Tag Archives: East London weather

A 100% guaranteed snow risk for rest of winter

This weekend marks the halfway point through winter. Though December brought some snow January has been broadly average – really cold air has been absent with only one air frost recorded this month.

The cloudy, anticyclonic type weather is about to be replaced, however, with cold, polar maritime air this week set to flood down from the north-west.

Since December 1st, Wanstead has recorded 12 air frosts – about average. The coldest night was just -3.7C. The current mean temperature this winter to January 14th is 5.7C with rainfall 111mm – statistics that are remarkably similar to the winters of 2012/13 and 1990/91. Both those seasons were followed by cold late winters, February 1991 saw some of the deepest snow that I’ve ever seen in the south-east; the mean temp for that February finished 1.6C, the 14th coldest in the local series going back to 1797.

Using my method for finding patterns stretching back over 50 years to forecast this winter I picked out years that were +/- 10% of the 2017/18 total rainfall. From these I then weeded out the seasons where the average temperature was +/- 10% of the 2017/18 mean.

This gave a list of just two other winters with similar temperature and rainfall. Both winters had above average ‘snow lying’ days, the long terms average for this area being six.

Before any readers accuse me of going all Daily Express with the title of this blog I would emphasise that this piece doesn’t echo the latest long-term output from the models, which are in a state of flux, caused mostly by the evolution of the explosive cyclogenesis expected midweek. It is simply a reflection of what the local data is telling me.

A 100% guarantee of snow isn’t such a fantastical claim as, during the past 10 years, there is only one winter when no snow fell or was lying at 9am!

In terms of the rest of the winter, outside of the models, I would expect a couple more snowfall episodes, similar to the ones we had in January and February 2013. A repeat of February 1991, while not impossible, looks unlikely – there seems to be far too much energy coming from the Atlantic to allow the all important Scandinavian / Russian high to form and exert its influence far enough west for long-lasting cold and snow.

The cold spell of January 1826

This weekend marks the start of a cold spell that brought widespread wintry conditions across Britain.

Entries in Luke Howard’s Climate of London detail several instances of the wintry weather reported nationwideScreen Shot 2018-01-06 at 01.41.17.

In London the freeze lasted 10 days, briefly losing its grip on the 19th, before returning in the final week. At its lowest on the night of the 14th the temperature fell to 10F (-12C). Despite the intense cold their was little precipitation in this area. However, across the country came reports of deep snow and hardship for shipping.

Gale force easterly winds were reported in Plymouth, Falmouth, Liverpool and Portsmouth on January 7th and 8th. On January 9th a ‘hard ENE’ly gale’ was reported at Deal, Kent.

A report reads: “It has continued blowing strong from the eastward all this day. On Thursday morning between one and two o’clock as a person was passing through Paternoster Row he observed the watchman on that beat in a state of complete paralysis and insensibility occasioned by the frost.

“He had him immediately removed to the watch house of Farringdon, within where he had not long arrived when a fellow sufferer was brought in by two of the patrol who found him in his box in Stationers Court, Ludgate Hill, absolutely frozen and unable to articulate a syllable.

“Both were immediately placed near the fire the influence of which combined with the administration of warm cordials shortly restored their suspended faculties. The thermometer at the Royal Exchange yesterday at 12 o’clock stood at 28F.”

An entry on January 14th, nearly a week into the freeze, reported a Thames “choked up with ice”.

“The river is so completely choked up with ice that the fishing boats with fish dare not come higher up than Limehouse. Putney Bridge arches are choked up with ice formed by the ebbing and flowing of the tide to a great height. At one o’clock yesterday afternoon (16th) the fog in the city was as dense as we ever recollect to have known it.

“Lamps and candles were lighted in all the shops and offices and the carriages in the streets dared not exceed a foot pace. At the same time five miles from town the atmosphere was clear and unclouded with a brilliant sun.

“Fahrenheit’s thermometer stood at 14F at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Around Britain

Newcastle: on Sunday morning last a severe frost set in here and has continued since. A considerable quantity of snow has fallen during the week.

Sunderland: the river Wear has been frozen over for the last four days down to Hilton Ferry within four miles of this town. The navigation above that place is entirely suspended.

