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 …

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The First Snows Arrive!

Snowfall, Winter 2019-20 Better late than never Well, after a winter composed almost entirely of wind, rain and relatively mild temperatures, the first snow arrived in Durham five days before the end of February. Amounts aren’t huge (2-3”), but at least it stopped the winter from being thrown on the ‘No snow’ pile. It’s melted rapidly though after turning to rain. By mid-afternoon, the snow had completely gone and air temperatures were up to about 6 degC.

Storm Ciara causes flooding in Durham

Storm Ciara batters the UK After spending a fair bit of time concentrating on the wind speeds, we sort of forgot about the rain that Storm Ciara was going to deliver. Thankfully we missed some of the squall lines that hit further south. My total for rainfall was only 22.9mm, but obviously far more fell on the catchment areas on the Pennines. A walk to the riverside was needed and as I was coming down from Gilesgate I decided the best way was the pathway that goes directly to the river down past Hild and Bede College. When I got …

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January 2020 weather – Mild and Dry

The recent trend has been that winter months have been on the dry side. January 2020 was very much in that vein. It was also very mild for first week. On the 8th/9th there was overnight snow in the High Pennines, although only rain fell elsewhere. This was heavy in places. This was actually the wettest day in Gilesgate, Durham, with 13.6mm of rain recorded, the wettest day since 19th November last year. It was very mild and wild on the 11th, and the strong winds continued until the 13th/14th as a depression passed through, with some snowfall in Scotland …

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February 1986 – Extremely Cold, One of the Coldest Months on Record

February 1986 (who remembers that one then?) was one of the coldest Februaries ever recorded in modern times. Trevor Harley, in his famous weather summaries pages, describes February 1986 thus: “February 1986. Extremely cold (-1.1C CET), with frequent light snowfalls. The second coldest February of the 20th century (after 1947), and fourth coldest month of the twentieth century overall (and the last time a month had a mean beneath zero before December 2010). The month was similar to January 1963 in being a completely blocked month, with a high centred over north Russia bringing some very cold air east. Winds …

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Loudon Wainwright III – You Don’t Want to Know [1987]

Here’s a song by one of my favourite artists, Loudon Wainwright III. It was written during the cold spell in 1987, when Loudon was living in England. Loudon Wainwright III – You don’t want to know (1987) It was colder than a witches tit, colder than a Polar bear’s nose, Colder than the shoulder of my old flame, colder than hell ever knows, Not quite as cold as you think it is when the wind chill factors blow, But at Centigrade and Fahrenheit it felt way below zero. The electric duvet was cranked way up to 10, the gas fires …

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The Time Traveller : January 25th 1947

The harsh realities of the brutal winter of 1946-47 are chronicled here in a writeup of The Time Traveller clipped from the Northern Echo some time in the 1980s The churches worry about war-devastated Germany, but most people say that Britain has enough to do in feeding herself. Rationing is worse than in the war – dwindling allowances of basic foods, “points” for others, coupons for clothes and since last July even bread, which has not been rationed before. We are exhorted to export more, or expect still lower living standards and industry is short of coal. Mr. Atlee’s Labour …

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December 2019 – Finally an end to the sequence of soggy months

After 6 months of way above average rainfall, December has finally stopped the rot. As has been previously mentioned, the wet sequence started in June and ran all the way through to Novemeber. What usually happens when December is dry is that it’s also frosty. This time, it’s been both mild here and on the dry side. There have only been 4 air frosts, spread equally across the month. (1st, 2nd, 18th and 31st). The atmospheric pressure was pretty low and cyclonic from the 6th all the way to the 23rd, but all of the rain seemed to fall in …

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What range of weather to expect in January in Durham

As Christmas is over for another year, and we’ve been disappointed by the lack of snow again, we start looking forward to the New Year. What’s sort of weather is normal for Durham in January? Well. looking at the means for Durham, and the extremes, we can see what range is ‘normal’. Durham Weather Extremes since 1850 JANUARY Mean Temp : 3.8 degC. (Max 6.6, Min 0.9) Warmest : 6.8 degC in 1916. Coldest : -2.1 degC in 1881. Abs Max Temp : 16.7 degC on 9th, 1888. Absolute Min Temp : -17.2 degC on 17th, 1881. Mean Rainfall : …

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February 1991 – A very snowy episode!

I was rooting about in the loft the other day and came across an old logbook of mine from when I lived in Ferryhill. It covered the period of late 1990 and early 1991. Immediately I took interest because there was a memorable period of heavy snowfall in February 1991. What is striking was that snow was 15” deep on 9th and 10th. I know I took some photos at the time, but can’t find them now unfortunately. Here’s the page from the log. As you can see, there was an air frost every night for the first 19 days. …

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