Welcome to the web site of Steve and Janet Baggs from Brent Knoll, Somerset, UK. Here you will find occasional updates mostly (but not exclusively) about that great British passion – The Weather.
Today’s 0600-1800 average was 17.1C, with a new high temperature for this year of 22.3C at about 1500. We would hope to see better figures before the end of the month, but after such a late start to Spring it’s good to feel some warmth in the air.
Well, not quite yet perhaps, but it’s warming up.
This sunny Bank Holiday Monday has seen the highest temperature so far this year and we passed the 20C mark for the first time in 2013, with 20.6C being recorded at 1423 today. The daytime (0600-1800) average was 14.5C, making this the warmest day so far this year.
Clear skies mean it can still get chilly overnight, though, and the thermometer was down to 4.3C at 0340. A ground frost in May can never be ruled out – gardeners beware!
The early part of April continued the cold theme from the month before, with temperatures only occasionally reaching double figures for the first fortnight, and a persistent chilly north-easterly wind. Things warmed up a little in the middle of the month, when the high pressure that had dominated our weather for so long finally gave way to Atlantic low pressure systems. The second week of April brought two-thirds of the rainfall for the month. The end of April saw the return of high pressure, and temperatures dipped again.
The average temperature was 7.8C, the same value as for April 2012 and well below the seasonal average. Whereas April last year was cold because of the persistent dull and and wet weather, this year it was a different kind of cold, with dry continental air blowing in from the East. As a result, rainfall was low – the total of 19mm for the month was also well below the seasonal average (compare that with 116.6mm for April 2012).
Spring is off to a late start this year – let’s hope we can soon make up for lost time.
Our first sighting this afternoon – so it is Spring!
Last night the thermometer stayed in double figures all night – the lowest temperature recorded here was 10.9C, and the overnight average was 11.9C making it easily the warmest night of the year so far.
We are firmly back under the influence of Atlantic weather systems, and although for the moment that means cloud, wind and rain, it really does make a pleasant change from the cold easterly airflow we had for so long. Once the ground warms up a little, things should start looking greener quite quickly.
Now, if we could just have some sunshine as well . . . .
Today saw the first recorded rainfall here for 16 days. There were a few spots yesterday, but not enough to be detected by the rain gauge.
Rainfall totals for both February and March this year were modest, but it’s not as dry as last year – on this date in 2012 we had yet to reach the 100mm mark, whereas our current year-to-date total is 131.6mm. It is, though, the second lowest total for this point in the year since our records began in September 2007.
Despite a promising start, with the temperature reaching 15.1C on the fifth, March 2013 was the coldest month recorded here since the big freeze of December 2010. The average temperature for March was 3.8C, around 4C below normal for the time of year and colder than February 2013 (3.9C), January 2013 (5.1C) and December 2012 (6.3C). As noted below, 14 March saw the lowest temperature recorded here since February 2012.
Although we had some cyclonic weather in the middle of the month, the main feature of March has been the influence of high pressure to our north. That has either blocked the Atlantic lows, or driven them to our south across Spain and France. A consequence of this has been cold easterly winds which have not only brought us the coldest March on record here, but also delivered heavy snow to much of the UK – we got off lightly in the south west.
The air from the east was dry, and rainfall was a modest 35.8mm. The absence of Atlantic low pressure systems has led to quiet weather – March gales were conspicuous by their absence.
The chilling of the ground this March will lead to a late spring and poor pickings for nesting birds, so keep those feeders well stocked.
Just as dawn was breaking at 6.30am today the thermometer dropped to -5.4C, the lowest value recorded here since 4 February 2012. The lowest temperature seen during the winter of 2012/13 was -4.6C on 12 December. The Met Office weather station at Yeovilton was colder still this morning, at -6.5C.
This was the the lowest March temperature yet recorded here – I hope it hasn’t caught too many gardeners out. I’m glad to say some seedlings in the greenhouse here seem to have survived.
February’s weather divided neatly into two halves. The first half was influenced by Atlantic weather systems. These generated showers and some blustery north-west winds that brought down polar air, making it feel bitterly cold. By 16th February we had recorded 31mm of rain, about normal for the time of year. Although there were a few bright spells, for the most part it was cold, wet and miserable.
The second half of February was dominated by high pressure that developed over France, then drifted north across the UK to Scandinavia where it sat for a week or so before moving back over the UK. This high pressure pushed the Atlantic lows to our north, and we had two weeks of quiet, dry weather. Unfortunately there was a good deal of cloud trapped below the high, and the sun was not yet strong enough to disperse it from the top, or to generate breezes to blow it away. The result was two weeks of anti-cyclonic gloom – day after day of flat stratus cloud covering the sky.
