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A Winter's Tale

Interesting Months For Uk Weather

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Classic months of UK Weather, I've had a look at the UK's warmest and coldest months http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/Tmean/ranked/UK.txt and the monthly reviews from Trevor Hadley http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~taharley/britweather_years.htm.

I've also been looking out for his "most interesting month" aswell.

So, if you're a super mild weather fan, then the following months would be a sheer delight for you:

January (1916). The warmest ever (7.5C CET) on record. Not surprisingly, a month of persistent southwesterlies, often stormy with frequent gales. Some high temperatures on the 6th: e.g. 17C at Rhyl; 16C at Tynemouth and York. On the night of the 21-22nd the minimum over the south was over 10C. High pressure over the south with depressions passing over the north meant that the south and east was very dry, while the west was very wet: 12mm in Lincs but 750mm in Kinlochquoich. 85mm in two days at the end of the month around Fort William and Fort Augustus. The only real frost all month was on the 23rd, and the lowest temperature all month was only -6 at Balmoral on the 28th.

February (1998). Extremely mild (7.3C CET); indeed, equal with 1990 as the mildest this century. Particularly mild in the English Midlands and central Scotland. Cold end in the north. Very dry in the south, but wet in western and northern Scotland. Parts of the southeast had the sunniest February of the century. In an exceptionally mild spell mid-month (12-15th), the new record high for February was set: 19.7C at Greenwich (London) on the 13th, and also 19.6C in Worcester. Tivington made 19.1C on the 14th, and Prestatyn 18.1C on the 15th, but high temperatures were wide-spread as a result of warm air and warm sunshine (an unusual combination for mild winter days) 13C was exceeded somewhere in the country every day from the 8th to the 20th. The high temperatures also occurred in the middle of the month.

March (1938). The second warmest of the century (9.1C CET). It was also very wet in the far NW: Kinlochquoich had a massive 252mm on the 29th. On

April (2011). The warmest April on record. The month was also very dry and sunny. The average England and Wales rainfall was just 13 mm (21% of average, making ti the driest since 2007 and the 6th driest in the last 100 years). It was drier than average in most places apart from parts of Cumbria and West Scotland; Moulton Park (Northants) had just 1 mm of rain all month. Amazingly, the temperature easily beat the remarkable April of 2007 (the warmest since 1865). It was particularly warm in the southeast, but significantly cooler at times on parts of the east coasts of England and Scotland, troubled by winds off the sea and fog and haar. The England and Wales average sunshine was 234 hours, (150% of 70-00 mean), making it the sunniest April again since 2011, with only three sunnier months in the last 100 years. Chichester saw 270 hours of sunshine. After a cool first few days, the weather became very warm and sunny in the south and east. Temperatures above 21C were widespread on Wednesday 6th, with 23.9C at Santon Downham (Suffolk), 23.7C at the Olympic Site and 23.6C recorded at St James Park, London. Nearly as high temperatures continued for a few days. The next week was quite warm too, with highs around 21, reaching 22.8C at Aboyne on the 11th. Continuing warm, with a very warm third week, particularly in the south and east. 26.3C recorded in St James Park on the 21st. The best Easter (late, Easter falling on 24 April) since at least 1984. 27.8C at Wisley on the 23rd, the hottest April day since 1949 and the highest temperature of the month. The temperature fell back a bit on Easter Sunday, the 24th, with the Solent area the hottest at 25.3C. The lowest temperature of the month was -5.4C at Lochaber, Tulloch Bridge, on the 26th; the warmest night was that of the 22nd-23rd with a minimum of 14.8C at Wych Cross, Sussex. I think I would now make this month my most interesting April on record.

May (2008). Warm everywhere; very dry in the north. Overall the CET was similar to that of the hottest in recent history, 1992. The first half of the month was very warm and sunny in the south, but then it became wetter and more unsettled, particularly in the south. However, it remained dry in the north, so for many parts of Scotland it was the driest on record. There was just 7 mm of rain at Lerwick and Fair Isle. Princetwon (Devon) in contrast saw 178 mm, most of it falling in the last week. Heavy rainfall in the SW on the 29th led to flooding in parts of Somerset, around Crewkerne and Bruton; 75 mm of rain fell in four hours. The highest temperature of the month was 27.%C at Malvern on the 11th, and the lowest minimum -6.2C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 19th. The maximum at Carter Bar (in the Borders) on the 17th was just 8.2C. There were a record-breaking 303 hours of sunshine at Fair Isle.

June (1976). Phew, "what a scorcher." The hottest, most prolonged summer on record, peaking from the 22 June to 16 July. After a unremarkable beginning to the month, with some frontal activity, an anticyclone moved in and winds turned to the south. The temperature was in the 80s on the 7th and reached 31C in the SE on the 9th. It then turned cooler and more unsttled for 10 days before the high pressure returned. A warm front then moved north-east on the 21st, ushering in the extraordinary heat, as the Azores high built, and some very hot air swept across the country. The previous dry weather facilitated some very high temperatures. From 23 June to 7 July inclusive, for 15 consecutive days, the temperature exceeded 32C (nearly good old 90F) somewhere in the country. No previous heatwave (or indeed, any since) had seen more than five consecutive days over 90F. Furthermore, five days exceeded 35C (a temperature only recorded 7 other times in the 20th century). On the 26th, 35.4C was reached at North Heath (Sussex) and East Dereham (Norfolk) - the earliest date in the century on which 35C (95F) has been exceeded. Then there was a maximum of 35.6C at Mayflower Park in Southampton on the 28 June. This is the equal record high for June. It made 35.5C there the preceding day. Fortunately, I was there! I did a summer job in a factory, and the heat was stifling. Have you tried frying eggs on the pavement? (This is apocryphal. According to my copy of Mcgee's On Food and Cooking you need to reach 70C to cook egg white - and according to my weather newsgroup chums tarmac starts to melt at 50C! Stories abound about attempts to make it look like eggs are fying on pavements "assisted by" meths.) Southampton is favoured in hot spells with a NE breeze because it is sheltered from the wind. Please let's have another summer like this one ... The skies were largely cloud free, and the humidity was very low. Needless to say, at the peak of the "Great Drought", it was very dry, although there was a prolonged downpour on the 19th (a Saturday) in the south of England (preventing play in the test match against the West Indies on the Saturday), as a waving cold front gave 25 mm of rain in places. The month overall was the warmest June of the century in England and Wales (16.5C CET). Of course, this must be the June month of the century for weather.