Carlisle: a smart frost set in here on Monday morning and has continued gradually increasing up to this day Friday in severity. The river Eden is more than half frozen over near the bridge and many persons are diverting themselves on its surface. On Tuesday we had a partial fall of snow which still continues.

Westmorland: on Stainmore the weather has been more severe during the last week than it has been known for four years past. The frost is not only more than usually intense but the snow lies in fearful drifts and the wind on Friday and Saturday blew a perfect hurricane rendering it extremely difficult if not dangerous to travel.

Chester: the frost during the last week has been intensely severe and the wind is gentle and blowing almost constantly from the eastward. The thermometer on Saturday morning stood at 17F or 15F below the freezing point.

Manchester: on Friday last the temperature in the city was as low as 16F and this in the very centre of the town where the crowded buildings and immense fires kept in the manufactories must have had some effect on the atmosphere. On the 18th of January 1814 the extreme temperature was 22 below the freezing point. On the 21st of February 1810 it was the same.

Liverpool: the weather during the last week has been intensely cold, the thermometer for the last few days having been lower than during the past five years. A self registering thermometer denoted the extreme of cold on Saturday night to have been 19F and yesterday, Sunday morning at half past seven, it stood at 20F. It is very probable the present weather may continue several days as it commenced with the new moon.

Bridgewater: our river is so completely frozen over as to impede the navigation fortunately there is a good supply of coals in the town.

Canterbury: On January 17th the river Medway is frozen over and the navigation is stopped. The merchants have advanced the price of coals six shillings a chaldron.

The Royal Military Canal being now completely frozen over numerous parties are daily skating thereon. It is not unusual to take a breakfast at Hythe, a luncheon at Rye (about 20 miles glide) and return to Hythe to dinner.

On the continent

Elsineur:  the sound is full of ice and the navigation suspended. (January 14th ).

Hamburg: the frost is very intense and every appearance of its continuance. Extract from a private letter dated ‘Cadiz Jan 24’: ‘We have had terrible gales at this place so violent that upwards of two hundred and fifty vessels were driven on shore.

Rotterdam: We have had frost again from the 25th but very moderate and the ice has but little increased. The wind prevails from the eastward and there is no appearance of a thaw.

Antwerp: the river continues full of drift ice. An easterly wind took place on the 25th January. The ice decreases very fast (31st) and if the thaw continues for which there is every appearance the river will be navigable in two days.

The mean temperature for the month finished 0.7C, the 14th coldest January in London back to 1797. Just 5.1mm of precipitation was recorded, the second driest January in the series. Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 22.31.39

December 2017: average temps, wet

December 2017 was a wet month. Just over 83mm of rain was recorded, 157 per cent of average, the wettest December since 2012 and the 38th wettest since 1797.

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 19.30.21
The snow depth on December 10th reached 5cm at its maximum

The monthly mean finished 5.6C, precisely average and the coolest December for five years.

Some 48 hours of sunshine were recorded, 120 per cent of average, slightly less than last year.

The most notable event was the on December 10th which produced the best snowfall in 5 years

Air frosts: 10. Ground frosts: 14. Snow falling: 2. Snow lying: 1.

January (on the 3rd) is looking like it may produce more snowfall events similar to December though, with models suggesting a build in heights to the north. A look at the output, including GFS and ECM, suggests the UK will be in a battleground between a cold airmass to the east and warm Atlantic air to the west.

It would seem to back up my winter forecast and also the December analogues with nothing warmer than average.

Average: 33%
Rather cold: 17%
Cold: 17%
Very cold: 0%
Severe: 33%

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 19.29.51

Full stats for December here:http://1drv.ms/1rSfT7Y

Summary for December 2017
Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute)  5.8
Mean (min+max)   5.5
Mean Minimum     2.8
Mean Maximum     8.3
Minimum          -3.7 day 11
Maximum          14.2 day 30
Highest Minimum  9.8 day 21
Lowest Maximum   2.4 day 10
Air frosts       10
Rainfall (mm):
Total for month  83.7
Wettest day      14.6 day 10
High rain rate   12.1 day 31
Rain days        21
Dry days         10
Wind (mph):
Highest Gust     25.1 day 30
Average Speed    3.5
Wind Run         2570.0 miles
Gale days        0
Pressure (mb):
Maximum          1036.4 day 22
Minimum          970.3 day 10
Days with snow falling         3
Days with snow lying at 0900   1
Total hours of sunshine        48.3 (120%)
Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 19.30.41

A repeat of December 1990 this weekend?

