Warm, dry, sunny start to October

16 10 2015

The first half of October has been dominated by high pressure, giving a warm, dry, sunny start to October across the UK.

The month started with some weather fronts crossing the UK bringing rain in places. However the mid month statistics* (1 -14th October 2015) show that from the 5th onwards a high pressure system has dominated our weather bringing dry, settled conditions for most of us.

However, because of the position high pressure, we have seen relatively cool air coming in from the north-east. This has resulted in plenty of pleasant, sunny days, particularly in western areas, but with temperatures dropping away at night and a few frosts in places (coldest in this period -3.7 °C at Altnaharra on 13th).  Sunshine hours and maximum temperatures so far this month have been above average, but many places have seen night time temperatures below what we would expect, meaning the overall mean temperatures so far are above average for the whole of October.

MeanTemp Oct 1-14 2015

Rainfall has been well below normal in western areas, although closer to what would be expected by this point in the month in some eastern parts of the UK.  As a whole the UK has seen just 20% of the expected monthly rainfall so far, well short of the 50% we would expect to see by mid month.

1-14 Oct 2015 mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 10.3 0.8 57.1 62 25.5 20
England 11 0.6 60.7 59 25.2 27
Wales 10.4 0.5 60.2 65 24.8 15
Scotland   9.1 1.2 49.7 66 28.5 16
N Ireland 10.3 0.9 61.4 70 12.1 10

Of course, while these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. Latest forecasts show that the settled weather is expected to continue for many over the next few days, before conditions become generally more unsettled across the UK with outbreaks of rain and stronger winds, interspersed with drier, brighter periods as we head towards the end of the month.

*Data from the Met Office’s UK digitised records dating back to 1910.

Are we set for record July rainfall?

27 07 2015

While July has seen a good deal of dry and bright weather, we’ve also seen a few periods of heavy rainfall.

Whether through intense thundery downpours or prolonged periods of rain such as seen in southern parts of the UK on Friday last week, these events have dramatically pushed up the rainfall totals for the month.

This has led to speculation about whether this July could be on course to be the wettest on record. However, a quick look at the statistics shows that while it has certainly been wet, we’re unlikely to break any national records this month.

Provisional rainfall statistics for July 2015 so far suggest that with 5 days of the month remaining much of the country has already received close to or above average rainfall for the month – but we’re some way off breaking the records for each country.

Table showing rainfall figures so far this month compared to average and the records:

Rainfall 1-26 Jul 2015 Current record July 1981 – 2010 average
UK 93 mm 146 mm (2009) 78 mm
England 70 mm 129 mm (2009) 63 mm
Scotland 128 mm 186 mm (1940) 100 mm
Wales 102 mm 241 mm (1939) 93 mm
Northern Ireland 95 mm 186 mm (1936) 81 mm

The wettest regions compared to average have so far this month been eastern Scotland, East Anglia and the south west of England. If records are going to be broken they will most likely be localised rather than national records.

Even those regional records are far from a sure thing. The weather is generally improving for most parts of the country and high pressure, bringing more settled conditions, is expected to build towards the back end of the week.

This means the last few days of this month are unlikely to add big rainfall numbers to the totals we have so far.

Map showing 1-26 July 2015 rainfall compared to the 1981-2010 average. Most places have received their full-month average (shown in white), while the darker blue areas have seen significantly more than average already.

Map showing 1-26 July 2015 rainfall compared to the 1981-2010 average. Most places have received their full-month average (shown in white), while the darker blue areas have seen significantly more than average already.

Cold snap expected

3 12 2013

The UK is going to see a very short, sharp, cold snap.  From Wednesday night (4th Dec) into Thursday morning (5th Dec) Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland will see some strong winds, while Scotland will see some wintry showers and snow.  However temperatures will return to normal as we head through the weekend, and be more in line with what should be expected for December.

A rapidly deepening Atlantic depression is expected to move in an easterly direction to the north of Scotland bringing westerly gales, with gusts of 60 to 70 mph extending southwards across northern and some central parts of the UK on Wednesday night and Thursday.  Northern Scotland could see gusts of 80mph, and potentially 90mph for a time.

Because of this the Met Office has issued a Yellow Severe Weather Warning for strong winds. The public should be aware of possible disruption to travel, especially across Scotland, parts of Northern Ireland and Northern England.

The winds are expected to veer northerly and bring the colder arctic air southwards across northern areas before easing into Friday. The winds could exacerbate high tides and may increase the risk of coastal flooding in the Northern and Western Isles and along the East Coast of England.

