Compiling a list of sunless, rainy days revealed some interesting spells of wet weather – the most miserable runs of June days in the capital since 1959.
First up was a three-day spell starting on June 25, 1974. Some 34.3mm of rain was recorded.
Next was a three-day spell starting on June 23, 1991. Some 26.3mm of rain was recorded.
Another three-day spell started on June 25, 1997. Some 36.2mm of rain was recorded.
Finally, and most recently, a two-day spell this month that began on June 17th. Some 28mm of rain was recorded.
The above spells all happened around the date of the ‘June monsoon’ singularity which has a probability of 77 per cent. Though the fact that these occurred 47 years, 30 years and 24 years ago shows that these extreme cases happen a lot less than three years in every four the singularity would suggest.
Comparing the current Northern Hemisphere pattern with 1974 suggests that while there’s just as much heat around at 850mb as there was 47 years ago, including an extreme heatwave over some Nordic countries, the air above Greenland appears colder.
Spring in this neck of the woods was really mixed.
A chilly start to March became fairly benign before ending with the warmest March day locally since at least 1959.
April then turned much colder and drier; just 2.4mm of rain fell during the month – the driest April since 2007 and fourth driest in a local rainfall series back to 1797! Sunshine was abundant with over 200 hours. But clear skies at that time of year, with a polar continental airmass, often means air frost. And the ten recorded overnight was far higher than normal.
May saw things warm up slightly but the month still finished a degree colder than average. Some 80mm of rain fell which is over one and a half times what we’d normally expect. The wettest May since 2007 – the month playing catch up on the total absence of April showers that bring the spring flowers! It was a dull month with only 126 hours of sunshine, 69 per cent of average – the dullest since 1990 was third dullest back to 1881.
In terms of flora and fauna the colder weather played havoc with the trees, bud burst coming much later than recent years. As I write this on June 6th some of the later budders like false acacia have only just come into full leaf. The birds, as they normally do, just seem to get on with it raising their young. I’m not sure what the food supply has been like but judging by the amount of healthy juvenile fledglings I’ve seen I would guess that it has been a good season so far?
Here’s the stats. March 8C (+0.3) 30.9mm (76%) 90.9 hours (84%)24.1C on 30th (a record that had stood since 1965) April 7.2C (-2.6) 2.4mm (5.5%) 202.6 hours (127%) 10 air frosts in April, much higher than normal May 12.1 (-1) 80mm (156%) 125.6hours (69%) Spring 2021: Mean : 9.1C (1.1C below average, coldest since 2013, 111th coldest) Rain : 113mm (84% of average, wettest since 2018, 150th wettest ) Sun : 425.4 hrs (94% of average, dullest for three years. 51st dullest) The average masked extremes.
Lack of rainfall and a broken pump have been cited by City of London Corporation as the main reason for the shocking levels of the ponds through the park.
The plight of the water courses has been well documented of late; a press release from the Corporation explains the catalogue of issues hampering efforts to address the problem. Closer scrutiny of these reasons, however, suggest that too much is being blamed on the weather.
A study of local rainfall back to 1981 suggests that though the ground water replenishing season (October 1st – April 24th) has been dry it is by no means out of the ordinary.
As you can see from the graph the rainfall here has gone up and down like a yo-yo and 2016-17 is only the fourth driest period: 1991-92, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 2011-12 were drier.
The Corporation’s press release states: “2015-16 was a helpfully wet period for us…”
Wrong. 2015-16 was average. And if you consider annual rainfall 2015 saw 92 per cent of average rainfall recorded; 2016 was 93 per cent – placing 58th and 66th in driest years since 1797. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“2016-17 has, however, been an especially dry period with below average rainfall since Spring 2016.”
Wrong. See above detail. There have been three drier periods since 1981. And since March 2016, only half of the months have been notably dry, a period that included the third wettest June since 1797.
