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Thundery wintry showers

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Thundery wintry showers last won the day on November 12 2012

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About Thundery wintry showers

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    Cumulonimbus Incus

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    East Exeter, Devon
  • Interests
    Weather (of course!), chess, music, computer gaming, social events, football, tenpin bowling, environmental issues
  • Weather Preferences
    Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.

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  1. Thundery wintry showers

    Best and worst winters

    Records go back to 1993. Best: 1. 2010/11 2. 2009/10 3. 1993/94 4. 2000/01 5. 2017/18 Worst: 1. 2015/16 2. 1997/98 3. 1992/93 4. 2013/14 5. 2004/05 I have taken the Novembers and Marches into account as well as the traditional winter quarter, for as many of us saw this year, they can occasionally produce very notable wintry spells. It's also a Tyne and Wear-centric stance as that's where I spent the majority of the winters, but as far as I'm aware my top 5 were also pretty good in the Exeter area. 2010/11 edged out 2009/10 as a consequence of the very memorable November (the whole month had a lot of interest, though of course especially the last week) as well as the record-breaking December. 2017/18 only just edged out 2008/09. Lack of sunshine was the main factor that prevented the winters of 1995/96 and 2012/13 from entering my top 5, and also contributed somewhat to the low ranking of 1992/93. On the other side of the coin, high sunshine totals saved the largely snowless winters of 1999/00, 2006/07 and 2007/08.
  2. Thundery wintry showers

    Least favourite weather events

    Those relentlessly dull "easterly" months when I was living in Tyneside, with temperatures hovering around 3-5C, a big wind chill effect and stratocumulus trapped underneath a cap. December 2002 takes the wooden spoon award from this point of view. January and March 1996 were similar and were even more exceptionally dull than December 2002 but their snow events saved them from taking the wooden spoon award.
  3. Thundery wintry showers

    The decline in thunder days.

    Some parts maybe, but certainly not the Munich area for instance (I follow a few of the webcams there, there were some spectacular looking storms there in late May in particular). It's not unusual for a summer like this year's to be largely devoid of thundery activity though. There weren't many thunderstorms about during the summers of 1976, 1989 and 1990, and while 1995 had a thundery July, June and August of that year had somewhat less thundery activity than usual. Continuing a pattern seen in several recent years, parts of north-east England have had above average thundery activity this summer. At my parents' location up in North Yorkshire there were 9 days with thunder during the summer quarter, which is close to the long-term annual average for that area of the country. Here in Exeter, in contrast, there were none at all. 2007, 2009 and 2011 were other marked examples of summers when the north-east often seemed to be favoured.
  4. The ECMWF 12Z looks very scary for Tuesday, sending the low into mainland Britain without losing much of its intensity:
  5. Thundery wintry showers

    2002 worst year for weather?

    It's a subjective thing but certainly when I rated Tyneside's weather from 1993 onwards from a personal preference perspective, 2002 came out as the lowest-rated year. "Highlights" included the mild, wet and not particularly sunny second half of winter, the rather dull and windy summer, and the extremely grey December. The spell of weather that I most positively remember from that year was from the last week of March through to the beginning of May. April was a notably warm sunny month over much of England. There was also quite a spectacular thunderstorm in Tyneside on the evening of the 2nd June.
  6. Thundery wintry showers

    Warm septembers that followed poor summers

    September 1998 was warm but in Tyneside it was also very dull apart from the aforementioned warm sunny spell around the 21st. 2004 and 2011 were indeed good examples, and in 2011 the hot sunny end to September came close to producing the highest temperatures of the year, beaten only by the brief plume event of 26-27 June 2011. In 2004 the fine spell fell in the first third of September. September 2002 was a good example in some southern and western parts of the UK although it was a dull month in the north-east. If we were considering sunshine rather than temperature the Septembers of 1986 to 1988 were pretty decent. At Durham, the Septembers of 1986 and 1987 were both sunnier than any of the preceding three summer months, and in some parts of the country September 1988 achieved the same distinction. September '86 in particular was rather cool though with Septembers 1987 and 1988 near average to fairly cool.
  7. Thundery wintry showers

    What did you think of Summer 2018?