July (2006). The hottest and sunniest month on record (19.7C CET), in both England and Scotland. It was particularly warm across the east and noth (in fact July 1983 was hotter along the south coast and in the west country). Scotland also had its hottest month on record. Shanklin and Eastbourne saw 343 hours of sunshine. On average there as more than 50% sunshine than average (263 hours in England and Wales). There was a heatwave at the start; some violent thunderstorms, particularly in the NW, on the 2nd, as it reaches 32C in London (Heathrow). There was severe flooding in west Yorkshire following the storms. 82 mm of rain fell in a storm at Yare (Glocs.) on the 5-6th. After a cooler spell, the sunshine and heat returned, with a new high temperature of the year, 32.7C, at London Heathrow on the 17th. This didn't last long: on the 19th a new July record maximum is set, beating the previous record of 1911, with 36.5 at Wisley (Surrey) and 36.3C near Gatwick Airport in Sussex. It even reaches 30.5C at Prestiwck in Scotland, and 34.2 (Penhow, Newport) was a new Welsh July record. 30C was reached somewhere in the country on every day from the 16th to the 27th apart from the 23rd. After cooling down slightly, the heat returned, with 34C being recorded at Charlwood (Surrey) on the 25th. There were thunderstorms after the 19th. There were some humid and thundery spells throughout the month.

August (1995). A splendid month. The hottest (19.2C CET) and sunniest August on record, and very dry (many parts of the south-east being rainless - England and Wales had only 10% of the average - hence on average the driest on record, with 9.1 mm or 11%). For a week from the 15th 31C was reached somewhere in the country. Some spectacular thunderstorms at the start of the month: 85 mm of rain at Cardiff on the 2nd, with a gust of wind of 57 mph, and 81 mm at Burnham-on-Sea. The highest temperature of the month was on the 1st, with 35.2C at Boxworth (Cambs.) and 34.9C at Kew.

September (2006). There are now two CET series, using different means of computing the averages. According to the Met Office series, September, at 16.8C, was the warmest on record. According to the more conservative series maintained by Philip Eden, at 16.6C it was the equal warmest on record (with 1729) - and warmer than August. A very southerly month. Very dry, sunny, and warm until the 21st, particularly in the south and east until the 21st, more unsettled after that. After an unsettled first week and it became drier and warmer. It reached 28C at Margate on the 6th - the highest temperature anywhere in the UK since 6 August. As the heat continued to build, it reached 30.2C at Heathrow on the 11th. The heat triggered a few violent storms in the south and Midlands. Some severe weather around on the 14th, with thunderstorms and several small tornadoes in northern Britain. It reached 29.0C at Sutton Bonington (East Midlads) on the 21st, the latest temperature so late in the year since 1985. Overall quite sunny and dry, but the last ten days stopped it from being exceptionally so.

October (2001). What a month! With a CET of 13.3C, easily the warmest ever recorded! Goodbye 1969. In some places, October was warmer than September 2001. Unusually for a very warm month, it was generally duller than average in many places, although quite sunny in eastern and northwestern England and Wales. It was also wet (60% above the England and Wales average) - but nowhere near as wet as October 2000. The month had a violently disturbed start, with gales, heavy rain, and thunder. There was some heavy rain, flash floods, hail, and strong winds on the 1st and 2nd. The 6th was a lively day. A tornado swept through the Norfolk Broads, damaging roofs in the villages of Repps-with-Bastwick and Potter Heigham, and uprooting trees and electricity poles, and generating a waterspout on the River Thurne. A large waterspout was spotted off the Suffolk coast near Sizewell. On the same day 7 mm hail fell on Leicester, as thunderstorms and sharp showers crossed Britain. On the 7th there were more gales and heavy rain: 28.6 mm fell at Hurn in one hour early in the afternoon. There was flooding in Sussex and Kent on the 7th. Mild midmonth, with temperatures exceeding 21C, including 25.3C at Herne Bay in Kent on the 13th. Some very wet weather affected eastern districts on the weekend of the 20-21st: there was flooding in the West Midlands and North Wales, and then 82.2 mm fell at Cambridge on the 21st, leading to localised flooding in the Fens. On the 24th another tornado damaged the roofs of houses and overturned lorries at Westbury (Wilts.). It was very warm at the end: 20C at Hawarden and 21C at Guernsey on the 30th. Nowhere in the country reported an air frost this month - this has never happened before. Indeed, with such a SW/w month, nighttime minima were particularly high.

November (1994). The warmest ever recorded (10.1), by some way. 19.1C in London on the 3rd. Very dry in the second half, but dull in the south.

December (1934). The warmest this century (8.1). At Falmouth the the lowest temperature was 5C; at Wick, the average was close to that of the typical May.

Now, if you're a super cold weather fan, here would be a dream year:

January (1963). The coldest month this century (-2.1C CET), the fifth coldest month ever, and part of the Big Freeze. Indeed, this was the coldest month since 1814. There as not a single westerly or southwesterly day in sight: there were 20 easterly days (with the rest calm or northerly). Much of England and Wales was snow-covered throughout. A notable snowstorm occurred on the 3-4th in the Southwest and Welsh Borders, with drifts up to 5 m deep, and 10-20 cm of fresh level snow in places; the snow was accompanied by a strong wind. The easterly winds lessened for a while in the second week, and there were some very low temperatures. The minimum was -19.4C at Achany (Sutherland) on the 11th. Shawbury had a maximum of -7C on the 12th. -16C was recorded at Gatwick and Eskdalemuir on the 13th, with freezing fog. It was slightly less cold midmonth, as winds turned slightly more northerly; however, many places still managed to stay beneath freezing from the 14-15th. Winds turned easterly again on the 17th for the most severe week of the winter. There was a minimum of -22.2C at Braemar on the 18th: this was the lowest minimum of the winter. There was another notable blizzard on the 19-20th, particularly affecting the southeast, with widespread maxima of -5C in the south. There was freezing rain in places on the 20th. In this spell, the highest hourly mean wind speed records were set (99 mph, at Great Dun Fell, Cumbria, on the 15th, and Lowther Hill, Scotland, on the 20th). The lowest minimum reported in England was -20.6C at Hereford on the 23rd; also -20.6C at Stanstead Abbotts (Herts.), early on the 23rd, and then a maximum of only -8C at Ross-on-Wye the next day. There was a snowdrift 25' deep on Dartmoor on the 21st. There was much freezing fog on the 24th. For the first time since 1947, there was pack ice on large estuaries such as the Solent, Mersey, and Humber. Many places in the SE stayed beneath freezing from the 16-25th. At Eastbourne the sea was reported as frozen to an extent of 100' offshore for a length of 2 miles. The weather turned less cold on the 26th, with some places having the first frost-free night of the month. Pressure of 1048 mbar in Scotland on the 27th. Winter as a whole was the wost since 1739-40. One consequence of the prevailing easterlies was that some sheltered westerly locations were very sunny: St Mawgan (Cornwall) reached 114.4 hours (a record). Also some westerly spots were extremely dry. See also December 1962 and February 1963. Hence I rate this the most interesting January of the century.

