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.
Heavy rain overnight on 16th March resulted in the River Wear rising to 2.36m just after 9pm. This was a rise of 1.8m in less than 12 hours. The river was a raging torrent, lapping over riverside paths. The river also carried lots of broken tree branches and wood downstream, snagging on bridges and the weirs further around ‘the loop’.
My weather station in Gilesgate only recorded 13mm of rain on the 16th, so the rainfall must have been much heavier in the hills that feed the River Wear in the previous day.
Click below to see videos from 16th March 2019
MOV file of the River Wear is Spate
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.
The first half of January 2019 was very mild and incredibly dry, leaving us with pleasant conditions by the River Wear. We even spotted 3 otters out for a swim.
December started quite wet, then mostly dry later. The second half of the month was quieter with a lot of High Pressure influence. Rainfall total was 41mm, which is only 72% of normal for December.
In late afternoon/evening of 15th December there was a fall of snow/sleet/freezing rain. A right hogs breakfast with strong south easterly winds. Precipitation total was 8mm overnight. It was all gone by morning as temperatures rose.
Temperature was well above normal for Durham, but not as high an anomally as the CET area, which recorded the 15th warmest December. In Durham, the mean was +1.6 degC above normal. The warmest day of the month was the last at 9.2 degC.
I had a data outage on Christmas Eve, resulting in one day of missing data. It did have a frost, so the total for the month was 6.