Hotter still today

Ah, well – both of the year-to-date temperature records set yesterday were broken today, with a maximum of 30.2C recorded at 1706 and an average daytime (0600-1800) temperature of 24.2C.

The average temperature for this month now stands at 18.2C, which is 0.9C below the average for July last year.

Warmest day so far in 2014

As we thought might happen, this afternoon saw a new high temperature for this year with 29.6C being recorded at 1706.

It has also been the warmest day (0600-1800) so far this year, with an average temperature of 23.7C – rather an appropriate figure for the 23rd of July!

Despite the recent high temperatures, this month is not yet a match for July 2013 – the average temperature so far this month is 18C,  compared with 19.1C for last year. Probably not our warmest July ever, then, but a firm favourite for second place.

Possible temperature record this afternoon

I’m typing this at 1315 BST and the temperature is 27.8C and rising. The highest temperature seen to far this year is 29.1C at 1643 on 17 July, and our all-time high is 31.2C on 19 July 2013 – just over a year ago.

There is a gentle north-easterly breeze today which, so far at least, has prevented a sea breeze from forming. The sea breeze is usually a limiting factor on our high temperatures, and it is when the cooler air from the sea is blocked by an offshore breeze that we see our highest temperatures.

So – keep an eye on the web site this afternoon. It seems quite possible that this year’s high of 29.1C will be exceeded. Beating the all-time high of 31.2C is less likely because the heat is already causing some cumulus clouds to form, but you never know.

While I was typing this, the thermometer topped 28C – it’s going to be a warm one.

Warmest day of the year so far

The temperature reached 29.1C at 1643 today giving us a new high for this year, and average temperatures for last night (1800-0600) and today (0600-1800) were also new highs for this year with 18.0C and 23.1C respectively.

These figures are not exceptional for July – we have topped 29C for five out of the last seven years, and the average so far this month of 17.2C is well within the normal range. It is a year ago almost to the day – the 19th July 2013, to be exact – that we recorded our all-time record high (for this weather station) of 31.2C. We saw a daytime average of 25.8C on 18 July last year, so we can see that today’s figures are some way off being record-breakers.

Still, it’s good so see some proper summer warmth. If the forecasts are right they may soon be followed by some proper summer thunderstorms and that too is a repeat of events last July.

June 2014 summary

June this year saw some big contrasts in the weather. It was a warm month, about 1.1C above normal for the time of year and the warmest June yet recorded here with an average temperature of 16.4C. The highest temperature was 26.1C on 23rd June, which is by no means a record but still a respectable high.

It may have been warm, but June was also wet. The total rainfall of 69.2mm was well above average for June, but what makes the total more remarkable is that almost two thirds of it fell on two days, with 21.6mm recorded on the 4th and 20.6mm on the 27th. That makes those two days the second and third wettest June days on record here. On the other hand there was a two week period, from the 10th to the 25th inclusive, when no rain was recorded at all. So, a very mixed month – unusually warm for two weeks in the middle of the month, but some exceptional rainfall at each end.

June began under the influence of Atlantic lows, with a particularly complex and slow-moving depression bringing prolonged rain on the 4th. Three days later a large depression south-west of Ireland drew warm, moist air up from the south, which generated a lively thunderstorm early on the 7th – as the storm passed over there was a 3hPa increase in barometric pressure in the space of 10 minutes.

By the 10th a high pressure system had formed over the UK and this soon moved off to a point to the south west of Ireland, where it stayed until the 23rd. This high blocked any more Atlantic lows from reaching the south of the country, pushing them to the north of the UK and bringing us a spell of dry, sunny and warm weather – just right for hay-making. The temperatures recorded here were often tempered by sea breezes and so were not quite as high as those seen further inland; but we regularly got into the mid-20s and, towards the end of the dry spell, we saw that reading of 26.1C.

The high pressure retreated back to the Azores from the 23rd, allowing the Atlantic weather systems to return. A complex low brought another spell of prolonged rain on the 27th and there was a good deal of cloud, but the month ended with the sun putting in a welcome appearance on the 30th.