February (1947). The coldest February ever (-1.9C CET), the second coldest month this century (after January 1963), and the coldest month since January 1814. Many places in England were beneath zero from the 11th to the 23rd; Greenwich registered 14 consecutive days beneath zero. At Oxford frost began at 6 pm on the 10th and continued until 6 am on the 26th. The record low average was mainly determined by the very low maxima. Low minima were not outstanding because of the extensive cloud cover until clearer skies at the end of the month, when -21C was recorded at Wolburn on the 25th. It was a persistent easterly month of the sort that weather people long for: large amounts of snow in the east (e.g. 1.35 m of snow lay at Forrest-in-Teesdale (Durham) on the 18th. It was also very dull. There was no sunshine at Kew at all from the 2-22nd inclusive, and only 17 hours of sunshine in total (compared with the average of 61). A side-effect of the easterlies was that the Scottish Highlands had no rain this month, for the first time in recorded history, where it was also very sunny. It was, of course, also snowy, with snowstorms particularly affecting the south, midlands, and east. There was a major snowstorm on the 25-26th. It was also quite a windy month. Buxton had 30 consecutive days of frost. At Kew the maximum temperature of the month was 5C. Hence I vote this to be the most interesting February of the century.

March (1962). The coldest of the century. At least it was however often dry and sunny.

April (1917). The coolest April on record (5.4). -15.0C, on the morning of the 2nd, at Newton Rigg in Cumbria is a record minimum. -14.4C was also recorded at Eskdalemuir the same night. There was also a notable snowfall. The first half of the month was particularly bad, with a particularly heavy snowfall in the west (particularly W Scotland and Ireland) on the 1st-2nd. -13.3C at Braemar on the 11th. The weather improved from the 19th, although there was more snow late in the month.

May (1923). A curious month; after a very warm start (28C at Norwich and London on the 4th and at Canterbury on the 5th) it turned out to be a very cold month, with snow midmonth. In the end it was the coldest May of the century in Scotland, and the second coldest in England and Wales.

June (1972). Very cold; the temperature never exceeded 23C. Equal coldest of the century (11.8). Wet as well. Northern Ireland recorded the lowest temperature of the month, with -1.2C.

July (1922). The coldest of the twentieth century (13.7C CET). Also very wet in places, particularly the south; there was a total of 185 mm of rain in Norwich. It was windy at the start of the month. There was a wet start to the month, with 62 mm of rainfalling at Newbury being the heaviest fall in heavy rain that affected the south. 69 mm of rain fell at Norwich on the 15th alone. 74 mm of rain fell at Coventry on the 22nd. A dull month too; yuk.

August (1912). The wettest (average 183 mm, 231%), dullest, and the coldest (12.9C CET) of the century. This is the only month which holds all three worst records, so it is without doubt the worst summer month on record. London only had one day over 21C, but Birmingham and Manchester had nothing higher than 19C. It didn't make 16C at all in Aberdeen. There was local frost on the 3rd. Some places had 250% of the normal rainfall. There were many days with over 25 mm of rain and maxima beneath 16C. On the 26th a deepening depression brough severe weather to East Anglia, resulting in the Great Norfolk Flood. There were 206 mm at Brundall, and 186 mm of rain at Norwich, with the rain continuing for 30 hours from the 26th into the 27th. The pressure at Great Yarmouth was 978 mbars. 100 mm of rain was widespread over Norfolk and Suffolk, with a westerly gale. The worst flooding caused by rain in East Anglia on record. Norwich was cut off for two days, with over 40 bridges destroyed, with flooding 15' deep in places. Three people drowned, an one particular variety of Norwich canary was lost. Much of the Fens stayed under water through the following winter. Widespread gales midmonth. It was not surprisingly an extremely dull month, with an average of just 94 hours. The highest temperature recorded all month was under 23C (73F) at Welshpool on the 4th.

September (1952). The coldest of the century (10.7C CET), with some notable cold days. At Oxford it was the coldest since records began in 1815. It was cold over much of Europe. There was snow in northern and central Scotland, with it lying on high ground. It was particularly frosty in the middle of the month. -3C was recorded in East Anglia and the Midlands on the 19th and 20th. There were 14 days of ground frost at Thetford. The 7th was the coldest day, with temperatures of less than 10C widespread across the south: at Whipsnade the temperature was only 8.3C. It was twice as wet as average in NE England, but Perthshire and Angus had less than an inch of rain.

October (1917). Cold, stormy and wet the coldest of the century in Scotland. Snow in the north. There was snow in northern Ireland on the 26th. In spite of the overall cold (7.5C CET, nearly as cold as 1919), there was a warm start, with 24C at Southend on the 2nd.

November (1919). A very cold month (3.3), with frequent north-easterlies. A severe gale off Kent right at the beginning of the month (1st and 2nd.). Parts of the southeast had no sun at all in the first ten days. The first ten days were generally cold with some night frosts, with easterly winds. It was however the cold spell midmonth, with heavy snowfalls and sharp frosts, that was particularly noticeable. This was an extraordinary cold snap that would rank as one of the major winter events of the century; that it had happened in mid-November makes it even more extraordinary. The cold spell really set in on the 11th as the winds gturned to the north. There were snow showers in eastern Scotland from 8th to 10th, but lat e on the 11th it snowed heavily across Scotland, leading to many villages being cut off. There was a foot of snow on Dartmoor, 17" at Balmoral, and 8" at Edinburgh. A record low minimum of -23.3C was set at Braemar on the 14th, and -21.7C at Perth (hurrah!). This was the lowest reading of the year, and is the earliest date on which such a low temperature has occurred. It was also down to -21.1C at West Linton and Balmoral on the 14th; the maximum on the 14th at Balmoral was only -10,and -12C on the 15th. The next night, the temperature fell to -2 -22.8 on the morning of the 15th. Snow lay at Braemar to a depth of 42 cm; it lay from the 11th until the end of the month. The lowest maximum on the 14th in England was -2.7C near Carlisle, and the lowest minimum in England in this cold spell was -12.8C at Scaleby (also Cumberland) on the 16th. A snowstorm on the night of the 11/12th gave heavy falls across the country - e.g. 12 inches on Dartmoor. This would be an exceptional cold spell in the depth of winter, yet alone in autumn. For this reason I rate this as the most interesting November of the century. The month generally turned milder at the end, although snow cover persisted at Braemar and Balmoral through the month into early December.