“January to March 2017 has seen roughly 50% less rainfall than average”
Wrong. January to March rainfall was 94% of the 1981-2010 average
April has been dry, and could be among the top 5 driest back to 1797, but it seems the Corporation are trying to blame nature instead of years of neglect on their part.
The situation is in stark contrast to CoL’s other open space, Hampstead Heath, which has recently seen the completion of a £23m project to make safe the ponds there. CoL has deep pockets yet they have dithered for years over spending £25,000 to renovate the Coronation Bridge – and offer the people of Ilford a route into the park.
Figures released by CoL show it has only invested £1.23m in Wanstead Park over the last five years, compared with £50m spent in Hampstead Heath.
We are constantly told that problems in the park are ‘in hand’ yet progress on anything is painfully slow – and action to repair the pump has sadly come too late for much of the wildlife on Heronry Pond.
People from far and wide use Wanstead Park – they really deserve better!
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
Summer 2016 turned out to be a very decent season overall, the mean temperature of 18.7C (1.1C above average) made it the sixth warmest summer since 1797.
While it wasn’t quite up there with the hot summers of 1976 and 2003 it still produced some notable records. The stormy beginning to June effectively ended with the Brexit vote, a period of 24 hours that coincided with the highest daily rainfall this area has seen since at least 1959.
The multi-cell thunderstorm in the early hours of June 23rd produced 60.8mm of rainfall, nearly half of the month’s total which became the third wettest June in a record going back to 1797. The high rainfall was in complete contrast to July and August and helped skew the overall figure: 168.6mm is 114 per cent over average summer rainfall.
With so much rainfall overall sunshine was affected with only 451 hours recorded, just 80 per cent of what can be expected in an average summer.
July produced another record, this time the highest overnight minimum recorded since 1959. The minimum of 21.1C was recorded during the early hours of the 20th – coming hours after the hottest day of the year: 33.5C – the 14th hottest day on record.
The warm and very dry theme continued into the final month of summer with the warmest August for 12 years, the 10th warmest and 12th driest since 1797.
My summer forecast, when the monthly probabilities are considered, was broadly correct though I didn’t estimate correctly just how warm it would be.
Though there were no records broken August 2016 goes down as a mighty fine summer month, the warmest for 12 years. The mean of 19.5C was 1.3C warmer than average and only 0.1C cooler than 2004.
The month ended a three-year run of poor or so-so Augusts: in terms of mean temperature the month was the 10th warmest in a local series going back to 1797.
It was another very dry month: just 11.9mm fell, 24 per cent of average, the driest August since 2003 and the 12th driest in the local record.
The month only falls down in terms of impressiveness when sunshine hours are considered. Some 192 hours were recorded, the 59th sunniest since 1797 – 1995 had 80hrs more sun.
Air frosts: 0, Ground frosts: 0
So what has September got in store weatherwise? The models on the 1st suggest the month will start mixed, though any precipitation will be below average. Temperatures remaining on the warm side.
Beyond the grasp of the models my long range outlook method is again hampered by a very dry August. However, the data I do have suggests an average month at 100 per cent probability.
A wetter than average month looks most likely at 75% probability.
The rainfall probability makes me wonder whether we are in for a very unsettled second half of September, the Atlantic cranking into life with the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes having an ever-increasing influence as the month progresses.
So to sum up: mean 15.3C (average), rainfall 162mm (300%), sunshine 140 hours (100%).
My August outlook for temperature was good. I predicted a mean of 19C (outcome: 19.5C). It was drier than I thought: 30.3mm (outcome: 11.9mm). Sunshine was poor: 239 hours (outcome: 192 hours).
1st: Cloudy start to 1pm. Rain started at 5pm through to 10pm. A brief interlude before more light to moderate rain through the night 4.30am, then drizzle
2nd: Damp, miserable start – the rain became light to moderate in the early afternoon before drying up – very high dew points through the day.
3rd: Bright and breezy with variable cloud.
4th: Bright start with variable cloud and sunny spells.
5th: Good sunny spells all day – perfect summer’s day, not too much humidity – though an isolated shower passed over at 8pm.