Overall, there was something for everyone – some proper summer weather but not too dry, and some thunder and lightning to liven things up.

Warmest day of the year so far

Today was our warmest day (0600-1800) so far this year with an average of 21.1C, and at 1559 we also recorded the highest temperature to far this year at 25.8C.

The next couple of days are likely to be warm as well, so we may see these records broken again soon.


Update 23 June 2014

Today’s high was 26.1C, with an average daytime temperature of 22C – so a little warmer than yesterday on both counts.

Highest temperature of the year so far

Although the north of the UK had the best of the weather today, we weren’t left out – at 1546 today the temperature here reached 24.4C, the highest so far this year. This was despite a good deal of cloud and, at best, some fairly hazy sunshine.

The reason for today’s high reading was the absence of a sea breeze. When we get wall-to-wall sunshine, cooler air coming in off the sea often takes the edge off temperatures. Today, because of cloud cover in the early part of the day, the sea breeze didn’t get going and such wind a2 there was (and there wasn’t much) came from the north – so, when the sun did come out this afternoon, we got the full benefit as far as temperatures are concerned.

Despite today’s high, this wasn’t the warmest day of the year so far: that was on the 14th, when the 0600-1800 average was 20.9C. That day also saw the previous highest temperature so far in 2014, which was 23.8C, and the night (1800-0600) of 14th/15th was the warmest year-to-date with an average of 17.9C.

There has been no recorded rain for more than a week now, but this month got off to a fairly soggy start – especially on the 4th when 21.6mm fell. Hence our total for the first half of June is 39mm, not far off the average for the whole month. Our year-to-date total is 511.8mm, by far the highest total seen at this point in the year thanks to the very wet first quarter.

The forecast for the coming week looks good, with high pressure sitting in the Atlantic and shielding us from any approaching lows, so maybe we’ll see some higher temperatures before it all breaks up.

Interruptions to weather updates today

We are expecting a power cut today due to overhead cable repairs, and if it continues for more than a few hours then the computer that updates the web site will shut down. Things should be back to normal by the end of this afternoon.

Update 1210 – The weather station PC has shut down, so weather data on the site won’t be updated until power is restored (later today, we hope).

Update 1620 – Power back on and site being updated.

A warm, wet May

As we have seen May’s main feature was rain, with a total of 96.4mm – about double the average for this month. There has been a lot of cloud cover too, so not many temperature extremes – a minimum of 4.7C and maximum of 23.2C are nothing to write home about. May’s average temperature was 12.7C, on the warm side but not a record-breaker.

Although it rained on May Day, the month got off to a promising start with a short spell of high pressure and some hazy sunshine. That system was on the move by the 5th, though, and the Atlantic lows moved in bringing cloud and rain and, on the 10th, some unseasonal winds as well – a gust of 32.2kts is a new record for May.

High pressure built again in the middle of the month, approaching from the south west, and around the 15th we had some blue skies and sunshine. It didn’t last though, and when the high dispersed on the 19th the warm air produced an evening thunderstorm as the Atlantic lows took over again.

The track of the low pressure systems in the second half of May was further south than we might expect at this time of year, so we often found ourselves in the middle of the depressions with little wind. High pressure to the east of the UK slowed the low pressure systems down, and the end result was lengthy spells of sometimes heavy, slow-moving rain. From the 22nd to the 24th May we recorded 44mm, which is about the average for the whole of May. Dull and damp weather persisted for the rest of the month.

Spring 2014 was our warmest on record with an average temperature of 10.3C, to contrast with last year’s record cold spring (7.5C). Spring rainfall came to 202.2mm, which is well above average but not quite as wet as spring 2008 (204.8mm). Because January and February, and now May, have been so wet, our year-to-date rainfall is about double the average figure for this point in the year at 472.8mm – more than we had in the whole of 2010.

Warm, wet and miserable, then. Let’s hope the summer can improve on that.

Wettest May on record

Oh well, that didn’t take long – as predicted earlier today, this is now the wettest May we have recorded here since the weather station was set up in 2007. The previous wettest May was in 2008 when we recorded 66.4mm.

