March 2020 Report – A strange month indeed!

March 2020 came in like a lion, with strong winds continuing to batter the country due to the proximity of low pressure systems. This was pretty much the theme of the winter, but at least the extreme wetness and flooding that we experienced in February abated.

The month actually ended up being very dry when compared to the March average. Only 21.9mm of rain was recorded, the majority of which fell in the second week. The wettest day was the 11th; 7.1mm fell. By the end of the month the soggy ground had managed to dry out nicely from the previous month’s waterlogged state. There were 13 dry days, which is OK for March.

Temperatures were unremarkable for March, but did peak out at 18.1 degC on the 25th (the one standout day). The mean maximum was 10.3 degC and the overnight minima were still on the chilly side, with 3 air frosts recorded on the 5th, 6th and 20th. The mean minimum was 2.8 degC and the absolute minimum was -1.9 degC on the 6th.

The lowest atmospheric pressure was recorded on 1st of the month. This was in the wake of Storm Jorge. 973.4mb was a very low value, but not unprecedented. There was a strong rise in pressure from mid-month, reaching 1049.9mb on the 29th, the second month this year we’ve come close to 1050mb (January was the other). The High Pressure was mainly in the wrong place for extreme mildness though, and cold blustery Northerlies were a feature of the last few days, with dew points remaining around freezing.

Although it came in like a lion, March left us in a shellshocked state as a National lockdown due to Coronavirus COVID-19 confined people to their homes. This is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future, so it is hoped the later Spring months will at least allow us all to enjoy some time in our gardens as the days grow longer and warmer.

 




February 2020 Monthly Report – Wet and Wild

There was a very wild start to February, although it was relatively mild.

Storm Ciara over the weekend of 8th/9th brought damaging gusts and flooding. The worst of it passed to the South of us, but there was major flooding in Yorkshire and winds gusted to 93mph in Wales.

The River Wear rose dramatically during the morning of Sunday 9th to peak at 3.05m late on the evening, flooding riverside paths.

Wintry showers on 10th-12th. Snowfall for the Midlands, Scotland and Pennines 15-20cm on high ground. Severe drifting on high ground.

The next storm (Storm Dennis) arrived on 15th/16th and was similar to Ciara. The river in Durham peaked at around the 3m mark again and the wind was very strong from the West. It stayed above 3m for many hours this time, with riverside flooding again causing problems. Once again, the south of the country was hit hard, particularly South Wales.

Some snow arrived in Durham late in the month on the 24th, but it lasted less than a day. From waking to a 2” covering on the morning, it had all gone by mid-afternoon.

The third and last big storm of the month (all at weekends!) was Jorge, named by the Spanish Met Office which duly arrived on the 29th (Leap Year this year).

People around the Ironbridge area in Shropshire are in a desperate situation with flooding on the River Severn. There was also extensive flooding in Yorkshire around the Doncaster area.

The mean temperature for February was 5.4 degC by the traditional method of max+min/2 method. The highest absolute maximum was 10.5 degC during the passing of Storm Ciara. There were no air frosts at all recorded during the month.

The 9th was also the wettest day with 23.0mm of rain recorded. We also had yet another monthly total over 70mm in the last 12 months (this was the 7th time). The final total was 88.4mm.

On the last day of February, the barometer fell to 970.9mb during the passing of Storm Jorge (named by the Spanish Met Office). Heavy snow fell on the Pennines and there was a report in the Northern Echo about people being rescued from their cars in the Upper Teesdale area.

There were only 5 days that could be described as anticyclonic. Four of these were in the first week.






November 2019 – Wet, Dull and Pretty Dreadful

Cold, Wet and Cheerless

Once again I have poor weather to report for this month. Particularly, high rainfall totals again and an incredible dullness that depressed. I know that November is sometimes a cheerless month, but this one has been really rubbish. The weather has also been cold, with depressed maxima by day, although not too cold at night until the last few days.

I have had a bad cold for most of November and I blame it almost completely on the rank weather November has served up for us all.