6th: Sunny, clear start. Lots of sunny spells during the day.
7th: Bright start though very breezy. Cloud decreased through the day to leave a gorgeous late afternoon and evening.
8th: Sunny, clear start with lots of fair weather cumulus throughout the day. Cloudier spells mid afternoon.
9th: Sunny with fair weather cumulus up until noon then cloudy afternoon.
10th: Sunny with fair weather cumulus, variable throughout the day. Breezy.
11th: Cloudy start with very brief light rain, barely enough to damp ground. Some sunny intervals later and bright and warm.
12th: Sunny start with a few clouds. Turned gin clear at 11am and stayed clear all day. Feeling hot.
13th: Bright start but turning cloudier. Sunny intervals PM.
14th: Cloudy start breaking to some long sunny spells. Feeling very warm in the sun.
15th: Bright start soon turned sunny with a clearance at 1pm.
16th: Bright start though a lot of haze around. Sunnier later though still hazy.
17th: Sunny with patchy cloud to start, this clearing late morning to leave a clear if rather hazy afternoon.
18th: Sunny if a bit hazy to start, this tending to decrease to leave warm sunshine.
19th: Cloudy with rain threatening. Low cloud at Stansted. Brief rain in afternoon then cloudy.
20th: Dull and overcast at 9am. Burst of heavy rain at 10.15am clearing to sunny spells at noon 30. Rain between 7pm and 8pm and 3am and 4am.
21st: Bright start. Sunny intervals till 3pm then sunny spells.
22nd: Bright after earlier rain at 0719 then sunny spells.
23rd: Clear and sunny start with a few cirrus clouds through the day. Hot.
24th: Sunny, gin clear start. Patchy cirrus through the day. Hot.
25th: Lots of altocumulus and sunny spells but felt sultry due to high dew points.
26th: Cloudy start but gradually decreased to leave clear pm.
27th: Overcast but bright start. Brightness through the day but hazy. Some heavy storms further north.
28th: Overcast until early afternoon, 5 minute shower at 2pm then sunny intervals..
29th: Bright start then sunny spells and cirro cumulus gradually clearing to leave a sunny evening and clear night.
30th: Clear and sunny start.
31st: Bright start though cloud filling in by 3pm, clearing again at 8.30pm
April 2016 has seen more occurrences of thunder than we can expect during a typical July.
A persistent flow of unstable Polar maritime air, coupled together with strong sunshine, provided the perfect ingredients for some really beefy showers.
The mean temperature of 9C was 0.8C cooler than average, the coldest April for three years and in stark contrast to the previous two Aprils that were mild and very dry. Air frost, notable for its absence in the previous two Aprils, returned with four incidences where the temperature dipped below freezing
Apart from a dry slot in the third week rainfall was fairly steady: 52.5mm is 124% of average for this area. It was the wettest April for four years.
Sunshine was just below average. Over 153 hours were recorded, 96% of what we can expect to see during an average April.
The wettest day occurred on the 15th with 15.9mm, rain associated with a depression that ran along the Channel coast out into the North Sea, a system that heralded the colder pattern that defined the rest of the month.
Air frosts: 4, Ground frosts: 12
So what has May got in store weatherwise? The models on the 1st suggest that rather warmer weather will develop as we finally lose the northerly-sourced airflow and low pressure across the UK.
Low pressure to the NW will become influential with strong and milder WSW winds driving wind and rain bearing fronts east and SE across the UK late on Sunday and Monday. A bright and brisk NWly flow with sunshine and showers then looks likely to be replaced by a ridge of high pressure and drier weather. It will begin to feel quite warm in any sunshine across the south from midweek.
Beyond that the outlook is uncertain though it appears warmer, if changeable, conditions will prevail.
Beyond the grasp of the models my long range outlook method has conflicting signals. The highest probability is 32% for something rather cool. Average is 28% while rather mild comes in at 20% probability. Something cool comes in at 12%, while mild is 8% probability. Both cool and very mild have a probability of just 4%.
