UK’s exceptional weather in context

As the UK’s run of exceptionally wet and stormy weather continues, the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre has looked at how the last two months compare in the historical records.

Here’s some facts and figures for the weather we’ve seen through December and January:

For the UK

  • For the UK, December was provisionally the equal-fifth wettest December in the national series dating back to 1910 and January was the third wettest January in the same record. When the two months are combined, it is provisionally the wettest December and January in the series.
  • There were more days of rain (any day with more than 1mm of rainfall) for the UK in January than for any other month in a series dating back to 1961, with 23 days.
  • It was the windiest December for the UK in records back to 1969, based on the occurrence of winds in excess 60 kts (69mph).

England and Wales

  • Looking at the England and Wales Precipitation series, which dates back to 1766, it has been the wettest December to January since 1876/1877 and the 2nd wettest overall in the series.


  • December was the wettest calendar month on record for Scotland in the series to 1910.
  • For eastern Scotland, December and January combined was provisionally the wettest two month (any-month) period in the same series.

Southern England

  • There have been very few dry days in this area since 12 December and regional statistics suggest that this is one of, if not the most, exceptional periods of winter rainfall in at least 248 years.
  • Despite the rainfall being concentrated in the second half of the month it was the wettest December for south east England since 1959.
  • January was the wettest January for the south England region in the national series dating back to 1910, and the wettest calendar month for the south east region in the same series by a huge margin.
  • The two-month total of 372.2mm for the southeast and central southern England region is the wettest any 2-month period in the series from 1910 .
  • From 12th December to 31st January parts of south England recorded over five months worth of rainfall (based on average January rainfall for the region).

You can see more statistics on recent weather and through the historical records on our UK climate pages.

Full month provisional statistics from January 2014:

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall  
Actual Diff from Avg Actual % of Avg Actual % of Avg
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 4.8 1.1 44.8 95 183.8 151
England 5.4 1.3 57.3 106 158.2 191
Wales 5.3 1.2 38.0 78 269.0 171
Scotland 3.5 0.9 27.2 76 205.3 116
N Ireland 4.5 0.3 37.3 84 170.7 147
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9 Responses to UK’s exceptional weather in context

  1. Matthew Box says:

    More stats: this winter’s weather in context…

  2. Thank you for this, I’m sure everyone is interested to find out how this winter compares to the record books.

    Are you please able to give us some stats and comparisons in terms of the frequency of storms this winter, and the behaviour of the jet stream and this blocked weather pattern? How does this compare to previous years? Have we seen such behaviour in the past?

  3. Hello,
    I’m trying to find out if the Met Office has any kind of weather extremes volatility index for the UK, to get an idea of whether record weather events, be they rainfall, maximum or minimum temps, sunshine, windspeeds, etc. are becoming more frequent of late.
    Empirically where we live in upland Carmarthenshire, we seem to have had several extremes within just the last few years, be they drought, rainfall, cold winters or warm winters. And often one extreme changing to the diametrically opposite within a year, or season. I found a company produced graph from the USA (Schneider Electric) which purported to show that such weather extremes are becoming more common in recent years, ( but there may be a vested area in demonstrating this) and wondered what the Met Office view, or data was?
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated,
    Best wishes

  4. Paul Wenman says:

    Please correct your English grammar …. ‘Here are some facts’ (plural)…. not ‘Here’s some facts …’


  5. It is difficult to understand much of the Met Office’s News Blog due to the high number of grammatical and punctuation errors. Government Departments know only too well the power of words and the ability of the media to twist them. There is no excuse for such lax written work, particularly as grammar and spell checkers are built into most word processing applications these days.

  6. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:
    In a context which does not go back all that far, but a definite wet and windy spell that is starkly not Mediterranean 😉

  7. nuwurld says:

    Just plain and simple. No hype. No complaints from me (well, not here!). Pleased to see the Met Press Office has regained its voice. Welcome back.

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