Mild wet winter continues in early January figures

16 01 2014

Provisional half-month statistics up to the 15th of January show a continuation of the generally mild and wet theme of the UK’s winter thus far.

The mean UK temperature up to the 15th of January is 5.1 °C, which is 1.5 °C above the long-term (1981-2010) average.

The mild January so far follows on from a mild UK December, which had a mean temperature of 5.7 °C, which is 1.8 °C above the long-term average – making it the eighth mildest December in records dating back to 1910, and the mildest since 1988.

It’s a similar story with UK rainfall. We’d normally expect about 48% of the January average rainfall by the 15th of the month, but the UK has seen 87.9mm so far – which equates to 72% of the January average.

As usual, there are regional varations. England has been particularly wet so far this month, having already seen close to its full-month average, and Wales is not too far behind. Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, are closer to the ‘normal’ amount of rain we’d expect at this stage.

The wet January so far once again follows the theme set in December, which saw 184.7mm of rain – which is 154% of the average for the month.

While this means January, and winter, so far have been mild and wet, it doesn’t mean they will finish that way. We often see half-month or half-season figures which then change dramatically by the end of the period. So the message is, it’s too early to judge how January 2014 or winter 2013/4 will finish up.

The main reason for the mild and wet weather so far is that we have seen a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic – as well as generally unsettled conditions.

The table below shows provisional figures from 1-15 of January, with actual figures so far compared to full-month averages. We would normally expect rainfall and sunshine to be about 48% of the full-month average at this stage.

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall  
January 1-15
Actual Diff from Avg Actual % of Avg Actual % of Avg
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 5.1 1.5 26.1 55 87.9 72
England 6.0 1.9 34.7 64 80.4 97
Wales 5.8 1.7 20.6 42 137.7 88
Scotland 3.6 1.0 15.4 43 91.2 51
N Ireland 4.4 0.2 14.6 33 62.8 54




October set for top ten warmest

1 11 2013

5 November 2013 Update – The full month figures are available in our latest blog

Early statistics for October up to the 28th of the month suggest this October is likely to be one of the warmest in records dating back to 1910.

Map showing relative warmth of October temperatures across the UK.

Map showing relative warmth of October temperatures across the UK.

The mean temperature for the UK from the 1st to the 28th is 11.6 °C, which is 2.1 °C above the long-term (1981-2010) average. It’s currently ranked joint fifth warmest in the records, but this could change once the final three days of data have been included.

Mild temperatures were experienced across all parts of the UK – with October currently being in the top ten warmest for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, it was particularly mild in Wales, with this October currently ranked as the joint warmest on record alongside 2001.

There were no autumn heat waves through October, just a persistence of mild conditions – particularly mild nights – and frost has been rare through the month.

October 2013 is also notable because it was dull and, for most places, relatively wet. Sunshine hours are currently below the long-term average, while rainfall is already above ‘normal’ levels for everywhere apart from Scotland – which is about average.

Below are figures from 1-28 October, and we’ll update on the full-month figures early next week.

Below is a table showing statistics for 1-28 October, and we’ll update with full-month statistics early next week.

Mean temp Sunshine Rainfall
October 1-28 Actual (°C) Diff to Avg Actual (hrs) % of Avg Actual (mm) % of Avg
UK 11.6 2.1 67.3 73 147.6 116
England 12.6 2.2 74.4 72 131.6 143
Wales 12.3 2.4 66.7 72 208.9 123
Scotland 9.7 1.8 52.7 70 157.9 90
N Ireland 11.2 1.8 84.1 96 145.6 122




UK’s unsettled weather and the jet stream

21 10 2013

The UK is set to see unsettled weather throughout this week as heavy rain and windy conditions are expected to affect many areas, whilst temperatures will remain mild for the time of year.

We talk about the jet stream quite a bit in the UK because it has such a big influence on our weather, and this week is no exception as it’s playing a leading role in determining the unsettled outlook.

What is the jet stream?

The jet stream is a band of fast moving westerly winds high up in the atmosphere which circle around the pole in the northern hemisphere. It can feature winds of up to 200 knots (230 mph) or more, and these winds tend to guide wet and windy weather systems which come in off the Atlantic.

The jet moves around a fair bit and its position can have a big impact on weather here in the UK depending on where it is.