A wetter than average month looks most likely at 48% probability. Sunshine probably about average.
So to sum up: Mean: 12.8C (0.2C below average), rainfall 58mm, sunshine 179 hours.
My April outlook for temperature was good. I predicted a mean of 9.2C (outcome: 9C). Rainfall was also good: 57mm (outcome: 52.5mm). Sunshine also good: 149 hours (outcome: 153.9 hours).
1st: Sunny start though lots of haze around from late morning.
2nd: Sunny until 2pm before cloud then light rain spread in – this lasting into the evening.
3rd: Sunny start with hazy cumulus building through the day.
4th: Bright start though lots of cloud around. Some gin clear spells of sunshine.
5th: Sunny start though with variable cloud through the morning.
6th: Drizzly start, giving way to sunny spells and showers.
7th: Cloudy after recent light rain. Windy and cold. Some heavy showers mid to late afternooon with flash of lightning and thunder at 4pm and hail >5mm.
8th: Bright start though with much cloud around. Some brief sunny spells and v light showers.
9th: Cloudy, damp start after morning rain. This broke to sunny spells at 1pm ish. Cloudy again later but clearing at dusk to allow a frosty night.
10th: Sunny start but soon turned hazy with keen, cold SE wind building through the day.
11th: Cloudy start but brief brightness early afternoon. Rain at 2.15pm – this lasted until 5pm. More rain in the early hours, heaviest just before 5am.
12th: Bright start though hazy with lots of cirruo stratus. Clear and cold overnight.
13th Glorious sunny start and warm in the sunshine. Some patchy cloud at times. More cloud bubbled up late afternoon with a shower at 8pm and midnight. Clear and cold overnight.
14th: Sunny start though with much more cloud at times to 2pm. Showery rain in the evening lasted through the night.
15th: Cloudy with rain at 9.45am until 10.15 then turned a bit brighter before cloudy again at 11.45am. Rain set in at 12.30pm with thunder at 1.07pm then rain on and off into the evening. Clearing overnight and cold.
16th: Cloudy and cold start. Stayed cloudy all day with brief light rain shower. Cold and frosty overnight.
17th: Sunny, gin clear start with cloud gradually bubbling up. Sunny periods throughout the day.
18th: Sunny start with cumulus bubbling up.
19th: Mostly sunny start but then turned very cloudy. This cloud cleared just before noon.
20th: Sunny, clear start with just a few cirrocumulus drifting around during the day. Cold wind.
21st: Bright start but much cloud around. Some spells of hazy sun through the afternoon.
22nd: Cloudy, cold feeling start. Rain by 5pm, this heavier than expected. Next day dawned clear but cloud soon bubbled up.
23rd: Sunny start, cloud bubbled up with a shower at 12.25pm, clearing by 1pm. Early rain on 24th before obs time.
24th: Bright start, cloud bubbled up with light shower at midnight.
25th: Cloudy, cold start with lots of Arctic cumulus. Showers soon arrived that were mostly sharp but brief and heavier in the east. These cleared to leave a cold, breezy night.
26th: Sunny start but cloud quickly bubbled up. Some heavy showers of soft hail with odd snow flake. Thunder at 2.45pm.
27th: Sunny start though cloud quickly started building with snow and soft hail at 12.30pm. Further showers at 1712 and 2330. Clear, cold and frosty overnight.
28th: Sunny and mostly clear up until 12 noon.
29th: Sunny start though cloud quickly bubbled up. Some very heavy hail in Plaistow with an accumulation of one inch – this hung around for a while due to the low dew point and low humidity – less in Wanstead. Thunder and lightning too.
30th: Sunny, clear start though cloud began to bubble up. Felt cold in the wind as it became overcast last afternoon. Cleared overnight to give frost.
With the meteorological winter over the first month of spring saw the weather return to its modern type: cooler than average just when most people are looking for warmth.