The outlook for possible snow over the weekend reminds me of a similar synoptic set-up in December 1990 that left large parts of the Midlands northwards covered in deep snow, but that delivered only cold rain to the London area.

The situation in 1990 is explained on the excellent Booty Weather site.

“A low formed dramatically over central England on the 7th, large quantities of rain, turning in many places to snow, fell on its western and northern flanks. On the 7th and 8th very heavy snow fell over northern England, Wales, the Midlands and south west England, with heavy drifting in gale force winds, causing considerable disruption to traffic and cutting power lines.

coventry“The snow did not freeze, however, but melted very rapidly during the next few days, as the temperature rose a little. By late on the 8th, many parts of the Midlands had 20cm or more of lying snow. Acocks Green, Birmingham, reported 42.5cm on the 8th. The Peak District had 38cm at Middleton and 25cm at Winksworth. Newcastle under Lyme reported 28cm, and many other places had more than 20cm. Drifts up to 60cm on motorways in the Derby area, and at Carlton in Coverdale, near Leyburn, a report of 240cm. Snowfall on the 9th in the Dorchester area in 1990 was the heaviest pre-Christmas fall in that area since 9 December 9th, 1967.”

My stats in London suggest that the system was a bit of a non-event here. Another account of December 1990 is covered here.

rain

 

met office
Met Office synoptic charts, general situation and surface obs for December 8th 1990

story

London’s December extremes since 1959

I’ve put together a few top 10s of stats for Wanstead, St James’s Park and Heathrow for the month of December.

Probably most notable is how the month in 1978 lurched from being very mild and wet to very cold in under three weeks later, setting up one of the coldest-ever winters.

I’ve put together a few lines on what this winter might have in store for the London area here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 12.41.15

 

December SJP

December Heathrow

Some national UK December values according to TORRO

Hottest: 18.3C Achnashellach – 2nd 1948
Coldest: -27.2C Altnaharra, Highland – 30th 1995
Wettest: 199.1mm Dalness, Highland – 17th 1966

Climatology

Here’s a couple of graphs showing the maxima and rainfall. Notice the spike just before Christmas day which reflects the singularity which has an 84 per cent probability.

december maxima.PNG

December minima.PNG

december rainfall.PNG

 

 

 

August 2017: average temps, wet

The final summer month proved to be a disappointment for anyone wanting a return of the heat in June.

The mean temperature finished 17.4C, 0.8C below average and the coolest August for three years.

Some 70.2mm of rainfall was recorded, 140% of the 1981-2010 average. Just over 170 hours of sunshine were recorded, 88 per cent of average.

To view full stats follow this link:http://1drv.ms/1kiTuzv

August 2017

December 2016: driest for over 80 years

December 2016 was the driest 12th month in over 80 years and the 5th driest in a record going back to 1797.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-17-12-19
Christmas day was the second warmest on record in London

The total fall of 8.3mm is just 16 per cent of what normally falls in December, marginally more than December 1933. The mean temperature of 6.1C was 0.5C above average, though 4C colder than the record December last year.

There were 51hrs of sunshine, that’s 125 per cent of average.

The wettest day was on the 10th when 5.2mm of rain fell. The warmest day occurred on the 9th with 14.2C recorded. The lowest temperature occurred on the 28th when the spirit fell to -4C.

The sunniest days were on the 4th and 29th when seven hours of sunshine were recorded.

Air frosts: 8, Ground frosts: 14

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-17-12-44
Fog, frost and black ice all featured during December

Though January has started on the chilly side in the short term the weather will turn mild. Beyond that there is a suggestion that the weather could turn on the colder side of average with some models suggesting a cold snap with snow around mid-month.

My usual method of prediction to the end of the month has been scotched by the very dry December. The only years that were similar were both far colder than last month – the usual pattern of a dry month being cold or very cold was broken.

With the unprecedented warmth at the North Pole, last year’s odd behaviour of the QBO and a weak polar vortex we are in unprecedented territory in terms of what could happen later in January. My hunch, though, suggests the month will end up average to rather cold with little precipitation. Any cold spell with probably be the short-lived variety with a couple of inches of snow that lasts three days.

