Climate Summary of Durham
The climate of North East England is heavily influenced by The North Sea, which keeps us relatively warm in winter and cooler in summer. Lying to the east of the Pennines, Durham lies within the rain shadow, and normal yearly totals of rain are in the region of 650 mm. Typical extremes of temperature are -6 degC to 27 degC. The area is also sheltered from the worst of the winter gales, although conditions can sometimes be very gusty in lee of the Pennines.
The spring is generally the driest season in this part of the world, and can be quite pleasant, but sometimes there is a tendancy for Easterly winds to set in, making it feel rather raw as the North Sea is at it’s coolest at around 8 degC. There is also a tendancy for the East coast to be shrouded in mist in late spring/early summer, making us jealous when the rest of the country is basking in sweltering temperatures, but the ‘haar’ as it is called is really only a problem in very early summer, with Durham tending to be at the western limit of the sea breeze.
By July and August we can expect temperatures to rise to between 25 and 28 degC on it’s warmest day, although anything higher than that is very rare, indeed 30 degC has only been breached on about 30 days in nearly 170 years in Durham.
In recent times, autumn has been very mild here, with September usually as warm as June. We can experience temps up to 25 degC typically, with no real danger of frost until October. However, the autumn is a lot wetter than the spring, with the wettest month having almost double the rainfall on average, but this still amounts to no more than around 70mm in a typical year.
Winter hadn’t been really cruel to us for a while, with December becoming an extension of November, typically with more worries about gales than snow. The only two real ‘winter’ months being January and February, but in more recent times, snow and low temperatures have returned, with the Decembers of 2010 and 2011 reminding us that we can still get severe conditions here, when synoptics are favourable.
Once again, if an easterly sets in during the winter months, we know about it here! It can result in a good dumping of snow from instability showers courtesy of the North Sea, and days can be dull and dark. This proved to be the case in winter 2009-10, and again in the following winter, when snow remained on the ground for more than a month in places.
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