reached on 20 days!

The sunniest day was on the 3rd when 15 hours of sunshine were recorded. Throughout the month there were 11 days with 10 hours or more of sunshine. There were also 5 days with thunder recorded – the average for July is 3.

Looking further afield there were many thunderstorms around the UK though many places missed out on the big downpours. Perhaps the most impressive was the development of the MCS that moved up from France during the evening of July 18th. There were numerous superb pictures but my favourite is probably this shot taken by Richard Dixon in Whitstable, Kent. It shows, perfectly, the contrast betweeen the bright orange sunset and the impending doom of the approaching MCS from the continent.

shot taken by Richard Dixon in Whitstable, Kent. It shows, perfectly, the contrast betweeen the bright orange sunset and the impending doom of the approaching MCS from the continent
This shot was taken by Richard Dixon in Whitstable, Kent. It shows, perfectly, the contrast betweeen the bright orange sunset and the impending doom of the approaching MCS from the continent

A thunderstorm on Sunday, July 20th, saw three inches of rain fall on Canvey Island in a very short space of time. A good round up of events, including pictures, can be seen here. The thunderstorm on 25th was felt across London and the Home Counties – there’s an excellent picture of the approaching shelf cloud here. Brighton was rudely awoken by a storm on  28th by a slow-moving thunderstorm.

It is a typical feature of summer that rainfall can vary a great deal across a small area. The nearest official station to Wanstead, St James’s Park 8.4 miles to our south-west, recorded recorded just 25.9mm – 35% of what fell here.

The nights were mostly warm – the 14.8C average is higher than last July.

Overall July was a superb summer month – sunshine, heat, thunderstorms in abundance.

Sunset on 31st looking across Wanstead Flats. July was a classic summer month for weather
Sunset on 31st looking across Wanstead Flats. July was a classic summer month for weather

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June 2014: warm and dry

June 2014 continued this year’s theme of being milder than normal; the mean temperature of 17.1C was 1C above average, making it the 22nd warmest June since 1797.

little fluffy clouds
June was marked by some spectacular cloudscapes and sunsets. This was the view across Wanstead Flats from Centre Road looking toward Ilford on the 21st

June, like  March and April, was dryer than average with just 15.2mm of rain, that’s just under 30 per cent of average.

The driest June since 2000 started off unsettled with frequent rain – 6mm falling on the 3rd. The following day was cool with the temperature reaching just 16.2C.

Though there were nine days when over 10 hours of sunshine was recorded the magic 80F was surpassed just once: on the 9th when 27.5C was reached under 6 hours of sunshine. This sunniest day was the 10th when 14 hours of sunshine nudged the thermometer to 24.5C. Overall there were 214.1 hours of sunshine – that’s 120% of average, the sunniest since 2011.

On many days during June, including the 30th shown here, the sky turned dark but just spits and spots of rain were often produced
On many days during June, including the 30th shown here, the sky turned dark but just spits and spots of rain were often produced

Despite plenty of potential no incidents of thunder were recorded – the much-hyped weekend of the 7th / 8th saw less than 2mm of rain – all of the action staying well to our east in the France, Germany and the Low Countries. Further thundery potential on the 13th failed to produce anything in this area though a disturbance over Berkshire saw thunderstorms develop in the Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Wokingham region, with up to 38mm of rain falling over a wide area.

It is a typical feature of summer that rainfall can vary a great deal across a small area. The nearest official station to Wanstead, St James’s Park 8.4 miles to our south-west, recorded 33.8mm – more than double what fell here.

Some nights were chilly when the sky cleared but there was no air frost or ground frost.

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Yet another occasion of impressive cloud formation during June included this example of late evening cirrus. The formation, seen at ground level, seemed similar to a display of the Aurora
Yet another occasion of impressive cloud formation during June included this example of late evening cirrus. The formation, seen at ground level, seemed similar to a display of the Aurora
Circumhorizontal arc over Aldersbrook
Circumhorizontal arc over Aldersbrook

April 2014: Another mild and dry month

April 2014 continued this year’s theme of being milder than normal; the mean temperature of 12C was 2.2C above average, making it the third warmest April since 1797.

Though many days were stunningly sunny the breeze made it feel chilly
Though many days were stunningly sunny the breeze made it feel chilly

April continued the dry theme of March and was indeed dryer on average. Just 19.6mm on rain fell over the 30 days – that’s 46 per cent of average.

The month saw some stunningly sunny days during the second week into the third week, though these were tempered by chilly east to north-easterly winds. The warmest day was the 21st when 21.5C was reached – the first ^70F temperature of the year.

Though it ‘felt’ quite a sunny month the 150 hours recorded was only 94 per cent of average.

Some nights were chilly when the sky cleared but there was no air frost and only two ground frosts, on the 15th and 16th

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March 2014: Mild, dry and sunny

March 2014 will be most remembered for glorious sunny days that brought welcome relief after a run of seemingly endless wet months.

Pear blossom by Scott Whitehead
Many trees blossomed early this year, thanks to the mild winter

It also continued the mild theme of the winter; the mean temperature of 9.1C was 1.4C above average, making  it the 11th warmest March since 1797. Looking at my other series back to 1881 the March mean maximum was second only to March 1938!

Just 25.8mm of rain fell over the 31 days – that’s 63 per cent of average.

The month started on the chilly side but with plenty of sun around it felt pleasant. Though many days were warm clear skies led to frost and fog forming. Hail was observed on three days. 

The most notable weather occured on the 26th when the temperature fell from 10C at 1.30pm to 4C by 3pm. Heavy showers accompanied what was an utterly foul day. The cold pool persisted into the 27th with towering thunder clouds surrounding Wanstead, north, east and south – with reports of hail in Berkshire and snow in Folkestone.

The month ended with warm, sunny weather – the southerly flow bringing Saharan dust that deposited on cars. There were 4 air frosts  and 14 ground frosts.

Saharan dust fall on car, by Scott Whitehead
A southerly airstream brought dust that originated from the Sahara Desert

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Air frost free February 2014

Although February was wet it was relatively much dryer than January and calmer than the other two months. February often brings us our best snowfalls and coldest weather but this was completely absent this year, continuing the theme of a snowless December and January.

Wanstead Flats by Scott Whitehead
The water table appears to have come to the surface on Wanstead Flats

Some 69.9mm of rain (178% of average) fell in February – the wettest since 2010 – and 32nd wettest in the series back to 1797.

February was also warmer than average with a mean temperature of 7.5C (2.2C above the 30-year average) – ranking it 13th in the series since 1797 – and the warmest January since 2011. Though the month was very mild no single day was particularly mild. Highest maximum was 14.5C on the 24th.

The most notable day was a storm on the evening of Valentine’s Day into the 15th which saw yet more damage, resulting in two deaths including a man killed by a wave on a cruise ship in the Channel. A woman was killed when a 3ft by 3ft block of falling masonry crushed her car outside Holborn station.

Air frosts: 0 – very unusual for February

Ground frosts: 7

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