So, to sum up, we’re looking at a mean of 4.4C, rainfall: 55mm, sunshine: 39hrs.

In view of the above my forecast last month was very poor: predicted mean 4.4C (result 6.1C). Rainfall: 55mm (result 8mm). Sunshine: 39hrs (result 51hrs)

I have also published a winter forecast covering the London area that you can find here.

Here follows the full weather diary for December…Full stats for the month here:http://1drv.ms/1rSfT7Y

1st: Sunny start though the frost lifted readily into low cloud and mist to leave a chilly afternoon.
2nd: Cloudy, quiet and cool weather all day.
3rd: Cloudy and quiet all day. Feeling cold.
4th: Sunny , frosty start. Quickly warming up to leave sunny, cloudless afternoon.
5th: Sunny start, then patchy cloud – this thickening before becoming foggy overnight.
6th: Misty start after fog overnight. Cloudy most of the day though there was a brief clearance around midday.
7th: Cloudy most of the day though there was occasional brightness.
8th: Dull day though with a little limited brightness early afternoon.
9th: Cloudy but wth more brightness than yesterday. Very mild. Cloud thickened with light rain around 11am. This gradually grew heavier as the day progressed and was moderate overnight.
10th: Bright start and feeling mild, then cloudier and damp.
11th: Cloudy and dull all day.
12th: Dull all day with light rain early and late. Clearer spells overnight but overcast again by dawn.
13th: Dull with bits and pieces of drizzle up to 11.20am.
14th: Bright start with lots of cirrus and altocumulus – this gradually cleared to leave a warm and pleasant afternoon.
15th: Dull and cloudy with limited brightness.
16th: Dull and cloudy start.
17th: Foggy and dull all day.
18th: Misty start with fog above 90m on cycle ride. Then dull and grey all day. Mild.
19th: Dull and cloudy all day – some spots of drizzle.
2oth: Sunny start but clouded over late morning. Cloudy thereafter with some drizzle overnight.
21st: Cloudy start then sunny. Cloud returned and turned dull and dreary in the afternoon with odd drizzle.
22nd: Bright, misty start
23rd: Cloudy start with breeze beginning to build as a result of Storm Barbera.
24th: Cloudy and dull all day. Very mild. Temp increasing overnight with approach of warm front .
25th: Cloudy, breezy start. Remained dull all day though brightness was seen over the Thames and North Downs, disrupting the SW’ly flow.
26th: Sunny, hazy start and turning colder.
27th: Sunny, frosty start, the air pressure record of 2012 has been broken.
28th: Foggy start, the fog persisting to late morning before sun broke through leaving a chilly afternoon. Frost returned quickly after dark, a clear night.
29th: Sunny and very cold and frosty start. Frost returning after dark with fog forming in the early hours.
30th: Foggy and dull all day, the fog thickening up at nightfall. Approaching cloud lifted the fog and temperature.
31st: Dull and overcast to start – this sticking around all day.

September 2016: very warm, very dry

Last month was the second warmest September in a local record going back to 1797! The monthly mean finished 17.8C, 2.4C above average. Despite being an ‘autumn’ month September was actually a full degree warmer than June!

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-55-19
September 2016 was the second warmest in a local record back to 1797, though we’re talking by fewer than tenths of a degree.

The hottest September day since 1959 was recorded on the 13th when 33.1C was reached, the sixth equal hottest in the local daily record back to 1848.

The month also saw the warmest minimum recorded since 1959 when the mercury failed to fall below 18.7C on the 6th.

It was another very dry month, the third much drier than average month in a row: just 27.7mm fell, 24 per cent of average, making it the driest September since since 2007 and the 12th driest in the local record.

Like August, the month only falls down in terms of impressiveness when sunshine hours are considered. Some 119 hours were recorded, that’s 85 per cent of average, making it the dullest September for 15 years.

Air frosts: 0, Ground frosts: 0

So what has September got in store weatherwise? The models on the 1st suggest that a large Scandinavian high will become established to our NE bringing lots of settled weather and showers on coasts. There’s obviously the chance of trough disruption as the month progresses if the anticyclone’s influence declines.

