I don’t think I would be being too harsh on Summer 2019 if I said I thought it was slow getting started. After the first half of June, the prospects of summer were looking dire. There had already been over 100mm of rain by the time we’d reached the half way point. There had already been 5 days with more than 10mm of rain each (4th,7th,8th,12th and 13th). The long term average rainfall for the whole of June in Durham is 55mm. The Durham Regatta had to be cancelled on the first weekend due to the River Wear being swollen and dangerous.
As well as the deluge of rain (not as bad as other places in England), it only got above the magical 20 degC mark (a nice warm day) on two days. The signs weren’t good.
Then, in the second half, the heavy rains stopped and summer suddenly arrived. The winds lost their northerly bite, the sun came out a bit more and the soggy mess that opened the summer was a distant memory. Temps hit 20 degC on 7 days in the second half, with a belting 28.4 degC on the 29th. Meanwhile, Europe was basking in record temperatures. Southern France recorded 45.9 degC on 28th June, which smashed the record for June by more than 4 degrees (these records are only meant to be broken 0.1 or 0.2 at a time) and it turned out to be the warmest day ever recorded in France in any month. Germany too broke it’s national temperature record a day later.
The month ended up being slightly warmer than the long term average for June, with a mean of 13.8 degC. The rainfall total is just shy of 130mm, which puts it in the top 4 wettest Junes in Durham since 1880. Notably wetter were June 1980, 1997 and it was comparable with 2012.
May 2019 Summary
May opened disappointingly cool, with the preponderence of winds from an Northerly and Easterly sector, the direction no-one wants at this time of the year. There was no real warmth until the 13th and then only for three days! Temperatures did recover a bit in the second half, to give an overall mean of 10.9 degC, which is still on the cool side for May.
The rainfall total was also on the low side for May, continuing the rather dry Spring. Rain was well spread, with only two short dry periods. The wettest day was the 8th, with 12.2mm. Some areas of the North East had very heavy thundery showers towards the end of the month, with reports of a funnel cloud from the Bishop Auckland area on 28th.
There was more anticyclonic influence in May than low pressure, but it was just drifting about in the wrong place to offer much of an early taste of summer. Ah well, let’s see what June brings.
April began quite cold, with some snow over high ground and even to lower levels in Durham. None of it lay on the ground, but the strong north westerly and northerly winds made it feel unseasonably cold. It gradually began to warm up by day, but cold at night before mid month.
It was quite wet in the first week, with 21.4mm falling in the period 2nd-4th, but then the weather turned dry and nothing was recorded at all in the period from the 8th to the 24th.
The weather peaked over the Easter weekend, with sunny fine conditions and real Spring warmth. Saturday 20th was the warmest, with 24.1 degC recorded. This was almost equalled on Palm Sunday (21st), with 23.6 degC. Unusually, conditions close to the coast also remained warm. By the following week, low pressure was in charge again and temperatures dropped back to normal for late April.
Overall, the mean temperature was marginally above average, but rainfall was way below normal, with only around 60% of normal long term April rain recorded. Only 7 days had measurable rainfall, with 2nd and 3rd responsible for half the eventual monthly total.
March 2019 was another month of above average temperatures, with the monthly mean coming in at 7.2 degC, which is about 1.3 degrees above the long term average. The Maximum temperature was 17.1 degC on 29th, with the Minimum at 0.1 degC recorded on the morning of the 8th March.
The rainfall total of 51.7mm fell mainly in the first half of the month, but was still about 20% above normal for March. The wettest day was 16th, with just over half an inch (13mm). This moderate total led to a rapid rise in the River Wear, which must have responded to a heavier fall in the hills. The river rose nearly 6ft on the Saturday in less than 12 hours.The river rose nearly 6ft on the Saturday in less than 12 hours.
The first half of the month was dominated by low pressure, whilst the 2nd half was anticyclonic, resulting in this unequal distribution of rainfall.
February started very cold, with the first 3 days averaging below freezing. Rain was plentiful until the 9th, but then the dry weather of February returned, accompanied by increasingly warm unseasonal temperatures.
The airstream was coming from the Canary Islands. The all-time February record was smashed in England and Wales on 26th and 27th, topping 20 degC for the first time in a winter month.
Here at my site in Durham, the maximum got to 17.1 degC on 26th, which is a very close to the February record at Durham Observatory, 17.4 degC observed on the 28th February 2012. I wait with baited breath to see whether that has been beaten.
Temperatures returned to normal for the last day, the maximum dropping 10 degrees from 27th. The average for the month was 6.3 degC based on hourly values, and 6.8 deg on the more traditional (max+min)/2 method of calculation. This made February 2018 very warm.
The rainfall total was below average again – only 33.6mm in total, with the two wettest days being the 7th (8.7mm) and the 3rd (6.6mm).
The New Year opened much the same as the old one ended, with dry benign weather and extraordinarily persistent High Pressure for the first half of the month. The high was a cloudy one, so temperatures stayed above freezing, with no fog or frost. It’s very unusual for a January to have such a high average pressure and not be cold and frosty.
Alarmist headlines were again plentiful in the tabloids, with lots of doom laden promises of snow-bombs and Polar vortices, the writers not really having a ‘scooby’ what they were writing about. All done to generate paper sales.
By 17th we got a strong Northerly flow and this drove snow showers inland along areas exposed to the wind. A slight covering of snow resulted.
Conditions continued generally cold in the second half, with the coldest weather reserved for the final day. Temperatures fell overnight 30th/31st to -5.9 degC, which is pretty impressive without any snow cover. The snow did arrive the following night though, with a 2″ powdery covering going into February.
Mean temperature for the month was 4.1 degC, which is slightly above the long term average for January (3.8). There were 10 days with air frost altogether.
The low level of rainfall was remarkable for a January total. 10.1mm is about 20% of what is normally expected here.