The mean temperature of 6.7C was 1C cooler than average, the coldest March for three years and the first month more than 1C below average since last September.
The wet end to the month tipped the rainfall statistic well above average: 60.3mm is 148% of average for this area. It was the wettest March for eight years, notable because of a 14-day dry spell during the middle part of the month.
Sunshine was just above average. Over 116 hours were recorded, 107% of what we can expect to see during an average March.
The wettest day occurred on the 27th with 14.4mm, rain associated with blustery weather fronts from Storm Katie.
Air frosts: 7, Ground frosts: 14
So what has April got in store weatherwise? April is often a month when we can see huge swings in the weather from day to day as the natural warming of the atmosphere competes with the decaying coldness of northern latitudes.
This often results in big showers and vast temperature differences not only day to day but between night and day too. All of the above is going to be on offer over the coming few weeks if the model output on the 1st is correct. A warmer phase will begin the month as winds switch southerly, drawing warmth from Spain. However, with low pressure close big showers and outbreaks of rain should be expected. Then as the low switches to the NE of the UK the door opens next week for colder NW winds with further rain or showers and chillier air. A lot of output strengthens this northern sourced air through the second week and with low pressure never looking likely to be far from the UK we will be looking at lots of showers and spells of rain.
Beyond the grasp of the models my long range outlook method suggests the April mean will be average or just below at 60% probability. Rather cold comes in at 20% while cold has a probability of 20%. There appears no chance of something mild.
A wetter than average month looks most likely at 40% probability. Sunshine probably about average.
So to sum up: Mean: 9.2C, rainfall 57mm, sunshine 149 hours.
My March outlook for temperature was good. I predicted a mean of 5.9C (outcome: 6.7C). Rainfall was way off: 31.6mm (outcome: 60.3mm). Sunshine also out: 68 hours(outcome: 116 hours).
1st: Drizzly start turned to steady rain at 10am – this lasting past lunchtime but drying up to leave a cloudy afternoon. Very sharp squall blew threw at 2am with brief intense rainfall.
2nd: Bright start but soon turned very blustery and showery. Brighter after 3pm but cold as dew point fell away.
3rd: Sunny, cold start. Cloud bubbling up late morning.
4th: Sunny, gin clear start. Cloud bubbled up through the day. Clearing in the evening to leave a very cold early hours. Light rain moving in at obs time.
5th: Cloudy start with small area of rain around 10pm. Brief brightness at noon before more light rain moved in. Clearance again at 3.30pm. Small hail <5mm at 5pm. Clear spells overnight.
6th: Sunny, cold start. Coud bubbling up late morning.
7th: Sunny, cold start with light winds. Variable cloud but feeling cold, especially so overnight.
8th: Cloudy, calm and cold start.
9th: Very light drizzle am before briefly brightening up. Heavier rain pushed in between noon and 2pm. More rain at intermittent periods into the evening.
10th: Cloudy until 2pm. Cleared at dusk to leave a frosty, cold night with thick fog patches on Centre Road.
11th: Sunny start with early mist clearing. Variable cloud through the day. Clear spells up to midnight but then tending to cloud over.
12th: Cloudy start tending to brighten up though sunshine remained mostly wintry.
13th: Cloudy start quickly cleared to leave sunny morning. Pleasant until a keen N’ly wind set in.
14th: Bright start with cloud quickly breaking, cold wind.
15th: Cloudy and dull start. Mostly cloudy through the day.
16th: Bright start but cloud filling in by 10am. Mostly cloudy all day
17th: Sunny and clear until 11am – patchy cirrus thereafter.
18th: Cloudy, cool start – the cloud lasting past 12 noon.
19th: Cloudy start – very brief drizzle. Brief brightness just before 10am then cloudy.
20th: Cloudy start brief sunshine at 10am-ish before cloud spilled across. Another clearance at 11am before cloud returned for afternoon.
21st: Cloudy until brief sunny spells at 10.30am. Much milder for a time before a mostly cloudy afternoon.