Beyond the grasp of the models my usual long range outlook method falls down this month due to September’s warmth and dryness – there is nothing within  +/- 10% of September’s statistics. I would guess, however, that we are looking at another drier than average month with frost becoming a risk as the month progresses where skies clear. There is also the chance of more pleasant autumn days where skies are clear during the day.

My September outlook for temperature was poor. I predicted a mean of 15.3C (outcome: 17.8C). It was much, much drier than I thought: 300mm (outcome: 27.7mm). Sunshine was poor: 140 hours (outcome: 119 hours).

Here follows the full weather diary for September…Full stats for the month here:http://1drv.ms/1rSfT7Y

1st: Sunny start but cloud gradually increased until it was overcast by 6pm. Clear spells overnight but warmer than previous nights.
2nd: Cloudy though some brighter intervals.
3rd: Sunny start, cloud began to pile in at 12.30pm with rain arriving at 5.30pm, this fell through the evening with some showers in the early hours.
4th: Bright, breezy start but rapidly turning cloudy and dull. Some rain overnight.
5th: Light rain and dull to start – this quickly clearing to cloud by 3pm. Things remained cloudy with a muggy night.
6th: Cloudy, dull and muggy start after warmest September night on record. Another warm night though muggy.screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-12-22-03
7th: Cloudy to 11am though sun breaking through as drier air arrived. Feeling humid.
8th: Sunny start but with plenty of cumulus, this quickly decreasing to leave clear sky.
9th: Cloudy morning though sky seemed to periodically clear of low cumulus before becoming overcast and very breezy in the afternoon. Some rain overnight and just before obs time.
10th: Cloudy start with patchy light rain, this briefly turning  heavy at 1pm  before turning occasionally moderate. Dreadful afternoon after recently. Clearing overnight to leave a sunny start.
11th: A glorious sunny day with only the odd patch of cirrus.
12th: Bright start with some sunshine, clouding over with a few splodges of rain with warm front. Then sunny and very warm.
13th: Sunny start with a few cirrus and castalanus around. Breezy at times with the thermals. The warmest September day since 1959 and 6th equal warmest since 1848.screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-12-13-54
14th: Sunny start with a few cirrus. A few patches of alto-cumulus later. Very warm but not as hot as yesterday. Warm, pleasant evening.
15th: Sunny with a few wispy cumulus, clearing to hot sunshine. Some alto-cumulus developed at 2pm and towering cumulus could be seen in distance. Thunderstorms reporting to NW of London. Cloudy and warm overnight with eight peals of thunder in the early hours and heavy rain.
16th: Light to moderate rain through the morning, petering out at 1.30pm.
17th: Cloudy, cool and breezy all day, at times dull.
18th: Cloudy all day, a bit warmer than the previous two days.
19th: Cloudy start though with sun breaking through briefly at 11am until 1pm then cloudy again. Rain at 1am that didn’t last long enough to register.
20th: Cloudy and fairly calm – a nothing day with odd very light drizzle.
21st: Bright start with cloud breaking to long spells of sunshine before more cloud moved in. Warmer than of late.
22nd: Cloudy but  sun broke through giving pleasant afternoon and cool overnight.
23rd: Sunny, gin clear and cold start. Just a few fair weather cumulus through the day.
24th: Sunny start with cloud decreasing. Very warm in sun but cloud and breeze built through the day. Overnight light rain between 6am and 9am.
25th: Bright start after overnight light rain.
26th: Bright start with a few cloud breaks here and there. Heavy shower at 12.15pm with further threat of rain but stayed dry.
27th: Bright start with signs of a cold front moving in from south then cloudy.
28th: Sunny start with patchy cirrus, this tending to thicken at lunchtime to turn mostly overcast with humidity increasing. Breeze also picked up with reappearance of sun mid afternoon. Cloudy, very mild and breezy rest of the day.
29th: Cold front and brief heavy rain swept in at 10.03am. Then intermittent falls until 11.23am.
30th: Sunny, gin-clear start, patchy cumulus bubbling up at 10.30am. Cloud grew thicker around 12 noon with brief shower at 1pm. Then sunny spells and cloudier periods. Another shower just after nightfall then clear. Cloud moved in after 2am with another shower. Early sunshine  gave way to moderate showers around 9.45am.