Spring has sprung

5 03 2014

Warmer, drier weather is on the way for parts of the country.  As we move through the week a north–south divide develops across the UK with Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and parts of Wales being changeable and windy. However in the south high pressure will dominate  bringing dry weather for the weekend, with the best of the weather in the Southeast.

Temperatures are expected to reach mid to high teens in the South this weekend (8th – 9th March), while northwest England and Scotland are likely to see spells of strong winds and rain and there is a risk of overnight frosts.

This is in sharp contrast to the record breaking winter we have just experienced.  It was the wettest winter for the UK, England, Wales and Scotland, and the second wettest winter for Northern Ireland in the record series dating from 1910. It was the stormiest UK weather for 20 years with at least 12 major winter storms affecting the UK in two spells from mid-December to early January, and again from late January to mid-February.

For a time early next week the temperatures are expected to return to nearer normal, or slightly above, the average for the time of year (9 °C).  High pressure is again expected to dominate through next week leaving largely settled conditions it should continue to feel “spring like” with some sunshine around and light winds.

When does Spring start?

Meteorologically speaking spring stretches from 1 March to the end of May. Astronomically, spring typically starts on the day of spring equinox, around the 20 March in the Northern Hemisphere.

Weather in spring is often calm and dry with temperatures rising in the day but staying cool at night.





Winter so far – 18th February rainfall update

18 02 2014

As the UK heads into a period of more normal unsettled winter weather weather, the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre has looked at statistics for this winter so far (from 1 December 2013 to 13 February 2014).

These add to previous facts and figures we put out earlier this month, and show a picture of continuing exceptional rainfall across many areas.

Looking at regions around the UK, these provisional figures show the region of central southern and southeast England has already exceeded its record winter rainfall in the series back to 1910. Rainfall here currently at 459.3mm*, 22mm above the previous record of 437.1mm set in 1915 with two weeks still to go to the end of the season. This winter also currently ranks as the 4th wettest winter (if there is no further rain) for southwest England and south Wales combined and the 3rd wettest for England South.

Both the UK as a whole and Wales are fairly close to exceeding their respective record wettest winter levels in the national series dating back to 1910 (see table below). Average rainfall for the rest of the month could see those records broken.

All countries across the UK have already exceeded their typical average rainfall for the whole winter (according to the 1981-2010 long-term averages). Normally at this stage of the season, you’d expect to have seen only around 80% of that whole season average.

All areas are also on target for a significantly wetter than average winter, with typically around 130-160% of normal rainfall if we get average rainfall for the rest of February.

All countries and areas are also on target for a warmer than average winter.

Current record wettest winters:

Country Year Rainfall Winter 2014 to date*
UK 1995 485.1mm 452.6mm
ENGLAND 1915 392.7mm 345.6mm
WALES 1995 684.1mm 645.1mm
SCOTLAND 1995 649.5mm 590.4mm
NORTHERN IRELAND 1994 489.7mm 386.2mm

*These are provisional figures from 1 December 2013 to 13 February 2014 and could change after final quality control checks on data.





January weather summary

14 02 2014

January saw a succession of weather systems tracking across the UK from the Atlantic which brought high winds, at times gale force, and persistent rain to the country. This extended a sequence of deep lows that began in mid-December. The worst of these were over by the 7th to give some brief respite, but rain continued through the remainder of the month with very few dry days. For the period from 12th December to the end of January some stations in the south of England had recorded over five months worth of rainfall.

The UK mean temperature for January was 4.8 °C, which is 1.1 °C above the 1981-2010 average. The UK overall received 151% of average rainfall making it the third wettest in the series. A broad region from east Devon to Kent and up to the central midlands received well in excess of 200 % and some more localised regions were closer to three times the average. Visit our climate section for a full written summary of the month.

Our infographic and video provide a summary of the weather throughout January:

14_0062-jan-summary-infog





2013: Average figures mask some notable highlights

31 12 2013

Provisional statistics for 2013 suggest it has been a very average year – but those annual figures mask a year which features some significant weather highlights.