December (2010). An amazing month: exceptionally cold, with a CET of -0.7C. This month was the coldest December since 1890, the coldest month of any since 1986, and the first time the month's average CET (Central England Temperature) was beneath zero since 1986. The exceptionally cold weather continued from the end of November with more heavy snow in the east and south right from the start of the month. The lowest minimum of the month was -21.1C at Altnaharra on the 1st. The lowest maximum of the month, -15.8C, was also recorded at Altnaharra, on the 22nd. After a very cold first ten days the weather turned slightly milder for a while until extremely cold air swept south across the country on the 16th. The air arrived with more snow, and was then followed by some extremely low daytime and night-time temperatures. A new all-time record minimum was set twice in the month in Northern Ireland, with -18.6C at Castlederg on the morning of the 23rd. (The temperature then in fog fell to -18.7C just after 9, so the record is offically accredited to the 24th.) Other very low temperatures included -18.7C at Pershore on the 20th following a maximum of -8.2C on the 19th, -19.6C at Shawbury on the 19th, and -19.4C at Altnaharra on the 22nd. There were some very low daytime maxima too, including -11.0C at Castlederg on the 18th, -11.3C at Edenfel, Omagh, and -8.2C at Pershore on the 19th. Ten nights during the month the temperature dropped beneath -18C (OF) somewhere in the UK. It was a White Christmas in the sense of widespread lying snow, with some snow showers in the east. The temperature Christmas night at Pershore fell to -16.2C, and only rose to a maximum of -6.4C on Boxing Day. This is the first time there have been two consecutive white Christmases since reliable records began. It became slightly warmer, particularly in the south, from the 28th. The highest temperature of the month was 11.5C at St Mary's (Scilly) on the 28th. The thaw led to widespread bursting of pipes, particularly in parts of Northern Ireland where serious water shortages ensued. It was a dry month, with just 39.4 mm averaged overall England and Wales (39& of the long-term average), making it the driest December since 1991. Both Scotland (47%) and Northern Ireland (60%) were very dry. Shap in Cumbria, often one of the wettest places in Britain, saw just 7 mm of rain all month. Sunshine was variable. It was very sunny in the west and north, with Scotland averaging 176% with 58 hours and Northern Ireland 61.5 hours being 173%; England and Wales averaged 55 hours (116%). Sunshine totals ranged from 91 hours at Auchincruive in Ayrshire to just 10 hours at Charlwood in Surrey. Some places in the SE, such as south Essex, saw virtually no sunshine in the final two weeks. Many places in Britain had snow lying all month; indeed many locations (including my own station in east Scotland) had snow lying from 25th November through into the New Year. (I am particularly grateful to Philip Eden for supplying extra detail for this historic month.)

So, what would be the most interesting year?

January (1963). The coldest month this century (-2.1C CET), the fifth coldest month ever, and part of the Big Freeze. Indeed, this was the coldest month since 1814. There as not a single westerly or southwesterly day in sight: there were 20 easterly days (with the rest calm or northerly). Much of England and Wales was snow-covered throughout. A notable snowstorm occurred on the 3-4th in the Southwest and Welsh Borders, with drifts up to 5 m deep, and 10-20 cm of fresh level snow in places; the snow was accompanied by a strong wind. The easterly winds lessened for a while in the second week, and there were some very low temperatures. The minimum was -19.4C at Achany (Sutherland) on the 11th. Shawbury had a maximum of -7C on the 12th. -16C was recorded at Gatwick and Eskdalemuir on the 13th, with freezing fog. It was slightly less cold midmonth, as winds turned slightly more northerly; however, many places still managed to stay beneath freezing from the 14-15th. Winds turned easterly again on the 17th for the most severe week of the winter. There was a minimum of -22.2C at Braemar on the 18th: this was the lowest minimum of the winter. There was another notable blizzard on the 19-20th, particularly affecting the southeast, with widespread maxima of -5C in the south. There was freezing rain in places on the 20th. In this spell, the highest hourly mean wind speed records were set (99 mph, at Great Dun Fell, Cumbria, on the 15th, and Lowther Hill, Scotland, on the 20th). The lowest minimum reported in England was -20.6C at Hereford on the 23rd; also -20.6C at Stanstead Abbotts (Herts.), early on the 23rd, and then a maximum of only -8C at Ross-on-Wye the next day. There was a snowdrift 25' deep on Dartmoor on the 21st. There was much freezing fog on the 24th. For the first time since 1947, there was pack ice on large estuaries such as the Solent, Mersey, and Humber. Many places in the SE stayed beneath freezing from the 16-25th. At Eastbourne the sea was reported as frozen to an extent of 100' offshore for a length of 2 miles. The weather turned less cold on the 26th, with some places having the first frost-free night of the month. Pressure of 1048 mbar in Scotland on the 27th. Winter as a whole was the wost since 1739-40. One consequence of the prevailing easterlies was that some sheltered westerly locations were very sunny: St Mawgan (Cornwall) reached 114.4 hours (a record). Also some westerly spots were extremely dry. See also December 1962 and February 1963. Hence I rate this the most interesting January of the century.

February (1947). The coldest February ever (-1.9C CET), the second coldest month this century (after January 1963), and the coldest month since January 1814. Many places in England were beneath zero from the 11th to the 23rd; Greenwich registered 14 consecutive days beneath zero. At Oxford frost began at 6 pm on the 10th and continued until 6 am on the 26th. The record low average was mainly determined by the very low maxima. Low minima were not outstanding because of the extensive cloud cover until clearer skies at the end of the month, when -21C was recorded at Wolburn on the 25th. It was a persistent easterly month of the sort that weather people long for: large amounts of snow in the east (e.g. 1.35 m of snow lay at Forrest-in-Teesdale (Durham) on the 18th. It was also very dull. There was no sunshine at Kew at all from the 2-22nd inclusive, and only 17 hours of sunshine in total (compared with the average of 61). A side-effect of the easterlies was that the Scottish Highlands had no rain this month, for the first time in recorded history, where it was also very sunny. It was, of course, also snowy, with snowstorms particularly affecting the south, midlands, and east. There was a major snowstorm on the 25-26th. It was also quite a windy month. Buxton had 30 consecutive days of frost. At Kew the maximum temperature of the month was 5C. Hence I vote this to be the most interesting February of the century.