22nd: Mostly sunny all day with just a few cumulus.
23rd: Cloudy all day
24th: Cloudy, chilly start. Rain spread in by 1pm and turned heavier in the evening, clearing around 3am to showers. Sunny dawn.
25th: Sunny start with just patchy cumulus
26th: Cloudy with intermittent light drizzle. Very heavy squall at 6pm brought 5C fall in temperature.
27th: Sunny start but with some very dark clouds around. Squally winds and showers thereafter at 11.30 and 2.30pm.
28th: Cloud and rain to start and very windy due to Storm Katie, becoming fine by mid afternoon though heavy showers moved in.
29th: Bright start with cumulus dotting the sky. Cloud thickened up during the day with heavy showers in the evening.
30th: Sunny start with fair weather cumulus doting sky – this lasting all day.
31st Sunny, misty start
Though it was devoid of snowfall February 2016 was average for temperature and sunshine and on the dry side.
Some sharp frosts made for a couple of stunningly sunny days, “ski resort weather” the kind of days that were absent during the first half of winter after the super mild December.
Rainfall of 35.1mm was 90% of average – the driest February for three years. Mean temperature for the month was 5.4C, 0.1C above the 1981-2010 mean.
Sunshine was just above average. Over 79 hours were recorded, 108% of what we can expect to see during an average February.
The wettest day occurred on the 7th with 11.6mm.
Air frosts: 10
Ground frosts: 16
So what has March got in store weatherwise? The late winter synoptic pattern could see the first snowfall above 1cm over the coming days and next week though amounts are likely to be small and temporary and restricted to night hours.
The pattern bringing this messy wintry mix is low pressure moving SE across the UK between now and the weekend each band bringing progressively colder air across the UK. Much of the precipitation will be showery although Friday looks more interesting as a secondary moving south brings cold N or NE winds. Models suggest next week will see high pressure from the west displacing this cold N. The timescale is very uncertain and it may be toward the second half of next week before the general theme of dry and settled conditions prevail. Frosts at night remain likely and daytime temperatures remain close to or a little below normal.
Overall the first half of March does not look like it will offer much in the way of spring weather.
My long range forecasting method suggests the most likely scenarios to be rather cold or cold, though both are only at 33% probability. Something average or below works out at 83% probability. The only mild indicator is for something rather mild at 16% probability.
A dryer than average month looks most likely at 66% probability. Something wetter than average works out at 34% probability.
Very dull conditions look most likely at 83% probability.
So to sum up: Mean: 5.9C, rainfall 31.6mm, sunshine 68 hours.
Taking all of the above into account perhaps the most likely scenario will be that the month will be predominantly anticyclonic with lots of gloom during the day and night frosts, varying in intensity.
So to sum up: Mean: 5.9C, rainfall 32mm, sunshine 67 hours.
My February outlook for temperature was good. I predicted a mean of 5.9C (outcome: 5.4C) with 31.6mm of rain (outcome: 35.1mm). Sunshine 68 hours (outcome: 79.5hrs)
1st: Cloudy, breezy start. Sunshine PM with nacreous clouds reported on east coast. Cold in a brisk wind.
2nd Cloud gave way to sunny spells around 11am – then feeling cold in a brisk wind.
3rd Cloudy and cold start then mostly cloudy with a cold wind.
4th Bright though mostly cloudy start. Cloudy through the day with odd spot of drizzle through the night. Area of very light rain gave about 0.1mm before 9am.
5th Cloudy with light drizzle up to 11am then briefly bright before more drizzle arrived.
6th Cloudy to start with odd burst of drizzle. Very windy and feeling chilly in wind. Rain arriving after 8pm.
7th Sunny start though cloud bubbling up after 11am and feeling cold in wind as dew point fell away. A very heavy, violent squall swept through at 2245z then blustery through the night.
8th Sunny start quickly gave way to squally showers which were mostly light. Strong winds into the afternoon with squally but light showers. Chilly overnight.