No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
November!

by Thomas Hood

Rainfall

The month was very wet. The total of 129.1mm was just behind the June total for wettest month of 2019. There were 26 days with rain and 6 days had more than 10mm.

The rain put a big damper on the Durham Lumiére Festival with 5.6, 9.5, 13.7 and 2.2mm falling on the four days from 14th-17th.

The total rainfall represents about 200% of what an average November would bring.

Temperature

Because of all the rain and dullness, November maxima were depressed (like me). The average maximum was 7.5 degC, which is around 2 degC below average. Average minima were around normal at 3.7 degC.

The warmest day of the month was right at the start of the month when a modest 11.3 degC was recorded on the 2nd. The temperature remained below 10 degC from the 4th, and November’s minimum temperature was recorded on the last day, which was very frosty early on. The air temperature was -2.4 degC at 8am.



Some pics from Seaham 27th Nov 2019 (photos courtesy of Paul Levitt)

 

Durham Weather October 2019 – Wet and Cold

October 2019 was more akin to the typical model of what October should be in the UK. Autumn storms propelled by the Atlantic, rain and plenty of it and none of the unseasonably warm rubbish, quite the opposite in fact. If you like warm Octobers, tough luck, this wasn’t one of ‘em.

October was actually a colder than average month. It was wet again, following the trend of soggy months since June. Nearly 480mm has fallen in the June-October period. Rainfall was spread over the whole month, with the first week being the wettest. Only 8 dry days in the month, the total came to 108.1mm, which is nearly double normal (60.9mm). We didn’t seem to have any of the flooding they had in the rest of the country though, which was good.

Met Office: Persistent Wet Weather Late October

The absolute max temperature for the month was only 14.2 degC, on the 8th, and the minima were frequently low, particularly in the last week, with a couple of mornings with ground frost and the need to scrape car windscreens. The mean for the month was 8.4 degC (max+min/2) and that was 1.4 degC below the long term average, but a calibration must be applied and that is +1.0 degC, so still slightly below average.

Overall, a poor month.

 

September 2019 was mostly dry, but still wet!

The headline says it all. September 2019 was really dry and quite pleasant for the first three weeks before the rains came back.  Only 8.1mm fell in the first three weeks, as pressure remained high. Remarkable that the total for the month ended up at 81.0mm, making it a ‘wet’ month overall. That just shows how monthly statistics can completely mask what lies within.

Temperature was very equable, with no really warm days, but no really cold ones either. The warmest temperature came in a short 3 day spell grouped around 20th, when 21.9 degC was reached. The coldest was the morning of the 8th when temps dropped to 3.5 degC.

September’s overall mean temp (mean max+mean min/2) was 12.8 degC, which is slightly below the 1981-2010 mean. This has been rare in recent times.

 

Durham Weather August 2019 – The Wet Summer Continues

After June and July gave us above average rainfall, August continued with the theme. There were brief spells of real warmth, but no real sustained anticyclonic spells. Thunderstorms were quite frequent in the disturbed weather patterns which came mainly from the Atlantic. We were on the North side of the Jet Stream for long periods.

The opening week was reasonable, with temps in the low 20s, but things quickly deteriorated to give 51.7mm of rain over the 9th-12th period. Temperatures dropped too and 20 degC wasn’t breached at all between the 10th and 20th, with rain every day. In fact August had rain on 21 days in total.

Summer weather then returned from 23rd-27th and the maximum for the month of 28.1 degC occurred on 25th. Overall, August was close to average, with the milder nights achieving this figure rather than regularly high maxima.

The three months of summer yielded 129.7mm, 77.7mm and 81.5mm of rain. This is about 80% above the average for 1981-2010. It rained on 59 days of the summer, or 2 out of every 3 days. There were 5 days with more than 20mm of rain recorded and the wettest day of the summer was 8th June.

The highlight of the summer however will be the phenomenal short heat burst at the end of July yielding a new national high temperature record in Cambridge.

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