Using figures up to 29 December and then assuming average conditions for the last two days of the year, statistics for 2013 show temperature, rainfall and sunshine amounts have all been very close to the 1981-2010 average.

The mean temperature for the UK is currently 8.76C, which is just 0.08C below the annual long-term average, rainfall stands at 1079.8 mm, which is about 94% of the average, and sunshine is at 1425.7 hours, which is 104% of the average. All in all, it seems like a very ‘normal’ year.

However, a closer look at individual months and seasons shows a different picture.

The coldest spring for more than 50 years

This year’s spring was the coldest since 1962. Temperatures were well below average in all areas, but particularly England and Wales, and it was the coldest spring in the Central England temperature series since 1891.

The cold season was mainly due to the very cold March (the coldest month of the extended winter) – but April and May also saw well below average temperatures. Winds were often from the east or north, with notably low temperatures and some unseasonably late snowfalls in places extending into April and May.

A fine summer and autumn’s St Jude’s Day storm

However, after a mixed June, July kickstarted a period of relatively fine weather which led to the warmest, driest and sunniest summer since 2006. The season itself isn’t that remarkable in its own right, but becomes so when put into context of the last few years which have generally seen disappointing weather.

Autumn was fairly average in terms of its numbers, with temperature, rainfall and sunshine close to average, but October featured the St Jude’s Day storm. This storm is judged to be ranked within the top 10 most severe storms in the autumn across southern England in the last 40 years, but is not in the same category as the ‘Great Storm’ of October 1987.

A mild but stormy December

After a fairly dry November to finish the autumn, we moved in to what has become a very unsettled and stormy December. The first major storm came through on the 5th and 6th, then another followed on the 18th and 19th, with another storm tracking past the UK on the 23rd and 24th.

While there have been strong winds during December, rainfall has seen marked regional differences. For example, parts of southern England have seen around double the amount of rain they would normally expect while some spots along the east coast of the UK have only seen around half of their December average.

Other than the generally unsettled conditions, this December has also been mild – it is currently ranked as the seventh mildest December in our records dating back to 1910, although this ranking could change when the final figures come in.

You can find a wealth of information about the UK’s weather and climate throughout 2013 on our climate pages.

Some 2013 extremes:

Max temp – 34.1C at Heathrow, London 1 August

Min temp – -13.6C at Buntingford, Hertfordshire 22 January

Max wind gust – 142mph, Aonach Mor, Invernesshire 5 December

 

Keeping the UK informed

It has also been a notable year for the Met Office. Throughout 2013 the Met Office’s forecasts and warnings have provided timely advice during the periods of severe weather we have seen, helping the UK stay prepared and minimise impacts.

Our Get Ready for Winter and Get Ready for Summer campaigns saw many different companies and organisations working with us to help people prepare for the ever-changing UK weather.

We’ve continued to work in partnership with others around the world to develop the understanding of weather and climate science, helping to drive forward accuracy.

A year of achievement for the Met Office

Met Office staff have again received a high level of recognition for their work. In October Dr Nick Dunstone was named Outstanding Young Scientist for Climate Sciences by European Geophysical Union, while Dr Peter Stott was recognised as one of the ‘Global Thinkers’ of 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine.

Very recently, the Met Office’s Chief Executive, John Hirst, and Chief Scientist, Professor Julia Slingo, were recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Other Met Office highlights include:

  • The launch of Europe’s Space Weather Prediction Centre helping protect the technologies our day-to-day lives rely on from severe solar flares, space storms and solar wind which can disrupt them.
  • The launch of Climate Service UK marking a step-change in the provision of services to assess how a changing climate might affect business and society.
  • Retaining our position as the leading operational forecaster in the World.
  • The number of weather reports received by our Weather Observation Website passing 100 million.
  • A celebration of the centenary of the pioneer of modern day weather forecasting, Lewis Fry Richardson, taking up his post as Superintendent of Eskdalemuir Observatory.




