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Weather-history

The mild exceptionally wet February of 1923

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The February of 1923 was exceptionally wet, the 2nd wettest February on record for England and Wales with 152.7mm. It was also very mild with a CET of 5.6C

There was actually little variation in the CET from November 1922 to February 1923, the variation being only 0.3C between the 4 months.

The outstanding feature of the month was the rainfall. Low pressure was to the west with an anticylonic block to the east. Winds frequently had a southerly component.

Posted Image

Rainfall totals % of the average

England and Wales: 245

Scotland: 160

Ireland: 205

From John Dover of Aston House, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight.

"February 1923 was remarkable for its warmth and wet. I have taken readings at Totland Bay for the past 37 years. This has been the warmest February and the wettest but one. The days of the month were five weeks advance of their time, while the nights were even more forward, being as those of the last week of April, or ten weeks too warm. The sea usually reaches its coolest point about the middle of February. This year it has not been colder than 44.8F on 22nd February. Only once have I known more rain in February, that was a rainfall of 5.07in. In February 1900. This year raspberry canes were in full leaf at the middle of the month, and gooseberry bushes in full leaf before the end. There has been an abundance of spring flowers, while the common field cowslip in full bloom every day of the month."

February 1923

Mean max. 49.4F

Mean min. 41.8F

Rainfall: 4.70 in

Rain days: 23

Rainfall totals in inches

Camden Square: 3.04

Reigate: 3.95

Sevenoaks: 3.92

Eastbourne: 4.11

Portsmouth: 4.88

Newbury: 4.68

High Wycombe: 4.12

Oxford: 3.35

Chelmsford: 2.92

Norwich: 3.54

Devizes: 5.25

Weymouth: 5.55

Plymouth: 6.90

St Austell: 9.35

Cirencester: 6.09

Ross: 6.69

Church Stretton: 7.07

Edgbaston: 5.88

Lincoln: 3.74

Worksop: 4.09

Buxton: 7.04

Bolton: 6.27

Bradford: 6.09

Newcastle: 3.47

Carlisle: 3.39

Wales

Cardiff: 8.79

Carmarthen: 8.84

Lake Vyrnwy: 12.24

Llandudno: 4.54

Holyhead: 4.83

Scotland

Dumfries: 6.56

Edinburgh: 2.33

Biggar: 3.88

Glasgow: 3.82

Oban: 5.19

Islay: 7.19

Dundee: 4.85

Fyvie Castle: 7.70

Fort William: 6.33

Ullapool: 3.22

Lairg: 4.87

Wick: 2.44

Lerwick: 4.51

Northern Ireland

Armagh: 5.42

Belfast: 5.27

Londonderry: 3.57

Omagh: 7.84

Ireland

Waterford: 7.12

Dublin: 5.87

Kilkenny Castle: 6.02

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Winter 1922-23 looks a very similar winter to this year - as a whole temperatures that winter stood at a very static level of mild though rarely exceptionally so throughout the winter, with little in the way of cold, also Nov 1922 was not that dissimilar to Nov 2013.  From my study of weather summaries I do believe that, although that winter saw little snowfall, some areas did see some snow in the third week of Feb 1923, although it was a short lived event for most areas I believe.

 

So far, another winter very similar to this one was 1947-48.  Looking at the CET, even as far back as November, the Nov / Dec combined CET in 1947 (7.2, 5.1) was very similar to 2013, (6.2, 6.3).  Jan 1948 was very similarly wet to 2014, and the CET that month was not far off 2014, so from Nov 1947 through to this point in 1948 there is certainly a similarity to this year.  Looking at the rest of that winter, winter 1947-48, after a mild first half to Feb, did see a cold spell develop in the second half, with some snow for some areas, before mild weather ended the month and led on into a very warm March, strkingly similar to March 2012.

 

What a dissapointment winter 1947-48 must have been after the previous winter, it doesen't look as though it was up to much.

 

Looking at recent years such as the cold winter of 2009/10, and the Dec 2010 severe spell, and that the winter 2012-13 produced a good deal of cold weather from Jan through to early April, the law of averages suggested that this winter would be milder, but the law of averages never suggested that we were due a disaster like 1988-89, 89-90, 97-98 etc. I would have never thought that this winter would have been as devoid of anything remotely wintry for most areas as it has been, as if you look closely at records, in most milder than average winters, including a few in the 2000s and even 1990s, you will find that they still provided some cold snaps and a few shorter lived snow events. 

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Here's how the Feb 1923 CET compares to the long term records and averages.

 

Posted Image

 

The first 2 days were and still are, daily record high means.

 

Here's the SLP anomalies for the month

 

Posted Image

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It looks as though during Feb 1923 there was a fair amount of blocking to the NE and over Scandinavia, although the majority of the time the lows and troughs didn't disrupt in order for the block to the NE to bring cold weather to Britain.  It only succeeded for a short time during the third week.  Just goes to show how frustrating that month would be - it would have cold lovers tearing their hair out, when an easterly was so close but it only ever briefly made it for a short time just after mid-month.  Feb 1966 saw a very similar pattern, although there was a fairly decent week's cold around mid-month.  It is just like seeing this sort of zonality on a historic chart that never materialises today:

 

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/1984/Rrea00119840116.gif

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/1984/Rrea00119840124.gif

Shows that zonality can bring widespread snow to a large part of the UK - it is just sickening that never materialises from a zonal setup today.

 

Why can't the lows / troughs disrupt and undercut a Scandinavian block to allow an easterly setup in the UK?  Why do lows have to stall against a Scandinavian high and leave the UK in a stalemate situation?  Why isn't a zonal flow today cold like the above setup with snowfall instead of mild rain?  If we have to have zonality, why can't it be cold polar maritime zonality?

Edited by North-Easterly Blast

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