Together with the high rainfall totals in January and February, this brings our year-to-date rainfall total to 442.8mm – a much higher total than we have seen at this point in any year since the station was set up, and about twice what we would expect to see at the end of May.

Wettest May since 2008

The current spell of wet and unsettled weather is in stark contrast to the sunshine and blue skies were were enjoying only a week ago. It wasn’t quite “three fine days and a thunderstorm”, but there have been plenty of lively convective clouds producing heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning.

With little wind to move the clouds along, rainfall totals have varied substantially over short distances. We have seen torrential rain and hail at one end of the village while the other end was dry: and, on a night when we saw about 7mm of rain, weather stations a few miles away in Weston-super-Mare recorded over 20mm.

As I type this the rainfall total for the current month is 56.6mm making this the wettest May since 2008, with another week still to go. A further 10mm of rain would break the 2008 record, and the forecast for the next few days makes that total look quite possible – this would then be the wettest May here since the station was set up.

The sunny spell in the middle of the month warmed the soil and the grass is growing well, so let’s hope we get some fine summer weather for a good haymaking.

April 2014 summary

April this year brought plenty of showers, some of them heavy, amounting to a total of 60.4mm of rain – on the high side for April, but not exceptional. The month began and ended with Atlantic lows dominating, but the middle 10 days saw a spell of high pressure and some settled, dry weather.

The wind was south to south-west for the early part of the month, incidentally bringing some Saharan dust to the UK and concerns about pollution further east. As a consequence it was mild, but low pressure systems brought cloud and rain.

High pressure began to build from the south-west around the 9th, and over the following week or so moved in to cover the whole of the UK. This meant dry weather and some clear skies, before the high moved off to Scandinavia.

By the 20th April the high was well to our east, but was still disrupting the flow of Atlantic lows and we were treated to the unusual situation of a low pressure system moving west down the English Channel. A cold front associated with this low produced some heavy rain and made the 20th the wettest day of the month with 13.2mm.

The high over Scandinavia slowed down the Atlantic lows for the last part of April, giving them plenty of time to deposit rain on us. The last 10 days of the month brought 43mm of rain, over two thirds of the month’s total.

Although there were some chilly spells in the middle of the month it was generally mild, and April’s average temperature was a little above normal at 10.5C. There were no air frosts, though the thermometer dropped to 0.1C early on the 19th. There were no exceptional winds.

March 2014 summary

After our extraordinary winter, March was refreshingly ordinary in every way with average temperature, rainfall and pressure figures for the month all falling very close to normal. There were no exceptional winds to cope with, and we even had a couple of air frosts after a frost-free February.

The month started with wet and unsettled weather, and a total of 12mm of rain fell on the 2nd and another 6.2mm on the 6th. However, an area of high pressure soon formed over Europe and pushed the track of the Atlantic lows to our north, bringing an end to the worst of the rain.

By the 10th an area of high pressure covered the UK, leading to very light winds. Unfortunately for this low-lying area it also brought fog, sometimes lasting all day: it was often cold and gloomy here while higher ground a few miles away basked in sunshine.

The high pressure drifted away south around the 20th and we saw a return to unsettled weather with more rain, but once again the lows were deflected northwards by high pressure to our south west and we were protected from the worst of the weather.

Toward the end of the month we found ourselves sandwiched between high pressure over Scandinavia and lows coming in from the Atlantic. Initially this generated a cold easterly wind, but for the last few days of March we were treated to warm air from the south east and a temperature of 19.3C was reached on the 30th – a reminder that spring is here.

The rainfall total for March was 45.4mm, average temperature 7.7C, average barometer 1015.3hPa – all normal figures for this time of year.

Spring has Sprung – official!

The pressure here has just reached 1023.8hPa. Nothing exceptional in that, you may think, except that it is the highest reading we have seen since 11 December 2013 – 12 weeks ago. That underlines quite nicely how much the winter was dominated by low pressure, hence the interminable rain and destructive winds.

Today’s bright and quiet weather reminded me that spring is here, so I went out and gave the grass its first cut of the year. Actually it has been so wet that most of it is moss now, but the thought was there and it looks a bit tidier.