    June and July 2018 had much in common with 1976 and 1995 here in south-east Devon, with dry but relatively cloudy weather until 20 June and then a fortnight of hot (but not as hot as 1976) and exceptionally sunny weather starting on 21 June, so coincidentally our summer really got going on the same date as in 1976 and 1995. The last two-thirds of July also had a similar pattern to those of 1976 and 1995 with frequent southerly winds rather than persistent high pressure, although unlike in 1995 the region missed out on the thunderstorms in mid to late July (my parents had a few spectacular ones up in North Yorkshire, but in Exeter we had nowt). August was a big downer. Not so much because it was more unsettled, but mainly because of how frequently overcast it was, with rain at times but very little convective activity and no thunder - Devon and Cornwall saw a rather greater shortage of sunshine than in many other parts of the UK this month. Thus for me this summer ranks alongside those of 2003 and 2006, scoring roughly 7.5/10, but not up there with those of 1989, 1995 and 1996. (In 2003 July let the side down a bit, and in 2006 it was the August). It would of course have shattered a lot of temperature and sunshine records had the synoptics been shifted a month later, because May was another very warm and sunny month, also with a big thunderstorm in the last week which I missed because I had a holiday in Norwich and North Yorkshire.
  8. Thundery wintry showers

    Arctic melt Season 2018

    Another concern with an ice free Arctic Ocean would be that there would be much warmer air masses in the vicinity of Greenland, potentially adding somewhat to the melt rate of the Greenland ice sheet. Unlike the Arctic Ocean, substantial melting of the Greenland ice sheet would certainly contribute significantly to global sea levels.
  9. Thundery wintry showers

    Anxiety & Depression Support Group

    I don't think I've ever quite fallen into clinical depression although there were a few times in the past when I tested as borderline by the NHS questionnaire, but I have certainly had anxiety disorders over the years. They are still there today, but less strong than 2-3 years ago. I think a major contributor to mental health problems is the way as a society we sexualise love when it occurs between people who are not romantic partners or close blood relatives (the latter being protected due to the incest taboo). As this sexualisation especially affects men's friendships, it may well not be entirely coincidental that men feature disproportionately in the suicide statistics, but of course women's friendships are far from immune either. The Samaritans have noted that men tend to be very exclusively dependent on a female partner for emotional support in middle age. Certainly I have found that, even when I do succeed in overcoming these cultural barriers and forming close loving friendships, there is an invisible barrier to being openly affectionate with each other, and especially saying we love each other or touching each other in any way other than the firm handshake, stemming from the fear of being misinterpeted as sexually involved. Usually when I see pairs of male friends saying they love each other, they minimise it afterwards by laughing it off or saying "No homo", and I almost never see cross-sex friends openly admitting that they love each other. A common reaction to this, even within the NHS, is, "Why haven't you got yourself a girlfriend?". We are not a very communal society, we are a society built for couples, relying on "one true love" to meet all of your needs, and it is dangerous for many people's mental health to be so reliant on one person, especially in the event of break-ups. Then there is the pressure to "grin and bear it" as part of "being a man", and being told "That's life, lots of people have difficulty and you have to get on with it."; For me it has often been that existential sense of aloneness that gives a sense that life isn't worth living, that struggle to find anybody who really understands you, that sense of being obliged to "fit in" with others around you and just go through the motions. Good luck with your group, hope you manage to help out a lot of people, it's good to try to address the issue head-on in this way!
  10. Thundery wintry showers

    August 2008: horrific

    I spent August 2008 in Norwich and the first third of the month had a mix of dry cloudy days and brighter days with showers and sometimes thunder. There were some decent thunderstorms about, and I remember two days in a row with thunder (probably the 6th and 7th) and on the second of those days there were three separate storm cells and I watched one flashing away just to the west late in the evening. However, the middle third of the month was mostly dull with rain at times, and the dry warm last week somehow contrived to be even duller still, despite Norwich traditionally being in a good spot to see holes develop in the cloud sheet in even the cloudiest of summertime westerly flows. It did, if I remember rightly, finally brighten up late on the 31st as the wind backed southerly. According to the records from my weather station in Cleadon in Tyne and Wear that month, the month was pretty grey all the way through, with thunder on the first two days but otherwise a lot of emphasis on frontal rain, and again the dry warm last week was almost relentlessly cloudy.
  11. I was only alive for half the 1980s and the only weather memory that I can trace to a specific year was the long spell of sunny weather in 1989. For the South Tyneside area however I think the odds are that winter 1981/82, spring 1982 and summer 1989 would have come out tops at a seasonal level, and that January 1984 would have been my favourite January. For its combination of raging westerlies and frequent snow that month appears to have been without parallel in the 20th century. 1988 certainly looks like it was a mostly boring year but I might well have enjoyed the February (high sunshine total, contrasting weather types albeit not much temperature variation) and the November (cold & bright, snowy spell around the 20th). Can't identify a standout likely favourite year for the 1980s, as for instance summer and autumn 1982 and January & December 1989 look somewhat uninspiring. 1984 is another candidate (January as already mentioned, and a good April and summer) but that year had a very dull cold March with not much snow, and a rather dull wet mild autumn.
  12. Thundery wintry showers

