October 2021 - Warmer than average and heavy rains resulting in flooding

A look back at the UK weather of October 2021. Temperatures again above average with some heavy rains and flooding. Suspected tornado damage as well on a few days

October 2021 - Warmer than average and heavy rains resulting in flooding
Blog by Jo Farrow
Issued: 8th November 2021 17:02

October 2021 was warm and wet overall for the UK. It wasn’t very sunny as a month but there was hardly any frost and eastern Britain and the Midlands faired okay for much of the month.

UK rainfall october 2021


As you would expect climatologically western Britain saw more rain than eastern Britain in October. The actual rainfall chart (LHS) shows blue colours in the west and browns over eastern England. Northern Ireland is less distinct for this month. Some of the higher ground such as the Cumbrian Fells, Dartmoor, Snowdonia, Argyll and Skye were wet but looking at the 1981 - 2010 anomaly rainfall anomaly, we can see where has been very wet against the expected amounts. NW England, particularly Cumbria into southern and SE Scotland were wet also the Isle of Man and Anglesey. Southern England also saw more rain than usual. No water shortages here.

The rain over Cumbria across to SE Scotland mostly fell in late October- 

“Honister Pass in Cumbria saw more than 80% of its monthly rainfall over the 48-hour period from 26-27 October, as 343mm fell in the period, with the long-term average for the station in the month as a whole standing at 417.6mm. Although that’s one station in isolation, 14 other stations in Cumbria also recorded more than half of their average total October rainfall across the same period.”MO

Events were cancelled as the rain kept on falling with the ferry across Lake Windermere unable to function. Cockermouth was particularly badly hit with 40 homes flooded. There were warnings from the Environment Agency for people to stay away from the torrents flowing down rivers, off low-lying paths and not to attempt to drive through floodwaters. There was flooding in the Scottish Borders with Hawick issuing an evacuation notice for 500 homes one night. New flood prevention schemes are only part built

Scottish Water had raised concerns about water scarcity in Scotland and are looking for double the usual amount of autumn/winter rainfall to rectify the water supply. The blue colours seen over southern Scotland are good news, but more wet months are needed and central into northern mainland Scotland just saw an average amount of rainfall. SEPA (the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) had been issuing weekly water scarcity notices but as the situation has improved, this has ceased.

Throughout the month there had been other issues with surface water and river flooding leading to disruption on roads and the railways. For London, early in the month along with other parts of southern England. Also, around the 7th a few suspected tornadoes caused damage, near Coventry and Cleethorpes.

Around the 21st, wild convective weather including suspected tornado damage at Widnes as heavy rain from Tempête (storm) Aurore passed by, named by Meteo France.

October 2021 temperatures UK


All four of the home nations were over 1C above the long-term average for October for mean temperatures and Northern Ireland was notable for its “average maximum temperature for the month at 14.2°C making it joint-eighth warmest on record with figures going back to 1884.” Met Office

UK October monthly extremes: Max temp 22.9 °C Thornes Park (West Yorkshire) on the 8th.
Min temp -3.6 °C Redesdale Camp (Northumberland) on the 16th.
In the 24 hours ending at 0900 UTC on 28th, 222.6 mm of rain fell at Honister Pass (Cumbria).
Wind gust of 65 knots (75 mph) was recorded at Needles (Isle of Wight) on the 31st.

October 2021 globally third warmest

Europe - "October 2021 was the third warmest October. European temperatures were most above average in the north and most below average in the southeast. October 2021 was drier than average in most of central and eastern Europe, and wetter than average in the north and northwest and in several regions of southern Europe." Copernicus

Globally it was the third warmest October on record. WMO

As our climate warms there will be more episodes of severe flooding, or seasonal flooding could be just a slice worse. There will be times of drought too but with heavier rainfall, when it comes, more extreme weather events are expected. As COP26 enters its second week, there are worldwide hopes pinned on the outcomes. 

Tags: UK Weather  Severe Weather

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