If the Jet is over the UK or just to the south, we tend to get a lot of wet and windy conditions as it brings weather systems straight to us. If the jet is to the north of us, it guides that changeable weather away to the north to leave the UK with more settled conditions.

What’s the jet stream doing now?

Unsurprisingly given the outlook for this week, the jet is positioned more or less directly over the UK – but it’s the detail of its track which is important.

As you can see from the picture below, the jet currently swoops south from western Canada – moving over the Atlantic before taking a sharp turn north to head over the UK.

Forecast chart showing  expected position of the jet stream at 1pm on Tuesday 22 October

Forecast chart showing expected position of the jet stream at 1pm on Tuesday 22 October

This means relatively cool air is being dragged south then over the Atlantic, where warmer seas heat the air from below. This causes the air to warm and rise – creating instability and generating cloud and rain.

By the time weather systems reach they UK they have picked up a lot of rain and relatively warm air, bringing us the wet but mild conditions we are currently seeing.

What’s the weather outlook?

Currently unsettled weather looks set to impact the UK through the week, with heavy rain affecting many areas at times.

There may be more settled conditions on Thursday, and perhaps again on Saturday, but looking further ahead into the start of next week the outlook is for unsettled weather to continue.

You can stay up to date with what to expect with our detailed forecasts out to 5-days and our weather warnings, as well as a general view of what we expect out to 30 days.

You can find out more about the jet stream in our YouTube video.





Wet and windy weekend

29 04 2012

Large parts of the UK have seen very wet and windy conditions over the weekend.

Winds have gusted up to about 70mph in the most exposed locations, with many parts of the country seeing gusts of 40-50mph.

The strongest gust (at a non-mountain site) was 71mph at Mumbles Head in West Glamorgan, Berry Head in Devon was just behind with 70mph.

Leek, Thorncliffe in Staffordshire saw 68mph, Avonmouth in Avon saw 61mph, and two locations on the Isle of Wight also saw 60mph.

Persistent and heavy rainfall has also been widespread across a large part of the country, with some areas seeing a significant proportion of their normal monthly average within a 24-hour period.

The heaviest rainfall has been focused on southern England with Liscombe in Somerset seeing the most rainfall so far, with 48.8mm falling between 1pm on Saturday, 28 April and 6pm today, 29 April.

Hampstead in Greater London saw 39.2mm of rain during the same period, with Wiggonholt in West Sussex seeing 32.4mm and Rothamstead in Hertfordshire seeing 29.8mm. Several other stations across the south saw rainfall at a similar level.

Other parts of the country, particularly in the far north, have seen very little or no rain at all, however.

Looking ahead, there are Severe Weather Warnings in place for both Monday and Tuesday in parts of the UK, so we’d advise people to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings on our website.

The Environment Agency has also issued many Flood Warnings and Alerts – you can stay up to date with the latest information via their website.





Met Office in the Media: Thursday 11th November

11 11 2010

The VentnorBlog (www.ventnorblog.com) reported on the heavy and prolonged rain ‘that was predicted by the Met Office’ earlier in the week, providing photos of the flooding that was seen in parts of the Isle of Wight.

Nathan Rao at the Daily Express has reported on Met Office forecasts of severe gales or even storm force winds across parts of the UK today (Warning as 80mph storm roars in with lashing rain). Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers said in the article: “We are looking at much stronger winds than we saw on Sunday, gale-force moving into storm-force in parts which are going to last for most of the day.” You can stay right up to date with the latest weather forecast and warnings on the Met Office website. Many other regional papers have also reported on our forecasts of severe weather.

Following the publication of the Climate Change Strategy for Wales, which has been informed by climate science experts from the Met Office. Speaking about the strategy, the First Minister for Wales was reported by WalesOnline as saying: “There is no doubt that our climate is changing, and that science states the case that human behaviour is to blame for this change. Met Office Chief Scientist followed this sentiment saying to WalesOnline in an article on what experts say about the strategy:  “Our climate is changing and we know that some level of change in the future is unavoidable. Only through adaptation policies, firmly grounded in scientific advice, can we ensure that we are best placed to meet the challenges of climate change head-on.”

Finally SouthWestBusiness.co.uk has reported on the latest Met Office forecaster recruitment campaign, in which we are looking for candidates who are  “passionate about meteorology” and not only have the scientific skills to predict the weather accurately but also have the customer service skills to deal with our civilian and military customers.







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