March (1947). The severe winter continued into the first half of the month. There were some very low temperatures -21.1C at Haughall, Durham, Peebles, and Braemar, on the 4th; widespread flooding after a rapid thaw of the famous winter; ice storms, blizzards, heavy rainfall, and on average the wettest March on record (177mm , which was 300% of average). Heavy snowfall over England and Wales on the 4th and 5th, including several cms in the London area, caused more disruption. There were more readings of -20C on the 8th, including -21.1C at Braemar. Much of the country was covered in snow for the first part of the month, with drifts up to 5 m deep on the Pennines, and even up to 3 m at Whipsnade on the 9th. Warm air and heavy rain started to move in on the 10th. This led at first to a great snowstorm in Scotland on the 12-13th. 85 kn was recorded at Mildenhall, and a mean windspeed of 38 kn at Edgbaston, both in a severe SW gale on the 16th that affected south Wales and the south of England in one of the worst March storms of recent times. Flooding was particularly severe in the east, particularly the Fen country. More heavy sleet in Sussex on the 28th, as temperatures fell again at the end of the month. It was the coldest month of the century in Scotland, and the wettest of the century in England and Wales (177.5 mm, 292% - the highest percentage, too). Clearly this must be the most interesting March for weather of the century!

April (2011). The warmest April on record. The month was also very dry and sunny. The average England and Wales rainfall was just 13 mm (21% of average, making ti the driest since 2007 and the 6th driest in the last 100 years). It was drier than average in most places apart from parts of Cumbria and West Scotland; Moulton Park (Northants) had just 1 mm of rain all month. Amazingly, the temperature easily beat the remarkable April of 2007 (the warmest since 1865). It was particularly warm in the southeast, but significantly cooler at times on parts of the east coasts of England and Scotland, troubled by winds off the sea and fog and haar. The England and Wales average sunshine was 234 hours, (150% of 70-00 mean), making it the sunniest April again since 2011, with only three sunnier months in the last 100 years. Chichester saw 270 hours of sunshine. After a cool first few days, the weather became very warm and sunny in the south and east. Temperatures above 21C were widespread on Wednesday 6th, with 23.9C at Santon Downham (Suffolk), 23.7C at the Olympic Site and 23.6C recorded at St James Park, London. Nearly as high temperatures continued for a few days. The next week was quite warm too, with highs around 21, reaching 22.8C at Aboyne on the 11th. Continuing warm, with a very warm third week, particularly in the south and east. 26.3C recorded in St James Park on the 21st. The best Easter (late, Easter falling on 24 April) since at least 1984. 27.8C at Wisley on the 23rd, the hottest April day since 1949 and the highest temperature of the month. The temperature fell back a bit on Easter Sunday, the 24th, with the Solent area the hottest at 25.3C. The lowest temperature of the month was -5.4C at Lochaber, Tulloch Bridge, on the 26th; the warmest night was that of the 22nd-23rd with a minimum of 14.8C at Wych Cross, Sussex. I think I would now make this month my most interesting April on record.

May (1992). The warmest May of the century (13.6) and the warmest since 1833. Sunny, but with violent thunderstorms at the end. 29C in Edinburgh on the 14th. Torrential rain in the Bristol area on the 23rd; about 24.3mm in an hour and a quarter, 17.5mm in just 10 minutes, with large joined hailstones (each piece about 9mm in diameter), and flooding in the Bath area. Large hailstones caused widespread crop damage in west Essex on the 26th. 100m of rain in parts, with severe flooding in Chorleywood and Rickmansworth, with landslips. A warm and thundery late spring Bank Holiday at the end: 27.0C at Southampton on the Saturday, 27.3C at Heathrow on the Sunday, and cumulating in 28.2C at Norwich on the Monday. This gets my vote as the most interesting May for weather of the century.

June (1976). Phew, "what a scorcher." The hottest, most prolonged summer on record, peaking from the 22 June to 16 July. After a unremarkable beginning to the month, with some frontal activity, an anticyclone moved in and winds turned to the south. The temperature was in the 80s on the 7th and reached 31C in the SE on the 9th. It then turned cooler and more unsttled for 10 days before the high pressure returned. A warm front then moved north-east on the 21st, ushering in the extraordinary heat, as the Azores high built, and some very hot air swept across the country. The previous dry weather facilitated some very high temperatures. From 23 June to 7 July inclusive, for 15 consecutive days, the temperature exceeded 32C (nearly good old 90F) somewhere in the country. No previous heatwave (or indeed, any since) had seen more than five consecutive days over 90F. Furthermore, five days exceeded 35C (a temperature only recorded 7 other times in the 20th century). On the 26th, 35.4C was reached at North Heath (Sussex) and East Dereham (Norfolk) - the earliest date in the century on which 35C (95F) has been exceeded. Then there was a maximum of 35.6C at Mayflower Park in Southampton on the 28 June. This is the equal record high for June. It made 35.5C there the preceding day. Fortunately, I was there! I did a summer job in a factory, and the heat was stifling. Have you tried frying eggs on the pavement? (This is apocryphal. According to my copy of Mcgee's On Food and Cooking you need to reach 70C to cook egg white - and according to my weather newsgroup chums tarmac starts to melt at 50C! Stories abound about attempts to make it look like eggs are fying on pavements "assisted by" meths.) Southampton is favoured in hot spells with a NE breeze because it is sheltered from the wind. Please let's have another summer like this one ... The skies were largely cloud free, and the humidity was very low. Needless to say, at the peak of the "Great Drought", it was very dry, although there was a prolonged downpour on the 19th (a Saturday) in the south of England (preventing play in the test match against the West Indies on the Saturday), as a waving cold front gave 25 mm of rain in places. The month overall was the warmest June of the century in England and Wales (16.5C CET). Of course, this must be the June month of the century for weather.

