Top ten romantic weather phenomena

12 02 2013

With Valentine’s day this week, we’ve complied the top ten romantic or magical weather conditions.

1. Diamond dust – Diamond dust consists of extremely small ice crystals, usually formed at temperatures below -30 °C. The name diamond dust comes from the sparkling effect created when light reflects on the ice crystals in the air.
2. Sunset – Sunsets are colourful because the light from the setting sun has to travel through more of the atmosphere to reach us. This means more of the blue light from the sun is scattered away from us, so we can see more of the red light.
3. Crepuscular rays – This phenomenon occurs when light from the rising or setting sun is scattered, producing sunbeams.
4. Iridescent clouds – A pretty display of iridescent colours in a cloud is most commonly seen in high level cumulus clouds.
5. Dew – Very small droplets of water which form during calm weather as the air cools. The process of droplets settling is called ‘dew-fall’.
6. FrostFrost forms on still, clear and cold nights. The cool air causes water vapour in the air to condense and form droplets. When the temperature of the ground or surface is below 0 °C the moisture freezes into ice crystals.
7. Double rainbow – Magical as they may seem, a double rainbow occurs when a secondary rainbow forms outside of the brighter, primary rainbow. The colour sequence is reversed because the light has been reflected within each raindrop a second time. As the light has been refracted twice, the secondary rainbow will not be as bright.
8. Snowflakes – Every single snowflake is unique, but because molecules in the ice crystals that make up snowflakes join together in a hexagonal structure they always have six sides.
9. Heart shape cloudsClouds can form in virtually any shape, and sometimes you may see some that look like things, even hearts.
10. Halo – A halo can appear around the sun or the moon, and although they may look angelic, can often signify that a weather front is approaching.

Top ten: Coldest Christmas days

25 12 2012

Merry Christmas from the Met Office.

The coldest Christmas day on record was in 2010 (and it was also the snowiest) with a minimum temperature of – 18.2 °C recorded at Altnaharra. The chart below shows the top ten minimum temperatures recorded on Christmas day (excluding high level sites).

Location Minimum temperature   Date
1   Altnaharra – 18.2 °C 25/12/2010
2   West Linton  – 15.6 °C 25/12/1981
3   Altnaharra – 15.5 °C 25/12/2009
4   Altnaharra – 12.8 °C 25/12/1996
5   Lagganlia  – 9.5 °C 25/12/1973
6   Dalwhinnie – 9.4 °C 25/12/1995
7   Aboyne – 9.4 °C 25/12/2006
8   Kindrogan – 8.8 °C 25/12/1972
9   Glenlivet – 8.5 °C 25/12/2000
10   Lower Kingcombe – 8 °C 25/12/1994
10   Tulloch Bridge – 8 °C 25/12/2005
10   Aboyne – 8 °C 25/12/2007

Read more top tens.

Top ten: Snowiest Christmas days

18 12 2012

Snow at Christmas is recorded in two ways – the number of stations that reported snow falling, and the number of stations that recorded snow on the ground at 9 am. The two charts show the snowiest Christmases for both measures since 1959.
The snowiest Christmas in terms of snow on the ground was in 2010, when 83% of stations recorded snow.

Year Percentage of stations reporting snow lying
1 2010 83%
2 2009 57%
3 1981 52%
4 1995 40%
5 2004 34%
6 1999 30%
7 1964 22%
8 1993 21%
9 1970 20%
10 1968 14%

The year when the highest number of stations reported snow falling was 2004, when 61% of stations reported snowfall.

Year Percentage of stations reporting snowfall
1 2004 61%
2 1970 57%
3 1993 51%
4 1995 49%
5 1964 47%
6 1968 43%
7 1999 42%
8 2001 40%
9 2000 35%
10 1966 31%

Visit our website to see the full history of snow at Christmas or find out how much snow we get in the UK each year.

Top ten: weather related songs

11 12 2012

The top ten weather related songs, as chosen by you on Facebook and Twitter are:

weather-songs1. Let It Snow by various artists.

2. Mr Blue Sky by ELO.

3. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves.

4. It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls.

5. Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles.

6. Purple Rain by Prince.

7. Why Does It Always Rain On Me? by Travis.

8. November Rain by Guns and Roses.

9. Sunshine On A Rainy Day by Zoe.

10. Weather With You by Crowded House.

They didn’t make our top ten, but some of our favourites included ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and David Bowie and The Flood by Take That.

Top ten: wettest counties in the UK

20 11 2012

The wettest areas of the UK are in the north of the west of the country, particularly where there is high ground.

The prevailing warm moist westerly winds mean that the west of the UK is more likely to receive rainfall from Atlantic weather systems. These weather systems usually move from west to east across the UK and as they do so the amount of rainfall they deposit reduces. This is because the mountains in the north and west of the UK cause lots of the rainfall to fall in those locations as the clouds are too ‘heavy’ to move over the higher ground.

The table below shows the average annual rainfall for the top ten wettest places in the UK.