A Yellow warning for snow is also in place. It runs from 6am Thursday to 12 noon on Friday, covering the northern half of Scotland, snow showers are expected to be most frequent across the Northern Isles, the North Highlands and northern Aberdeenshire.  Low laying areas could see 2 – 5cms of snow and higher altitudes 10 – 20cms. In addition the strong winds could lead to some drifting of snow and possibly blizzard conditions on higher ground.  Icy conditions may also develop on some roads across Scotland on Thursday night and Friday morning.

This winter storm is not expected to be as powerful as those in January 2012 and December 2011

This is expected to be a short-lived cold snap, with temperatures quickly recovering to near normal over the weekend.

Our video explains what to do during a Yellow warning for wind. You can also download a weather warnings widget for your website.

June set to be slightly drier and sunnier than average

28 06 2013

Provisional Met Office early June figures suggest that it has been drier than average and slightly sunnier than usual so far this month.

Rainfall for the UK from 1-26 June was 37.8 mm. At this stage we would expect to have seen about 87 % of the full month average, however we have only seen 52 %.

Up to the 26th we have seen 163 hours of sunshine in the UK, which is 96 % of the full month average – suggesting we are on track for a sunnier than average month.

However, the mean UK temperature up to the 26th has been recorded at 12.7 °C which is -0.3 °C below the 1981-2010 long-term average for the month.

The average maximum temperature so far this June is 17.1°C which is very close to the long-term average of 17.3 °C.

Looking at the individual countries, Scotland and Northern Ireland have had slightly above average temperatures so far.  Scotland’s mean temperature has been 11.5 °C (0.2 °C above average) and Northern Ireland’s has been 13.0 °C (0.2 °C above average).

Wales had the most sunshine with190.6 hours, already above the full-month long-term average.

Northern Ireland has had the most rain so far with 79.8 mm compared with England’s below average 27.5 mm and Scotland’s 45.3 mm.

Temperatures of 26.4 °C at Herstmonceux, East Sussex (19 June) and Mickleham, Surrey (20 June) are the hottest days in the UK so far.

The hottest day in Wales so far this year was at Usk (25.1°C on 19 June).

Scotland’s hottest day was at Glenlee (24.5 °C on 8 June) and Northern Ireland’s hottest day of the year so far was on 9 June (24.5 °C) at Magilligan.

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall
1-26 June Actual Diff from Avg Actual % of Avg Actual % of Avg
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 12.7 -0.3 163.0 96 37.8 52
England 13.4 -0.7 168.2 92 27.5 44
Wales 12.7 -0.5 190.6 110 45.9 54
Scotland 11.5 0.2 148.9 99 45.3 51
N Ireland 13.0 0.2 150.4 100 79.8 105

April drier and colder than average

2 05 2013

After the wettest April on record in 2012, provisional full-month Met Office figures show this April has been slightly drier than average in the UK.

Rainfall throughout the UK was 64 mm this year, compared to the 1981-2010 average of 72.7 mm. That’s considerably less than the 128 mm we saw last year.

There were big regional differences in April rainfall this year. Scotland saw 121.2 mm of rain which is above the 91.1 mm average and Northern Ireland saw 75.2mm, almost spot on the 75.0 mm average.

However, both England and Wales saw well below average rainfall. Wales had 50.3mm, compared to an average of 89.3mm, and England saw 30.4mm, compared to an average of 58.7 mm.

The month was characterised by generally cold and dry weather, following on from the theme set in March. Despite this, April registered as only slightly colder than average with a mean UK temperature of 6.3 °C, which is 1.1 °C below the 7.4 °C long-term average.

This is the same mean temperature as recorded in April 2012. To find a colder April than the last two years, you have to go back to 1989 – which saw a mean temperature of 5.5 °C.

Scotland saw the coldest temperatures compared to country specific averages, with a mean temperature of 4.8 °C, which is 1.3 °C below average – and is the same temperature as recorded in 1998.

The warmest day of the month was 25 April at Faversham in Kent when the temperature recorded was 23.1°C.

In terms of sunshine, Scotland was sunnier than the rest of the UK with hours of sunshine totalling 170.9, followed by Northern Ireland with 168.0, England at 167.7 and Wales at 162.7 hours.

This compares with only 127.9 hours of sunshine in April last year throughout the UK. The sunniest April in the last 10 years was 2007 with 203.5 hours.