July (1983). The hottest of the century (19.5C), and indeed the hottest month since records began. Also mostly dry and sunny, but with some severe thunderstorms. A ridge of high pressure extended from the Azores as the month started. The temperature reached the magic 32C somewhere in the country every day from the 12-16th, and the average daily maximum at Heathrow in the month was 27.6. There were 17 consecutive days above 27C (80F) somewhere in the country between the 3rd and 19th, and 22 days above 27C in total; the temperature exceeded 21C somewhere in the country every day but one. The highest temperature of the month was 33.7C at Liphook (Hants.) on the 16th (although this might be a high reading, with 33.0 at Hampton on the 15th and East Bergholt in Suffolk on the 16th being more reliable). A possible record high of 31.2C for Northern Ireland was set at Downpatrick (Co. Down) on the 14th; a more definite 30.8C was recorded at Belfast on the 12th (the equal confirmeed highest for the region). Cardiff recorded its highest ever temperature, of 33.1C, on the 13th. Even Coatbridge in Scotland reached 31.5C on the 12rh. It was also very humid. Some cool mist on North Sea coasts with NE winds; but the east coast improved later in the month as winds became more westerly. Thunderstorms on the 6th and 16-17th. Lightning deaths on the 6th; 95 mm of rain at Sevenoaks and 81mm at Croydon. More lightning deaths in the storms of the 16-17th. 68mm of rain in 45 minutes at Cromer. Severe hailstorms. Flooding in the Pennines. A cold front moved south on the 18th, bringing more normal temperatures to the south for a few days before pressure built again. Penzance was flooded in the 22nd. 70mm of rain in one hour in Dumfries and Galloway led to flooding there. It was very warm again at the end, with 32C at Skegness and Liphook on the 29th. More widespread thunder on the 31st. The heatwave almost exactly coincided with the calendar month. This was my summer of love, and I remember being able to sit out in the sun in the parks of Dundee. Hence I make this the most interesting July for weather of the century.

Can't find anything for August, September, October, November.

December (2010). An amazing month: exceptionally cold, with a CET of -0.7C. This month was the coldest December since 1890, the coldest month of any since 1986, and the first time the month's average CET (Central England Temperature) was beneath zero since 1986. The exceptionally cold weather continued from the end of November with more heavy snow in the east and south right from the start of the month. The lowest minimum of the month was -21.1C at Altnaharra on the 1st. The lowest maximum of the month, -15.8C, was also recorded at Altnaharra, on the 22nd. After a very cold first ten days the weather turned slightly milder for a while until extremely cold air swept south across the country on the 16th. The air arrived with more snow, and was then followed by some extremely low daytime and night-time temperatures. A new all-time record minimum was set twice in the month in Northern Ireland, with -18.6C at Castlederg on the morning of the 23rd. (The temperature then in fog fell to -18.7C just after 9, so the record is offically accredited to the 24th.) Other very low temperatures included -18.7C at Pershore on the 20th following a maximum of -8.2C on the 19th, -19.6C at Shawbury on the 19th, and -19.4C at Altnaharra on the 22nd. There were some very low daytime maxima too, including -11.0C at Castlederg on the 18th, -11.3C at Edenfel, Omagh, and -8.2C at Pershore on the 19th. Ten nights during the month the temperature dropped beneath -18C (OF) somewhere in the UK. It was a White Christmas in the sense of widespread lying snow, with some snow showers in the east. The temperature Christmas night at Pershore fell to -16.2C, and only rose to a maximum of -6.4C on Boxing Day. This is the first time there have been two consecutive white Christmases since reliable records began. It became slightly warmer, particularly in the south, from the 28th. The highest temperature of the month was 11.5C at St Mary's (Scilly) on the 28th. The thaw led to widespread bursting of pipes, particularly in parts of Northern Ireland where serious water shortages ensued. It was a dry month, with just 39.4 mm averaged overall England and Wales (39& of the long-term average), making it the driest December since 1991. Both Scotland (47%) and Northern Ireland (60%) were very dry. Shap in Cumbria, often one of the wettest places in Britain, saw just 7 mm of rain all month. Sunshine was variable. It was very sunny in the west and north, with Scotland averaging 176% with 58 hours and Northern Ireland 61.5 hours being 173%; England and Wales averaged 55 hours (116%). Sunshine totals ranged from 91 hours at Auchincruive in Ayrshire to just 10 hours at Charlwood in Surrey. Some places in the SE, such as south Essex, saw virtually no sunshine in the final two weeks. Many places in Britain had snow lying all month; indeed many locations (including my own station in east Scotland) had snow lying from 25th November through into the New Year. (I am particularly grateful to Philip Eden for supplying extra detail for this historic month.)

Despite December 2010 not mentioning most interesting, you can tell that this historic month is the most interesting.

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I would argue that April 2011 wasn't that interesting. Very unusual, yes, but there was little variation, so it was actually quite boring. Similarly, June 1976 was amazing, but I'd say a warm, thundery June like 2005 would be more 'interesting'.

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Posted · Hidden by A Winter's Tale, February 26, 2012 - No reason given
Hidden by A Winter's Tale, February 26, 2012 - No reason given

My Most Interesting Months would be:

January (1940). The coldest month of any kind since 1895 (-1.4C CET), and eventually he second coldest January of the century (after 1963). The month started with a northerly airstream, but early in the month the winds turned to the east, bringing very cold continental air. It was clear and sunny, with hard frosts at night and several frost days. There was a severe blizzard on the 16th. On the 17th, the Thames was frozen over for the first time since 1880. The morning of the 21st gave the lowest temperature of the month: -23C was recorded at Rhayader (Wales), with many places continuously well beneath freezing (e.g. only -4C maximum at Boscombe Down, Wilts.). There were heavy snowfalls in Scotland, with many places cut off. By the third week the Atlantic westerlies tried to return, bringing some heavy snowfalls. Most remarkably, there was a great snow and Ice Storm during the 27-30th, peaking on the 28th, but continuing in parts into February. Mild air approaching behind warm fronts from the SW met the cold easterly all the way from Russia. There was heavy snow over the north; four feet of snow in Sheffield on the 26th, and 10' drifts reported in Bolton on the 29th. Further south the lower air was warming up and was too warm for snow, but the rain froze as it fell, coating everything with a thick layer of glaze. The effects of the freezing rain was one of the most extreme weather events of the century. The south was particularly badly affected. Everything was coated in a thick layer of ice: phone wires 1.5 mm thick were coated with a 300mm diameter sheath of ice - up to 15 times their weight. Many large tree trunks and power lines were brought down. The area affected by the glaze reached from Kent to Exmoor and the Cotswolds, and from Sussex to Cambridgeshire and the north Midlands. It was a week before all the ice thawed; some places had snow on top of the glaze, with both remaining until the 4th February. Heavy snow and a violent gale swept the southwest.