With a couple of exceptions the cloud cover prevented any hard night-time frosts: but it also blocked the sunshine, keeping daytime temperatures low. The high pressure system brought a gentle easterly wind drawing in cold, dry continental air. There was almost no rainfall during this period, and the total for February was 31.6mm – so the second half of February was just cold and miserable.
Humidity during the second half of February was low, so at last the ground has begun to dry after the prolonged rainfall of last year. The average temperature for the month was 3.9C, a degree or so below the average and the coldest February we have recorded here.
After a clear night, this morning saw the lowest temperature so far this year with -2.9C being recorded at just after 7am. After dawn, though, the thermometer rose quite rapidly – there is strength in the sun now, and it was above freezing by 9am.
February so far has been unremarkable – cool, with the promise of more cold weather later this week, and also fairly dry which is a welcome change, but nothing out of the ordinary. High pressure is bringing clear skies, and a gentle dry breeze which is helping to dry out the saturated ground. Lets hope it stays that way for a while yet.
January was an ice-cream sandwich – mild at the start and finish, but cold in the middle. Apart from a few days of snow it was an unexceptional month.
Up to the 9th January we were in a warm south-westerly airstream, but with high pressure to our south close enough to push Atlantic low pressure systems to the north. Hence it was mild but quite dry – by the end of the ninth only 3.6mm of rain had fallen and the average temperature was 8.1C, though we were close enough to the Atlantic lows to see a lot of cloud cover.
From 10 January our guardian high slipped away south, allowing the effects of Atlantic lows to reach us – it rained every day from the 10th to the 15th. At the same time a high pressure system was developing over Scandinavia, drawing bitterly cold continental air over the east of the UK. When this met the warm, wet air from the west, the result was heavy snow in the eastern counties. The cold air pushed its way westwards, reaching us in the small hours of 18 January and turning rain to snow here as well.
Snow remained in low-level areas until the 24th, and was washed away from higher ground by rain on the 25th as the Scandinavian high retreated eastwards. Atlantic air took over once more, and the month ended with some heavy rainfall brought in on a warm and lively south-westerly wind.
Total rainfall for the month was 64mm, and the average temperature was 5.1C – both values close to normal, and it makes a change to see an average rainfall figure. There were no really low temperatures, but wind speeds towards the end of the month were high.
Today’s maximum temperature of 13.9C, recorded at 4pm, is the highest January reading since 18 January 2008 when we saw a balmy 14.0C. The average daytime (6am-6pm) temperature today was 11.9C, making it the warmest day so far this year and the mildest January day since 2011.
January’s rainfall total stands at 56mm so far, with more rain forecast tonight and a predicted showery end to the month. That should give us a refreshingly average total for the whole of January – just as well, since the ground is still very wet. The recent heavy rain is the result of some deep low pressure areas that have brought gales to the north of the UK and some blustery winds here – an average windspeed of 27kts on Sunday was the highest since January last year.
It’s just after 1pm as I type this, and there is a minor snow flurry outside. Last night saw the lowest temperature this month, with -2.1C at 00:34 – but since then the thermometer has been rising steadily, and it’s now at 2.8C. The humidity has dropped at the same time, and that’s why we’re seeing light snowfall at the moment instead of rain, but the forecast for the weekend and next week is higher temperatures and rainfall.
There is very little lying snow here now, but yesterday we took a trip up on to the Quantock hills and there is plenty of snow up there – some of it well over Wellington-boot depth. There are some photos here for anyone who is interested. Although the thaw here is all but complete, there is a lot of snow sitting on the hills and it’s all got to go somewhere when it melts. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too warm too fast.
With a week of January left, it seems unlikely we will see any more cold weather this month. Despite the disruption caused by snow in many parts of the country, and some very low temperatures in East Anglia, January here has not been particularly cold – a minimum of -2.1C is beaten by every year back to 2009, and the average temperature so far is 4.6C. That will probably increase a little by the end of the month, and we will end up right on the regional average.
Rainfall so far this month amounts to 36.2mm, well below average. Whilst we’re unlikely to match the very dry January of 2012 (39mm), it will make a pleasant change not to see a total running into three figures.
The weather station is running fine, but unfortunately the ftp server isn’t and the weather page hasn’t been updated for a couple of hours. The web hosting company has been told, and we’re waiting for them to fix it.
For what it’s worth, we’ve had some light and rather wet snow – there is a thin cover on the ground.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
The weather station has been reporting rainfall since about 12 noon. It hasn’t rained at all today – the temperature rose by a couple of degrees at lunchtime as warmer Atlantic air pushed its way in, and the snow in the rain collector has melted.