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.
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.
A gorgeous day in May 2018. View from Prebends Bridge looking towards Framwelgate Bridge. It was the precursor of a fantastic summer. The Durham Cathedral tower work continues, still shrouded in it’s protective covering. The stonemasons are replacing weathered stone blocks at the top of the Main Cathedral Tower, as they have become dangerous.
Prebends Bridge washed away in November 1771
The previous Prebends Bridge was washed away in a catastrophic flood on 17th November 1771. It was a storm that proved fatal to many North East bridges on both the Tyne and Wear, as well as many smaller tributaries.
An Easterly outbreak, dubbed “The Beast from The East” by the media, dumped a substantial amount of snow on us at the end of February and early March 2018. When such a weather synoptic occurs, we tend to get plastered in snow here on the North East Coast. Temperatures hover around zero and potent snow showers are readily blown inland, reaching Durham without too much trouble.
Here’s a view across The River Wear from the path just as we emerged from Pelaw Wood. Snow was 8-12” deep in most places, squeaking under our boots as we walked down the track to the river from Silverlink Bridge.
A beautiful day in mid-Spring, 2017. The view is from Pelaw Woods across the River Wear to the cricket and rugby club grounds.
The pathway at the bottom of the photograph is still being repaired after a landslip during wet weather in 2013 caused the hillside to collapse. The repair work has taken several years to complete. More details of the work is detailed below.
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