February (1947). The coldest February ever (-1.9C CET), the second coldest month this century (after January 1963), and the coldest month since January 1814. Many places in England were beneath zero from the 11th to the 23rd; Greenwich registered 14 consecutive days beneath zero. At Oxford frost began at 6 pm on the 10th and continued until 6 am on the 26th. The record low average was mainly determined by the very low maxima. Low minima were not outstanding because of the extensive cloud cover until clearer skies at the end of the month, when -21C was recorded at Wolburn on the 25th. It was a persistent easterly month of the sort that weather people long for: large amounts of snow in the east (e.g. 1.35 m of snow lay at Forrest-in-Teesdale (Durham) on the 18th. It was also very dull. There was no sunshine at Kew at all from the 2-22nd inclusive, and only 17 hours of sunshine in total (compared with the average of 61). A side-effect of the easterlies was that the Scottish Highlands had no rain this month, for the first time in recorded history, where it was also very sunny. It was, of course, also snowy, with snowstorms particularly affecting the south, midlands, and east. There was a major snowstorm on the 25-26th. It was also quite a windy month. Buxton had 30 consecutive days of frost. At Kew the maximum temperature of the month was 5C. Hence I vote this to be the most interesting February of the century.

March. The severe winter continued into the first half of the month. There were some very low temperatures -21.1C at Haughall, Durham, Peebles, and Braemar, on the 4th; widespread flooding after a rapid thaw of the famous winter; ice storms, blizzards, heavy rainfall, and on average the wettest March on record (177mm , which was 300% of average). Heavy snowfall over England and Wales on the 4th and 5th, including several cms in the London area, caused more disruption. There were more readings of -20C on the 8th, including -21.1C at Braemar. Much of the country was covered in snow for the first part of the month, with drifts up to 5 m deep on the Pennines, and even up to 3 m at Whipsnade on the 9th. Warm air and heavy rain started to move in on the 10th. This led at first to a great snowstorm in Scotland on the 12-13th. 85 kn was recorded at Mildenhall, and a mean windspeed of 38 kn at Edgbaston, both in a severe SW gale on the 16th that affected south Wales and the south of England in one of the worst March storms of recent times. Flooding was particularly severe in the east, particularly the Fen country. More heavy sleet in Sussex on the 28th, as temperatures fell again at the end of the month. It was the coldest month of the century in Scotland, and the wettest of the century in England and Wales (177.5 mm, 292% - the highest percentage, too). Clearly this must be the most interesting March for weather of the century!

April (2011). The warmest April on record. The month was also very dry and sunny. The average England and Wales rainfall was just 13 mm (21% of average, making ti the driest since 2007 and the 6th driest in the last 100 years). It was drier than average in most places apart from parts of Cumbria and West Scotland; Moulton Park (Northants) had just 1 mm of rain all month. Amazingly, the temperature easily beat the remarkable April of 2007 (the warmest since 1865). It was particularly warm in the southeast, but significantly cooler at times on parts of the east coasts of England and Scotland, troubled by winds off the sea and fog and haar. The England and Wales average sunshine was 234 hours, (150% of 70-00 mean), making it the sunniest April again since 2011, with only three sunnier months in the last 100 years. Chichester saw 270 hours of sunshine. After a cool first few days, the weather became very warm and sunny in the south and east. Temperatures above 21C were widespread on Wednesday 6th, with 23.9C at Santon Downham (Suffolk), 23.7C at the Olympic Site and 23.6C recorded at St James Park, London. Nearly as high temperatures continued for a few days. The next week was quite warm too, with highs around 21, reaching 22.8C at Aboyne on the 11th. Continuing warm, with a very warm third week, particularly in the south and east. 26.3C recorded in St James Park on the 21st. The best Easter (late, Easter falling on 24 April) since at least 1984. 27.8C at Wisley on the 23rd, the hottest April day since 1949 and the highest temperature of the month. The temperature fell back a bit on Easter Sunday, the 24th, with the Solent area the hottest at 25.3C. The lowest temperature of the month was -5.4C at Lochaber, Tulloch Bridge, on the 26th; the warmest night was that of the 22nd-23rd with a minimum of 14.8C at Wych Cross, Sussex. I think I would now make this month my most interesting April on record.

May (2008). Warm everywhere; very dry in the north. Overall the CET was similar to that of the hottest in recent history, 1992. The first half of the month was very warm and sunny in the south, but then it became wetter and more unsettled, particularly in the south. However, it remained dry in the north, so for many parts of Scotland it was the driest on record. There was just 7 mm of rain at Lerwick and Fair Isle. Princetwon (Devon) in contrast saw 178 mm, most of it falling in the last week. Heavy rainfall in the SW on the 29th led to flooding in parts of Somerset, around Crewkerne and Bruton; 75 mm of rain fell in four hours. The highest temperature of the month was 27.%C at Malvern on the 11th, and the lowest minimum -6.2C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 19th. The maximum at Carter Bar (in the Borders) on the 17th was just 8.2C. There were a record-breaking 303 hours of sunshine at Fair Isle.

June (1940). The warmest June of the century in Scotland, and at 16.4C the second warmest of the century over England and Wales. The month started warm, following on from a fine May. It was hottest in the first ten days of the month, peaking at 33C at Cranwell (Lincs.) on the 9th. Very sunny and dry, but less settled in the second half. Indeed, Boscombe Down (Wilts.) only made 13C on the 23rd. Mountstewart, Co. Down in Northern Ireland, had 298 hours of sunshine, the record highest monthly sunshine total for Northern Ireland.

July (2006). The hottest and sunniest month on record (19.7C CET), in both England and Scotland. It was particularly warm across the east and noth (in fact July 1983 was hotter along the south coast and in the west country). Scotland also had its hottest month on record. Shanklin and Eastbourne saw 343 hours of sunshine. On average there as more than 50% sunshine than average (263 hours in England and Wales). There was a heatwave at the start; some violent thunderstorms, particularly in the NW, on the 2nd, as it reaches 32C in London (Heathrow). There was severe flooding in west Yorkshire following the storms. 82 mm of rain fell in a storm at Yare (Glocs.) on the 5-6th. After a cooler spell, the sunshine and heat returned, with a new high temperature of the year, 32.7C, at London Heathrow on the 17th. This didn't last long: on the 19th a new July record maximum is set, beating the previous record of 1911, with 36.5 at Wisley (Surrey) and 36.3C near Gatwick Airport in Sussex. It even reaches 30.5C at Prestiwck in Scotland, and 34.2 (Penhow, Newport) was a new Welsh July record. 30C was reached somewhere in the country on every day from the 16th to the 27th apart from the 23rd. After cooling down slightly, the heat returned, with 34C being recorded at Charlwood (Surrey) on the 25th. There were thunderstorms after the 19th. There were some humid and thundery spells throughout the month.