Wind and rainfall data 27 December 2013

27 12 2013

As forecast, a deep area of low pressure developed over the Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of Friday morning bringing with it a further spell of wet and very windy weather across the UK as it tracked northeastwards, crossing northwest Scotland.

Below you can see the highest gusts of wind and rainfall totals recorded at Met Office observing sites from midnight to 2.30pm on 27 December.

Maximum gust speeds:

Site Area Elevation (m) Max gust speed (mph)
Aberdaron Gwynedd 95 102
Capel Curig Gwynedd 216 87
Mumbles Head West Glamorgan 43 85
St Bees Head Cumbria 124 85
Inverbervie Kincardineshire 134 81
Valley Gwynedd 10 81
Lake Vyrnwy Powys 360 78
Mona Anglesey 60 78
Needles Old Battery Isle of Wight 80 78
Dundrennan Kirkcudbrightshire 113 77
Pembry Sands Dyfed 3 76

Rainfall totals:

Site Area Rainfall (mm)
Tulloch Bridge Inverness-shire 38
Tyndrum Perthshire 37.8
Charterhouse Roxburghshire 37.8
Kiedler Castle Northumberland 33.2
Achnagart Ross and Cromarty 32.8
Redesdale Camp Northumberland 28.6
Cluanie Inn Ross and Cromarty 26.2
Eskdalemuir Dumfriesshire 24.2
Dalwhinnie Inverness-shire 24.2
Newton Rigg Cumbria 22
Banagher, Caugh Hill Londonderry 19.4

Winds will slowly ease from tonight and we are expecting a brighter and less windy interlude over the course of Saturday and for most of Sunday with overnight frosts and sunny spells and a wintry mix of showers.

Another active atlantic frontal system is expected to swing eastwards across the country on Sunday night and Monday morning. A combination of strobng winds and moist air has the   potential to give locally significant amounts of rain which could cause the risk of further flooding.  The wind and rain are expected to clear eastward on Monday morning.

During this period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so they can plan ahead for the weather in store and make the most of the festive season. We would also encourage you to stay up to date with the latest news on flooding by checking the Environment Agency’s website for the latest flood alerts and warnings.

 





Updated Wind and Rainfall totals for 18th to 19th December

19 12 2013

As forecast there were severe gales and heavy rain overnight. See the tables below for the strongest low level gusts and the largest rain totals across the UK.

We are expecting more stormy weather over the coming days, with spells of heavy rain and gales affecting the UK – with the heaviest rain affecting the west and south west and strongest winds affecting the far north. Warnings for each individual spell of wet and windy weather will be issued when we are confident they will provide useful and accurate advice.

UK MAX HOURLY GUST SPEED 18TH DEC 1800HRS – 19TH DEC 0700HRS

SITE NAME AREA ELEVATION MAX GUST SPEED (MPH)
WIGHT: NEEDLES OLD BATTERY ISLE OF WIGHT 80 94
SOUTH UIST RANGE WESTERN ISLES 4 90
TIREE ARGYLL 9 87
PLYMOUTH, MOUNTBATTEN DEVON 50 85
CASTLEDERG TYRONE 49 84
PEMBREY SANDS DYFED 3 82
CAPEL CURIG NO 3 GWYNEDD 216 81
STORNOWAY AIRPORT WESTERN ISLES 15 77
ALTNAHARRA NO 2 SUTHERLAND 81 77
FAIR ISLE SHETLAND 57 76

24 HOUR UK RAINFALL TOTALS 18TH DEC 0700HRS – 19TH DEC 0700HRS

SITE NAME AREA PRECIP        AMOUNT ( MM)
TREDEGAR GWENT 38.4
CARDINHAM, BODMIN CORNWALL 35
WHITECHURCH DYFED 34.4
TYNDRUM PERTHSHIRE 32.2
LIBANUS POWYS 30.8
SHAP CUMBRIA 30.6
OKEHAMPTON, DEVON 30.6
KESWICK CUMBRIA 28.8
TULLOCH BRIDGE INVERNESS-SHIRE 27
BALA GWYNEDD 26.4




24 hour rainfall totals

6 08 2013

High rainfall totals were recorded yesterday as a band of heavy rain crossed the country.