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall
Apr-13 Actual Diff to Avg Actual Diff to Avg Actual Diff to Avg
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 6.3 -1.1 168.4 114 64 88
England 7.2 -0.9 167.7 108 30.4 52
Wales 6.4 -1.2 162.7 105 50.3 56
Scotland 4.8 -1.3 170.9 127 121.2 133
N Ireland 6.5 -1.1 168 115 75.2 100

How wet has 2012 been? Is it a record breaker?

27 12 2012

Provisional figures from the Met Office from 1 January to 26 December 2012 show that some parts of the UK have already had their wettest year on record.

New records have been set in England (1095.8 mm), northern England (1253 mm), E and NE England (1042.1 mm), Midlands (1048.2 mm), and East Anglia (788 mm), in a series that goes back to 1910.

A further 46 mm of rain is needed from 27 to 31 December for this to be the wettest year on record for the UK overall – the UK has had 1291.2 mm of rain from 1 January to 26 December. The wettest year on record for the UK is 2000 with 1337.3 mm.

2012 rainfall anomaly 1 Jan to 26 Dec

2012 rainfall anomaly 1 Jan to 26 Dec

In terms of temperature and sunshine the year as a whole is set to be unremarkable, both being around normal. However, overall 2012 is set to be cooler than 2011, but warmer than 2010.

  mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
1 January to 26 December 2012 Actual Difference from 1981-2010 average Actual Percentage of 1981-2010 average Actual Percentage of 1981-2010 average
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 8.7 -0.1 1354.1 99 1291.2 112
England 9.5 -0.1 1467.1 98 1095.8 128
Wales 9.1 -0.1 1354.0 97 1649.5 113
Scotland 7.3 -0.1 1186.8 100 1546.3 98
N Ireland 8.9 0.0 1234.0 98 1134.8 100
England & Wales 9.5 -0.1 1451.5 98 1172.2 125
England N 8.7 -0.1 1357.0 99 1253.0 129
England S 9.9 -0.1 1525.4 98 1012.6 128

More about the record breaking year of 2012

Last night’s coldest temperatures

30 11 2012

As the recent cold spell continues, last night saw some cold temperatures across the UK with widespread frost across parts of the country, with the coldest place being Shap, Cumbria where it fell to -7.0 °C.

The table below shows the top twenty coldest places recorded by the Met Office last night.

Shap CUMBRIA -7.0
Eskdalemuir DUMFRIESSHIRE -5.8
Ravensworth NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.8
Redesdale Camp NORTHUMBERLAND -5.8
Carterhouse ROXBURGHSHIRE -5.7
Newton Rigg CUMBRIA -5.4
Bainbridge NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.2
Bridgefoot CUMBRIA -5.1
Tyndrum PERTHSHIRE -5.0
Keswick CUMBRIA -4.9
Hurn DORSET -4.8
Spadeadam CUMBRIA -4.7
Chillingham Barns NORTHUMBERLAND -4.7
Saughall AYRSHIRE -4.6
Topcliffe NORTH YORKSHIRE -4.6

The tables below show a breakdown of the coldest three places for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Shap CUMBRIA -7.0
Ravensworth NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.8


Eskdalemuir DUMFRIESSHIRE -5.8
Carterhouse ROXBURGHSHIRE -5.7


Tredegar Bryn Bach Park GWENT -3.6
Libanus POWYS -3.3
Llysdinam POWYS -3.1

Northern Ireland

Katesbridge DOWN -3.5
Aldergrove ANTRIM -1.0
Lough Fea LONDONDERRY -0.7

The latest forecast from the Met Office shows that it is likely to stay cold with temperatures falling below freezing across many parts of the country over the next couple of night. Temperatures are expected to fall to similar lows tonight, with it perhaps a little colder still on Saturday night.

A full and regularly updated forecast is available on our website.

How wet has this September been?

1 10 2012

The latter part of September saw some exceptional rainfall in parts of the UK which caused disruption and flooding at times.

With such a great deal of rain falling in a short period of time, some people have asked whether it will make September one of the wettest in our national records going back to 1910.

Provisional early statistics up to 26 September show this isn’t the case, however, with the month looking set to be slightly wetter than average – but by no means a record breaker.

Up to the 26th, UK rainfall is 96.3 mm – which is 100% of the full month average. After 26 days we would, assuming rain falls fairly evenly through the month, expect this to be around 87%.

Of course, rain doesn’t always fall evenly throughout a month – as we saw this September. The first three weeks saw relatively little rain in many areas, but then a particularly active weather system brought four days of persistent heavy rain.

Northern parts of England were particularly badly affected by this, as you can see in the rainfall map below. In the map you can see a band of blue colours across northern England denoting above average rainfall for the month, whereas much of the country is coloured white to denote near-average amounts.