August. Very hot (18.6) and dry; no rain at all around Glasgow and Aberdeen, Borrowdale (Lake District) and parts of eastern England (e.g. Boston, Lincoln). Even the Isle of Skye (August average 125mm) only had 5mm. On average England and Wales had only 17% of the long-term average. It was the warmest August of the century for some places (such as Scotland), the driest in many places, and the sunniest, with an average of 10-11 hours of sun per day. Unsettled start. 34C in Bournemouth on the 16th. One thunderstorm, on the 23rd, at Sudbury, with 84mm. This was clearly the best summer month of the century so far.

September (2006). There are now two CET series, using different means of computing the averages. According to the Met Office series, September, at 16.8C, was the warmest on record. According to the more conservative series maintained by Philip Eden, at 16.6C it was the equal warmest on record (with 1729) - and warmer than August. A very southerly month. Very dry, sunny, and warm until the 21st, particularly in the south and east until the 21st, more unsettled after that. After an unsettled first week and it became drier and warmer. It reached 28C at Margate on the 6th - the highest temperature anywhere in the UK since 6 August. As the heat continued to build, it reached 30.2C at Heathrow on the 11th. The heat triggered a few violent storms in the south and Midlands. Some severe weather around on the 14th, with thunderstorms and several small tornadoes in northern Britain. It reached 29.0C at Sutton Bonington (East Midlads) on the 21st, the latest temperature so late in the year since 1985. Overall quite sunny and dry, but the last ten days stopped it from being exceptionally so.

October (1917). Cold, stormy and wet the coldest of the century in Scotland. Snow in the north. There was snow in northern Ireland on the 26th. In spite of the overall cold (7.5C CET, nearly as cold as 1919), there was a warm start, with 24C at Southend on the 2nd.

November (1919). A very cold month (3.3), with frequent north-easterlies. A severe gale off Kent right at the beginning of the month (1st and 2nd.). Parts of the southeast had no sun at all in the first ten days. The first ten days were generally cold with some night frosts, with easterly winds. It was however the cold spell midmonth, with heavy snowfalls and sharp frosts, that was particularly noticeable. This was an extraordinary cold snap that would rank as one of the major winter events of the century; that it had happened in mid-November makes it even more extraordinary. The cold spell really set in on the 11th as the winds gturned to the north. There were snow showers in eastern Scotland from 8th to 10th, but lat e on the 11th it snowed heavily across Scotland, leading to many villages being cut off. There was a foot of snow on Dartmoor, 17" at Balmoral, and 8" at Edinburgh. A record low minimum of -23.3C was set at Braemar on the 14th, and -21.7C at Perth (hurrah!). This was the lowest reading of the year, and is the earliest date on which such a low temperature has occurred. It was also down to -21.1C at West Linton and Balmoral on the 14th; the maximum on the 14th at Balmoral was only -10,and -12C on the 15th. The next night, the temperature fell to -2 -22.8 on the morning of the 15th. Snow lay at Braemar to a depth of 42 cm; it lay from the 11th until the end of the month. The lowest maximum on the 14th in England was -2.7C near Carlisle, and the lowest minimum in England in this cold spell was -12.8C at Scaleby (also Cumberland) on the 16th. A snowstorm on the night of the 11/12th gave heavy falls across the country - e.g. 12 inches on Dartmoor. This would be an exceptional cold spell in the depth of winter, yet alone in autumn. For this reason I rate this as the most interesting November of the century. The month generally turned milder at the end, although snow cover persisted at Braemar and Balmoral through the month into early December.

December (2010). An amazing month: exceptionally cold, with a CET of -0.7C. This month was the coldest December since 1890, the coldest month of any since 1986, and the first time the month's average CET (Central England Temperature) was beneath zero since 1986. The exceptionally cold weather continued from the end of November with more heavy snow in the east and south right from the start of the month. The lowest minimum of the month was -21.1C at Altnaharra on the 1st. The lowest maximum of the month, -15.8C, was also recorded at Altnaharra, on the 22nd. After a very cold first ten days the weather turned slightly milder for a while until extremely cold air swept south across the country on the 16th. The air arrived with more snow, and was then followed by some extremely low daytime and night-time temperatures. A new all-time record minimum was set twice in the month in Northern Ireland, with -18.6C at Castlederg on the morning of the 23rd. (The temperature then in fog fell to -18.7C just after 9, so the record is offically accredited to the 24th.) Other very low temperatures included -18.7C at Pershore on the 20th following a maximum of -8.2C on the 19th, -19.6C at Shawbury on the 19th, and -19.4C at Altnaharra on the 22nd. There were some very low daytime maxima too, including -11.0C at Castlederg on the 18th, -11.3C at Edenfel, Omagh, and -8.2C at Pershore on the 19th. Ten nights during the month the temperature dropped beneath -18C (OF) somewhere in the UK. It was a White Christmas in the sense of widespread lying snow, with some snow showers in the east. The temperature Christmas night at Pershore fell to -16.2C, and only rose to a maximum of -6.4C on Boxing Day. This is the first time there have been two consecutive white Christmases since reliable records began. It became slightly warmer, particularly in the south, from the 28th. The highest temperature of the month was 11.5C at St Mary's (Scilly) on the 28th. The thaw led to widespread bursting of pipes, particularly in parts of Northern Ireland where serious water shortages ensued. It was a dry month, with just 39.4 mm averaged overall England and Wales (39& of the long-term average), making it the driest December since 1991. Both Scotland (47%) and Northern Ireland (60%) were very dry. Shap in Cumbria, often one of the wettest places in Britain, saw just 7 mm of rain all month. Sunshine was variable. It was very sunny in the west and north, with Scotland averaging 176% with 58 hours and Northern Ireland 61.5 hours being 173%; England and Wales averaged 55 hours (116%). Sunshine totals ranged from 91 hours at Auchincruive in Ayrshire to just 10 hours at Charlwood in Surrey. Some places in the SE, such as south Essex, saw virtually no sunshine in the final two weeks. Many places in Britain had snow lying all month; indeed many locations (including my own station in east Scotland) had snow lying from 25th November through into the New Year. (I am particularly grateful to Philip Eden for supplying extra detail for this historic month.)

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Not much of one but because it was extraordinarily quirky year.

Sorry I picked you up wrong Mr. D, I thought it was some obtuse reference to 1816 the year without one.

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