Libanus in Powys saw the most rain, with 58.8 mm recorded in a 24 hour period. The highest hourly total was 15.4 mm recorded in Tredegar, Gwent between 11 am and 12 pm yesterday.

24 hour rainfall figures from 7 pm 4 August to 7 pm 5 August 

Site Name Area Rainfall (mm)
Libanus                         Powys                58.8
Levens Hall                     Cumbria              56.2
Aberdaron                       Gwynedd              55.6
Porthmadog                      Gwynedd              55.4
Tredegar  Gwent                53
Morecambe                Lancashire           51.2
Capel Curig              Gwynedd              49.8
Mumbles Head                    West Glamorgan       48.6
Camborne                        Cornwall             43
Cardinham, Bodmin           Cornwall             43
Warcop Range           Cumbria              42
St Athan                        South Glamorgan      40.6
Shap                            Cumbria              39.6
Boulmer                         Northumberland       38.8
Culdrose                        Cornwall             36.4
Chivenor                        Devon                35.6
Valley                          Gwynedd              35
Carterhouse                     Roxburghshire        34.2
Charterhall                     Berwickshire         32.8
Durham                          Durham               32.8
Mona                            Isle Of Anglesey     32.4
Walney Island                   Cumbria              32.2
Albemarle                       Northumberland       32
Liscombe                        Somerset             31
Cardiff, Bute Park              South Glamorgan      31
Whitechurch                     Dyfed                30.6




Rainfall figures for the weekend

29 07 2013

With thundery showers bringing heavy rain, some areas saw high rainfall totals over the weekend. The wettest was Carlisle, in Cumbria, which saw 97.4 mm of rain over the last 48 hours.

48 hour rainfall totals (0900 GMT 27 July to 0900 GMT 29 July 2013)

Site Name Area Rain (mm)
Carlisle Cumbria 97.4
Keswick Cumbria 77.2
Shap Cumbria 66.8
Market Bosworth, Bosworth Park Leicestershire 65.2
Leek, Thorncliffe Staffordshire 58
Rochdale Greater Manchester 55.6
Ravensworth North Yorkshire 54.2
Blencathra Cumbria 51
Keele Staffordshire 48.4
Newton Rigg Cumbria 46.6

Carlisle also made it into the top ten wettest days of the year so far, with 79.8 mm on Sunday alone, however it’s still some way behind Plockton, which saw 108 mm on the 5th May earlier this year.

Top ten wettest days in 2013 so far

Site Area Date  Rain (mm)
Plockton Ross & Cromarty 05/05/2013  108
Strathallan School Perthshire (In Tayside Region) 07/05/2013  100
Holne, Priddons Farm Devon 22/03/2013  84.6
Carlisle Cumbria 28/07/2013  79.8
Pembrey Sands Dyfed 15/05/2013  72
Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog Clwyd 15/05/2013 69.6
Achfary Sutherland 14/05/2013 67.8
Market Bosworth, Bosworth Park Leicestershire 28/07/2013 65.2
Dinorwic Gwynedd 14/04/2013 65.2
Achnagart Ross & Cromarty 03/05/2013 64.2

Despite the dry start to the month, this rainfall means this July is unlikely to set any records for being dry.





This week’s snowfall captured by rainfall radar

13 03 2013

The rainfall radar network is a great way of looking back at how weather systems affect the UK.

Here we see rainfall radar imagery from 00:00 GMT on Sunday 10 March to 09:00 GMT on Tuesday 12 March. It shows snow showers affecting much of the UK while an area of heavier snowfall affects northern France, the Channel Islands and the far south-east of England.

radar_animation

What’s particularly interesting is that it shows really well how the showers and the heavier snowfall across the south were moving in totally different directions. The snow showers can be seen moving in from the North Sea on north-easterly winds. Meanwhile, the heavier and more persistent snowfall was moving in from the south-west as an area of low pressure tracked across France. You can see how these two systems collided over Sussex and Kent, resulting in the heavy snowfall here.