9th Cloudy and cold start, briefly clearing before noon before clouding over again.
10th Cloudy start though with some weak brightness lunchtime.
11th Mostly sunny all day and calm – warmth of the sun can now be felt. Just a few cirrocumulus. Stunning.
12th Bright start but cloud thickening. Day felt cold though as DP fell away.
13th Cloudy start with drizzle at obs time. Cold wind through to lunchtime and intermittent drizzle.
14th Bright, cold start with cloud increasing through the morning.
15th Bright, cold start with lots of wispy cirro-cumulus around. . 16th Stunningly sunny and frosty start. Just patchy cirrus through the day.
17th Cloudy through the day until 5.30pm when drizzle then rain set in.
18th Initially cloudy but then quickly brightened up. Sunny spells through the afternoon.
19th Sunny, clear and frosty start. Cloud began to build mid morning becoming overcast by noon. Light rain spread in about 4pm. Milder.
20th Bright start but cloud and wind quickly built. Light at times moderate rain fell through the afternoon – a thoroughly miserable day.
21st Dull, dry day up to 1pm. Very mild. Staying cloudy overnight with rain arriving at 5am, most falling until 7.30am.
22rd Drizzly start turned to a dull, overcast day
23th Cloudy with clearance at 11.30am. More cloud appeared to leave sunny spells. Much advection but cleared to leave frosty night.
24th Sunny, clear and frosty start. Lots of sunshine but quickly turned cold after dark with early frost. Cloud then wind lifted temperature though.
25th Bright start but quickly clouded over to become cold. Clearance in evening allowed temperature to fall quickly but cloud moved in and breeze picked up to prevent a sharp fall.
26th Cloudy, cold start. Brightening up to sunny spells by 1pm. Too much cloud overnight for a frost.
27th Bright start but became cloudy through the day with a cold easterly wind.
28th Cloudy start but some brightness around noon
29th Cloudy start but soon brightened up with long sunny spells before clouding in again early afternoon.
The coldest night in three years was recorded last month together with the first lying snow in January since 2013 – though you had to be up early on Sunday 17th to see it.
For anyone looking for ‘traditional’ winter weather it was pretty desperate stuff and seems a continuation of the mild winters of the past three years.
Apart from a mild final week much of the month was rather cold with a couple of sharp night frosts that affected many early daffodils that bloomed during the super mild December.
Rainfall of 65.8mm was 124% of average – very similar to last January’s total. Mean temperature for the month was 5.8C, 0.6C above the 1981-2010 mean. It felt far cooler, however, because the December mean was 5C above average.
Sunshine was just above average. Over 54 hours were recorded, 108% of what we can expect to see during an average January.
The wettest day occurred on the 10th with 11.6mm.
Air frosts: 6
Ground frosts: 18
So what has February got in store weatherwise? There is no sign of any longer term changes in the pattern of synoptics across the UK. All models continue to suggest a very volatile jet stream with resultant low pressure close to or across the UK for much of the first half of February.
This week westerly winds will remain strong with severe gales in the north in association with Storm Henry over the next 36 hours. The current mild and damp conditions in the south should be replaced with colder, showery air moving south later on Monday, lasting into Wednesday. On Thursday another large warm sector will move up across the UK from the SW returning mild and damp conditions.
At the weekend all models show low pressure areas taking a much more southerly route across the UK with gales and wet weather. While no cold weather looks likely there may be incidences of very heavy and thundery showers. Only GFS on Monday is showing any hint of more settled, colder weather at the end of the period.
Using my long range method February is looking average, very dry and dull.
A mean of about 5.9C, just over average, is the highest probability at 71%. Something ‘rather mild’ comes in at 29% probability.
Rainfall is looking low: 15mm represents something 38% of average.
Sunshine totals will be low and it could be a dull month, around 60 hours of sunshine, that’s just 82% of average.
My January outlook for temperature good. I predicted a mean of 5.2C (outcome: 5.8C) with 59mm of rain (outcome: 65.8mm).