Area Average annual rainfall (mm)
1 Argyllshire 2218.7
2 Dunbartonshire 1985.9
3 Inverness 1970.2
4 Merionethshire 1883.6
5 Ross and Cromarty 1799.8
6 Carnarvonshire 1793.1
7 Buteshire 1721.3
8 Kirkcudbrightshire 1638.1
9 Brecknockshire 1608.3
10 Westmorland 1604.2

You can find out more about rainfall in the UK including how much it rains and what causes rain on our website. Or you may be interested in our video which explains how we measure rainfall.

Top ten: spookiest weather conditions

30 10 2012

As it’s halloween  tomorrow, we’ve taken a look at the top ten spookiest weather conditions. From well known scary weather – like thunder and lightning and sea mist, to lesser-known phenomena such as brocken spectre and fall streak holes.

  1. Fall streak hole. Also known as a hole punch cloud, these clouds sometimes cause people to think the world is ending, especially when wispy vigra clouds are descending from the hole. The exact conditions that cause them to occur are still debated.
  2. Sea mist. This occurs when mild air moves over the sea, which is cooler. It can be particularly spooky when sea mist comes in during the day and visibility is drastically reduced.
  3. Sunsets. Although often considered beautiful, some particularly vibrant red sunsets can create a spooky effect.
  4. Dust storms. Dust and sand storms can be whipped up rapidly by strong winds in arid regions. Dust storms can look particularly ominous as they approach as they can be up to 40 metres high.
  5. Whistling wind. Windy conditions can be scary when they blow through objects causing a whistling sound.
  6. Brocken spectre. This effect is produced when an observer stands above the upper surface of a cloud – on a mountain or high ground – with the sun behind them. When they view their shadow the light is reflected back in such a way that a spooky circular ‘glory’ appears around the point directly opposite the sun.
  7. Roll clouds. These ominous looking clouds are a type of arcus cloud usually associated with a thunderstorm or a cold front. As these rare clouds often appear to be ‘rolling’ they often cause fear that severe weather is on the way.
  8. Thunder and lightning. One of the most common forms of ‘scary weather’, thousands of thunderstorms are taking place at any one time across the globe.  The lightning you see during a thunderstorm is a large electrical spark caused by electrons moving from one place to another, while the rumble of thunder is caused by the noise of intense heating and expansion of the air along the path of the lightning.
  9. Clouds over a full moon. This spooky effect occurs when clouds partially cover a full moon.
  10. Fog. Fog forms when relatively moist and mild air close to the ground cools quickly, causing the moisture in the air to condense (at which point it becomes visible to the human eye). This normally happens in autumn and winter under clear skies, which allows heat from the ground to escape quickly to cause rapid temperature drops.

What weather conditions do you find the spookiest?

Top ten: Mildest temperatures recorded last night

23 10 2012

Yesterday was a mild day with temperatures reaching as high as 19.2 °C, which was recorded in Langdon Bay during the daytime. However night-time temperatures were also mild for the time of year, with many areas not dropping below 10 °C. Jersey was particularly warm, not falling below 13.5 °C last night.

Station Temperature (°C)
Jersey: Airport 13.5
Bognor Regis 12.9
Guernsey: Airport 12.9
Langdon Bay 12.1
Manston 12.1
Frittenden 11.9
Herstmonceux, West End 11.9
Faversham 11.8
Scilly: St Marys Airport 11.7
Skegness 11.7

Overnight lows at this time of year would typically be around 7 to 9 °C across southern England, making last night around 4 or 5 °C milder than average. More UK climate and weather statistics are available on our website.

Top ten coldest recorded temperatures in the UK

16 10 2012

This lists the lowest temperatures recorded in separate cold spells since 1961.

  Date Station Area Temperature
1 10 January 1982 Braemar East Scotland -27.2 °C
1 30 December 1995 Altnaharra No 2 North Scotland -27.2 °C
3 13 December 1981 Shawbury Midlands -25.2 °C
4 13 January 1979 Carnwath West Scotland -24.6 °C
5 20 January 1984 Grantown-On-Spey East Scotland -23.6 °C
6 27 January 1985 Lagganlia North Scotland -23.4 °C
7 13 January 1987 Caldecott P Sta Midlands -23.3 °C
8 08 January 2010 Altnaharra No 2 North Scotland -22.3 °C
9 18 February 1960 Grantown-On-Spey East Scotland -22.2 °C
9 30 December 1961 Cannich North Scotland -22.2 °C
9 18 January 1963 Braemar East Scotland -22.2 °C
  • The lowest temp of -27.2 °C is shared between 30 December 1995 and 10 January 1982.
  • On the 10th January 1982, 26.1 °C was also recorded in Newport (Salop) in the Midlands.
  • January 1982 was the most widespread occurrence of temperatures below -20 °C.
  • Temperatures below -20 °C are much rarer for Wales, the coldest temperature recorded for Wales was -22.7°C in Corwen,  North Wales on 13 December 1981.
  • Temperatures below -20 °C are most common at stations in East Scotland followed by North Scotland and the Midlands in England.

More UK climate statistics on our website.


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