    Summer 2018 - Moans, Ramps, Chat etc

    Other than 1997 and 2003, August 2000 was a decent month in many areas of the UK- a bit warmer, sunnier and drier than average for most. I recall that the first half was warm but cloudy, and the second half much sunnier, and the second half was also very thundery in many parts of Ireland. August 2005 was quite sunny and dry over much of England and Wales, albeit dull in northern Scotland. There was a cool first half but a warmer second half and some big thunderstorms also in places on the 31st. I was in Leeds that day and got a direct hit. I recall that in the North East August 2007 was sunny and dry, albeit rather cool at times. Also I spent August 2009 in Norwich and the second half of that month was frequently warm and sunny, though it was much duller and wetter further north and west. So at least locally there have been several Augusts that for many of us would fall in the "decent" category. One amusing quirk: in the Met Office's UK sunshine series there were only three Augusts that recorded over 200 hours of sunshine - 1947, 1976 and 1995 - and yet all three recorded over 240 hours. All three had a pretty similar synoptic situation too with high pressure stuck over the British Isles for much of the month and in a favourable position to bring mostly clear sunny weather. The implication is that if you're looking for an August in anywhere near the same league as August 1995, chances are you're going to be waiting a long time as they don't come around very often. It does have to be said though that the tendency for August to be less reliable than June or July has been exaggerated somewhat since the early 00s. I wasn't expecting August 2018 to be on a par with the three big ones, but a moderately sunny August on a par with 1989, 2003 and 2005 would have been enough to put summer 2018 up there with 1976, 1989 and 1995 as far as sunshine goes.
  13. Thundery wintry showers

    Arctic melt Season 2018

    I find it interesting that April 1995 and November 1996 stand out so much during the otherwise relatively cool 1990s, and especially as both of those months had a fairly potent spell of northerlies over the UK. November 1996 was especially remarkable as it followed an unusually cool summer which most likely contributed to the near record high Arctic sea ice minimum that year (second only to 1980). Looking over the synoptics both months appeared to have the North Pole often in a sandwich between high pressure over the east Siberian side and low pressure over the Atlantic side, sending air masses from southern and eastern Europe all the way up to the North Pole. Mid-November 1996 also had a warm incursion through the Bering/Chukchi Sea area. The main explanation why the UK nonetheless had cold northerly spells was probably that the anomalous warmth in the Arctic did not really affect the Greenland/Iceland region, and in both cases the UK's air mass was sourced from west of due north. Also July 1998 stands out a bit. Looking at the synoptic charts for that month (which was notoriously cyclonic and unsettled over much of northern Europe) there was a lot of warm continental air being sent around the northern flank of the northern European lows into high latitudes. I had always thought of 2005 as the year when the Arctic saw a step-change, but judging by those monthly rankings, it would appear that the Arctic as a whole saw a marked warming since around 2000, and the marked step-change in 2005 was probably a regional thing in the Barents/Kara region.
  14. Thundery wintry showers

    Summer 2018 - Moans, Ramps, Chat etc

    Pressure still looks like being relatively high in the south for much of the second half of August, but crucially that little bit further south than we saw in the N-S split pattern in the Augusts of 1989 and 1998. I had been envisaging a sunny August in the south and a cloudier one in the north, but the current model outputs are suggesting that southern areas will often be quite cloudy as well with a fair amount of moisture around the northern flank of the ridging Azores high. Much of the country is still on target for an exceptionally warm summer, possibly record breakingly so, but sunshine totals for the summer quarter, after the head start we had in June and July, look like falling a fair way behind 1976, 1989 and 1995. Shame really, I had been hoping that this summer would end up ranking up there with those three. The three month period May-July 2018 was the sunniest on record in many parts of the country though, beating 1989.
  15. Thundery wintry showers

    Favourite Month of the 2010s so far.

    My least favourites would be: January 2014 February 2011 March 2017 April 2012 May 2014 June 2012 July 2012 August 2011 September 2017 October 2013 November 2011 December 2015 A lot of common ground there. March was quite a tricky decision as for me all of the Marches of this decade had their moments.