Two brown areas, one across central Scotland and the other in East Anglia, show it has been drier than average here – even despite the heavy rain in the latter part of the month.


Temperatures up to the 26 September are also fairly ordinary, being slightly below average. Mean temperature for the UK is 12.2 °C, which is 0.5 °C below the long-term average for the month.

While September looks set to be slightly wetter and cooler than average, the good news is sunshine hours were slightly up – with the UK having seen 126.1 hours of sunshine, 101% of its whole-month average.

Again, we’d expect it to be around 87% after 26 days, so we’re ahead – but not by a record-breaking amount.

So this September is set to go down as a fairly average month overall, but – as is often the case – this belies some very stark contrasts and some less-than-usual weather.

Met Office provisional 1-26 September figures
mean temperature sunshine duration rainfall
Actual Difference from 1981-2010 average Actual % of 1981-2010 average Actual % of 1981-2010 average
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 12.2 -0.5 126.1 101 96.3 100
England 13.2 -0.5 145.2 106 80.6 116
Wales 12.1 -0.8 124.5 97 115.3 99
Scotland 10.4 -0.5 98.6 94 117.2 86
N Ireland 11.8 -0.5 105.3 93 94.0 103
England & Wales 13.1 -0.5 142.3 105 85.4 112
England N 12.4 -0.4 124.0 98 121.4 150
England S 13.7 -0.5 156.4 110 59.0 93

Is it the wettest UK summer on record?

26 08 2012

This summer started with the wettest June in the UK in the national records which go back to 1910 and was followed up by a wetter than average July (16th wettest), so are we set for the wettest summer on record?

Officially, in meteorological terms, summer runs from the start of June to the end of August – so there are still a few days to go for this year.

The Met Office holds many different climate datasets but uses the UK national series that goes back to 1910 when referring to records.

In this dataset, the record to beat was set in 1912, when the UK had 384.4mm of rain – although we don’t have to look too far back to find a very wet summer, as 2007 is third in the rankings with 357.8mm. The 1971-2000 average for the UK in summer is 226.9mm.

Looking at this year, we have the figures for June and July, but for the UK as a whole we currently only have data up to 15 August – which show rainfall had been slightly below average to that point.

That means we can say with some certainty that we have seen 300.8mm of rain so far this summer (145.3mm in June, 115.9mm in July, and 39.6mm to 15 August), ranking 20th in the records.

There has been a fair amount of rain since then, so that ranking is sure to have climbed – but it’s not possible to say until all the numbers have been crunched at the end of this month.

It’s important to remember that the UK total rainfall is effectively an average of the rain that falls across the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – so looking at one station, or even one country, isn’t a reliable indicator of how much rain we’ve seen for the UK as a whole.

We can say that this summer is likely to be one of the wettest on record – some may argue that, as it’s already in the top 20% in records dating back to 1910, it already is one of the wettest on record.

We can also say that this year has continued a disappointing run of UK summers which started in 2007 – all of which have seen above average rainfall and, with the exception of 2009, below average sunshine hours.

However, we cannot say where this year will finish in the rankings or whether it will challenge the record set in 1912. For that final assessment, we’ll have to wait until after the end of August.

You can see a discussion about the causes of this year’s unsettled summer in an article posted earlier on our blog.

Another wet and windy June weekend

15 06 2012

It has been reported that this weekend’s weather is a once-in-50 year occurrence. In reality, last week’s weather was much more significant with winds recorded up to 84 mph and rainfall of 127 mm in parts of Wales. Although we are in for some wet and windy weather for the next couple of days, by Sunday and for the start of the new working week the weather looks set to be quieter with more sunshine, fewer showers, lighter winds and a warmer feel.

We have seen some more wet and windy weather this week, with heavy and persistent rain affecting many areas last night. However, rainfall totals and wind speeds have not been as severe as they were this time last week, when we saw disruption in west Wales and, later, south-east England.

Satellite image 15 June 2012 showing wet and windy weather over the UK.

The current warnings in place for Wales, the Midlands, northern England and Northern Ireland may seem to last for a long time as they are out for a 48 hour period. However, as Met Office Severe Weather Warnings are based on the impacts of the weather, it is important to ensure the public are aware of how long the worst of the weather will last. The longest warning issued by the Met Office was for the very cold snap in the winter of 2010/2011, where much of the UK was blanketed in yellow warnings for Ice untreated roads and pavements. These warnings were in place for as many as five days in a row.


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