February 2019 has been a record-breaking month. We’ve seen the highest February temperatures recorded for the UK, for Scotland, for Wales and for England. It was the first time the UK had seen over 20C in winter time. (Meteorological winter being the 3 months of Dec/Jan/Feb.) These were day records for highest maximums but there were also new daily minimums, new station records for sunshine being around double the long-term average in Kent and South Yorkshire.
It will be remembered for the long spell of dry, sunny and warm weather with the top temperatures at Kew Gardens on the 26th of 21.2C (70F). However, the month actually began with snow and ice and an overnight minimum of -15.4C at Braemar and just over a foot of snow at the edge of the Cairngorms.
By the 23rd Achnagart was breaking the February highest daily minimum record with + 13.9C. That was the lowest temperature the site saw overnight in Highland Scotland thanks to the Foehn Effect. A key piece of kit for record breaking at this time of year.
Within this short month, we saw minimum temperatures of -15.4C to +13.9C, diurnal ranges from a few degrees below freezing to the high teens or +20C. Three maximum temperature national records broken, lots of sunshine, a technical qualification of a heatwave and nature getting going in the warmth.
The month has been provisionally the second sunniest February on record for the UK
Daily maximum temperatures have been the highest on record (dating back to 1910), averaging out at 10.0C, ahead of the 9.8C recorded in 1998.
When considering mean temperatures (24 hour temperature totals) the provisional end-of-February statistics show it is the second warmest with 6.0C recorded, behind 1998 at 6.8C. Met Office.
The chilly start to February affected the overall mean and some of the nights in the exceptionally mild spell were still below freezing thanks to clear skies and the long nights.
The UK overall, Wales and England were all around 3.5C degrees warmer than average, looking at the maximum temperatures. Scotland was 3 degrees above and Northern Ireland 2.7C, the only area to keep its February record. The startling red colour on the anomaly charts shows how astounding this month has been.
A selection of station records 192 Met Office sites set new February highest daily max temp records. 14 sites set new daily minimum records.
Plymouth Devon High Max. 17.3C beating 15.0 from 1948. Records have been kept for 97 years.
Stornoway, Western Isles High Min 10.5C beating 10.0C from 1998. Records for 144 years.
Armagh High max. 17.1C beating 15.9C from 1998, with records for 153 years.
Sheffield High Max 18.2C beating 17.6C from 1998 with records going back 136 years
Just a few examples of the remarkable warming. Is it Climate Change? There will be investigations, like for last year's extreme cold. As our world heats up there will be more severe and extreme weather events, some obvious and grabbing media attention, others taking hold more subtly.
Kent’s sunshine hours were incredible. With 10.6 hours recorded near the end of the month but it was the total amount over the month which showed day in day out that the sunny, dry weather just kept on going.
There were only two named storms in February, Deirdre and Erik. As March starts Storm Freya is on her way bringing wet and very windy weather to the UK.
More chat on the Netweather forum about winter 18/19
Royal Met Soc Journal 2014 Has there been a recent increase in UK weather records? A look at averages and UK record keeping