At the very end of the sequence the wind changes direction again over the north of the UK, with the snow showers being blown across Scotland from the north.

You can see current observations from our rainfall radar on our website.





Statistics for December and 2012 – is the UK getting wetter?

3 01 2013

Provisional statistics from the Met Office show 2012 was the second wettest year in the UK national record dating back to 1910, and just a few millimetres short of the record set in 2000.

The exceptionally wet year was characterised by a dry start which quickly gave way to very wet weather, with April and June both being the wettest on record.

Unsettled weather continued through to the end of the year, with December being the 8th wettest on record for the UK.

Throughout the year, accurate forecasts and warnings from the Met Office have helped everyone across the UK plan and prepare for the worst impacts of the extremely wet weather we have seen.

The persistent wet weather resulted in total 2012 rainfall for the UK of 1330.7 mm, which is just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000.

Looking at individual countries, 2012 was the wettest year on record for England, third wettest for Wales, 17th wettest for Scotland and 40th wettest for Northern Ireland.

This adds to a high frequency of wet years since 2000 in the UK – with four of the top five wettest years occurring since then.

Top five wettest years in the UK
1. 2000 – 1337.3mm
2. 2012 – 1330.7mm
3. 1954 – 1309.1 mm
4. 2008 – 1295.0mm
5. 2002 – 1283.7mm

We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing. However, preliminary evidence suggests we are getting slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more intense bursts.

Looking at annual rainfall for the UK, we can see the country as a whole getting wetter in recent decades.

Long-term averages of 30-year periods show an increase in annual rainfall of about 5% from 1961-1990 to 1981-2010:

Annual average UK rainfall according to 30-year averages
1961-1990: 1100.6mm
1971-2000: 1126.1mm
1981-2010: 1154.0mm

Preliminary research from the Met Office also suggests we may have seen a change in the nature of the rain we get, with ‘extreme’ rainfall becoming more frequent.

An analysis of 1 in 100 day rainfall events since 1960 indicates these ‘extreme’ days of rainfall may have become more frequent over time.

The above graphic shows the frequency of what climate averages tell us should be roughly 1 in 100 day heavy rainfall events in each year. Over time, this gives a view of the frequency of ‘extreme’ rainfall.

The above graphic shows the frequency of what climate averages tell us should be roughly 1 in 100 day heavy rainfall events in each year. Over time, this gives a view of the frequency of ‘extreme’ rainfall.

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2012 Provisional stats
Mean temperature ( °C) Sunshine duration (Hours) Precipitation (mm)
Actual Difference from 1981-2010 average Actual % of 1981-2010 average Actual % of 1981-2010 average
Regions
UK 8.8 -0.1 1356.4 99 1330.7 115
England 9.6 -0.1 1470.2 98 1123.2 131
Wales 9.1 0 1355.7 97 1716.2 118
Scotland 7.3 -0.1 1187.6 100 1602.6 102
N Ireland 8.9 0 1239.1 99 1153.7 102
England & Wales 9.5 -0.1 1454.4 98 1205 128
England N 8.8 -0.1 1360 99 1288.1 133
England S 10 -0.1 1528.5 98 1036 130
Districts
Scotland N 6.9 -0.2 1124.9 104 1599.5 93
Scotland E 7.1 -0.1 1217.1 96 1313.2 111
Scotland W 8.1 0 1239.1 99 1917.1 107
Eng E & NE 8.8 -0.1 1420.3 100 1064 137
Eng NW & Wales N 8.8 -0.1 1305 97 1614.1 122
Midlands 9.4 -0.1 1439.2 100 1074.6 135
East Anglia 10.1 -0.1 1538.1 98 804.1 129
Eng SW & Wales S 9.8 -0.1 1457.3 96 1574 125
Eng SE & Central S 10.3 -0.1 1601.5 98 999.7 127







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