1st: Bright after sunny, clear dawn before clouding over with light rain. Rain at midnight.
2nd: Cloudy start after early overnight rain. Rainy spells and blustery throughout the day.
3rd: Drizzle to start then damp before more rain moved in at 11.30am – this fell intermittently through the day and evening and was often heavy.
4th: Bright, damp start after overnight rain. Some light outbreaks up to 2pm.
5th: Sunny, clear and cold start with contrails dotting the sky. Clouding over later with rain after 6pm. Misty around midnight.
6th: Bright, very damp start. Mostly cloudy with rain in the evening and overnight.
7th: Dull start with outbreaks of rain spreading in, some heavy and very blustery. Drying up after lunchtime though feeling cold. Cool overnight with frost on cars with a very brief shower on school run.
8th: Bright start though light showers around. Gradually clouding over. Clearer spells overnight and cool.
9th: Bright start though with plenty of cloud around. Showers, some heavy with small hail at 8.30pm. Clear spells overnight.
10th: Bright start after overnight rain. Cloud gradually decreasing to leave it clear at noon. Cloud returned after dusk and thickened up around 9pm. Heavy rain from midnight.
11th: Cloudy, damp and cold start. Some breaks after noon then clear spells overnight and cold.
12th: Sunny, cold start. Clouding over at midday to leave cold-feeling afternoon and overnight – too much wind for a frost.
13th: Bright, cold start but turning mostly cloudy. Rain in the evening and on ride home.
14th: Rainy. cold start, then cloudy with sunny intervals. Cold air digging in from midday.
15th: Sunny all day with just a few cirrus. Took a while for frost to form properly.
16th: Sunny, frosty start with just a few cirrus. Variable cloud and evening in London felt freezing. Some drizzle, this turned heavier and by 4am thick flakes were falling to give a thin covering. Some 1cm at High Beach during a bike ride.
17th: Cloudy start. Thin covering of snow (<1cm) thawed by lunchtime. Cloud built into afternoon to leave chilly evening.
18th: Bright start but sunshine was weak so felt cold. Mostly clear into the evening allowed for an early frost. A classic radiative cooling night until the early hours, assisted by a very gentle low-level flow off the continent where there were some very low dew points. Between 2am and 6am there was some thin, high-level cloud that drifted across, which stopped the radiative cooling. Warmth from the ground then briefly lifted the temperature until, once more the cloud cleared after 6am and allowed the temperature to fall again to its minimum of -5C at 0809z. There was also a little mixing of the layers of air between 2 and 6 which would also have had a cooling effect. Had it not been for the cloud I’d suggest that the low could have fallen to -6.2C, which would have been the coldest since February 2012 when it fell to -9.2C over full snow cover.
19th: Sunny all day with occasional alto-cumulus drifting across. Another cold night, the coldest in 3 years.
20th: Bright start with lots of scattered cumulus. Sunnier early afternoon and less cold. Another frost quickly forming after dark.
21st: Frost lifting quickly then cloudy with limited brightness throughout the day.
22nd: Cloudy start with rain arriving at 9.05am. Bursts through the day until early afternoon. Some brief brightness in the late afternoon.
23rd: Sunny, cool start. Clouding over with rain in the evening. Very mild.
24th: Cloudy start after overnight rain. Mostly cloudy with odd spot of drizzle though bright.
25th: Sunny, clear start though cloud bubbled up at 11am to leave mostly cloudy afternoon. Clear spells overnight and chilly.
26th: Cloudy and increasingly gusty up to midday. Some rain in the evening.
27th: Cloudy, blustery start.
28th: Sunny all day with just a few clouds around noon.
29th: Cloudy and breezy with some drizzle in the wind early afternoon. Report of 101mph gust on Shetland from Storm Gertrude. Wind seemed to strengthen at midnight before rain arrived.
30th: Cloudy and damp start after overnight rain. Sky soon cleared to leave mostly sunny afternoon.
31st: Drizzle in morning as warm front moved in.