September summary (or even summery!)

After a mediocre summer, September did quite a lot to redress the balance. High pressure dominated for much of the month, and there was a good deal of sunshine which made it feel warmer than it really was. The rainfall total was a modest 47.2mm, and there was little in the way of wind.

The month started with a blocking high pressure system to the west of Ireland, so we were protected from Atlantic low pressure systems. The westerly breeze was polar air, though, and the beginning of the month was decidedly cool as well as being dry.

On the 5th September the high pressure system began moving east across the UK bringing some clear skies, although cloud was occasionally drawn across the UK from the North Sea. The high began to move away to the east of the UK on the 10th, but the sunshine that afternoon produced the highest temperature of the month of 23.6C.

Once the high pressure had moved off over Scandinavia the way was clear for Atlantic lows to take over, and it rained every day for the following week (11th-18th) with the wettest day of the month being the 14th (17.6mm). We had a short break on the 19/20th with high pressure over France and the south of the UK, and then the the lows returned until the 24th bringing showery weather.

On the 25th another high pressure system moved in from the south west and this stayed with us (and much of Northern Europe) for the remainder of the month, producing lots of blue skies and sunshine – and clear nights with brilliant moonlight from the full moon, and splendid views of the eclipse.

Despite all the sunshine September was a cool month, thanks to the chilly first few days, and the lengthening clear nights which allowed temperatures to drop rapidly once the sun had gone down. The lowest temperature of 2.9C was recorded early on the 26th, our second-lowest September value, and the average for the month was 13.2C – about 1.5C below normal, and the coolest September we have recorded here even if it didn’t feel that way.

Altogether September was a welcome change from a rather drab summer, and if it was cool we didn’t really notice it in the sunshine.

August 2015 summary

August’s weather was dominated by Atlantic low pressure systems, with only a few brief spells of high pressure. Consequently it was a cool and wet month with a good deal of cloud, but despite the many low pressure systems it wasn’t particularly windy – the total wind run for August was 973nm, which makes it a quiet month.

Total rainfall was 96.8mm making this our third-wettest August, and rainfall was recorded on 15 days which is about average – the high total is due to there being several days of persistent or heavy rain, rather than a lot of rainy days. The wettest day was the 23rd when we recorded 23.4mm, our 10th wettest day since the weather station was set up.

Even when it didn’t rain, it was often cloudy – there were only seven sunny days during the month, which coincided with the all-too-brief spells of high pressure around the 8th, 12th and 17th. Most of the rest of the month saw us under a blanket of grey cloud, which of course kept temperatures down for much of the time.

The average temperature for August was 16.0C which is cool but not exceptional – 2014 and 2011 were cooler. The lack of heat from sunshine was partly offset by a few days of warm, humid air being drawn up from the continent around the 13th, when there were torrential thunderstorms in the South-East of England, and again on the 22nd when a thunderstorm brought us 2.8mm of rain late in the afternoon.

The summer of 2015 was about half a degree cooler than normal at 15.7C, and it was also quite wet – the rainfall total of 253.4mm puts it well above our summer average of 207.8mm. We have seen wetter summers, though, in 2008 and notably in 2012 when we recorded 332.8mm.

July 2015 – cold, wet and miserable.

July began warm and humid, with unstable air being drawn in from the continent and generating thunderstorms to the East and West of us, although there was just a little rain here. The temperature rose to 29.7C by 1530 on 1st July, but shortly after that a cold front arrived, associated with low pressure to the west of Ireland, and this caused the temperature to drop to a much fresher-feeling 21C by 1600. As it turned out the first of July was the warmest day of the month: although we also saw some reasonable temperatures on the 3rd and 4th, it was all downhill after that.

Most of July was dominated by Atlantic low pressure systems, with high pressure only putting in a couple of half-hearted appearances. There was a good deal of cloud which suppressed temperatures, giving a average for the month of 16.2C – not our coolest July ever, but on the cool side. It rained on 19 days of the month, and the 24th was our wettest day since the station was set up with 37.8mm. The total for the month was 114mm making this our second-wettest July – the wettest was in 2008 when we recorded 122.4mm.

By the last week of July it was feeling distinctly autumnal, with temperatures stuck in the low teens. Summer did finally return on the 30th thanks to high pressure to our west bringing clear skies and sunshine, although there was a cold wind, but there was a sting in the tail: a clear night allowed the thermometer to drop to 5.7C early on the 31st – equal to the July low recorded in 2011.

Overall, then – cold, wet and miserable.

New rainfall record set

Following on from my earlier post, the rain resumed in earnest at 1600 and by 1700 today’s rainfall total had reached 34.4mm, making this the wettest day since the weather station was set up in 2007.

It’s still coming down as I type this, but the radar suggests it will be easing off soon. The low pressure system is moving very slowly east, so more rain later can’t be ruled out.

Wettest day since 2008

A slow-moving low pressure system currently to the south of Cornwall generated nine hours of continuous rainfall starting at 0430 today, and as I’m typing this we are seeing the first break from that rain.

Today’s total at 1330 is 28.6mm, making this the third-wettest day recorded here since the station was set up in 2007. The two higher daily totals were both back in 2008 – 33.6mm on 3 September that year, and 34.2mm on 9 July 2008.

Rainfall radar  suggests that the current break may last for a few hours but there is potential for more rain later today. If that amounts to another 5.7mm, then today may see a new daily rainfall record.

The “Live Weather” page has been removed

For several years this site has had two automatically-updated weather pages. The “Current Weather” page provides a text-based display of weather conditions, and the “Live Weather” page showed similar data in a graphical format.

The graphical display relied on Adobe Flash. For a number of reasons we have decided not to use Flash on this site any more, and so the Live Weather Page has been removed.

Apologies to those visitors who enjoyed the graphical display.

June 2015 summary

June began as a chilly month, with temperatures for the first 10 days about 1.5C below average. Although there were several bright and sunny days thanks to high pressure systems, a cool breeze took the edge off the warmth. There was almost no rain during the period, just 2.2mm on the 1st and 0.2mm the following day.

There was a sharp reversal in fortunes on the 11th, when a low to the west of France and high pressure over eastern Europe drew warm continental air up over the UK, giving us out first hot day of the year with a temperature of 26.5C at 1700. The English Channel saw some severe thunderstorms and there were more in Kent on the 12th, but although there was a good deal of rain overnight on the 12th/13th there was no thunder here.

This marked the end of the cool spell, and for most of the remainder of June temperatures were right on the average for the time of year. Some low pressure systems made their presence felt, notably on the 22nd when 15.8mm of rain fell – the wettest day of the month. High pressure was never far away, though, and there was a good deal of sunshine.

The month ended in style, with warm air once again being drawn up from France. This time the thermometer reached 29.1C, our second-highest June value, but fortunately humidity was low which meant the heat wasn’t too uncomfortable.

June’s average temperature was 15C, close to normal for the time of year – the two hot spells made up for the cool start to the month. The rainfall total was 42.6mm, also close to the June average, and there was nothing exceptional in the way of wind.

Not a bad introduction to summer, then, despite the unpromising start to the month.

May 2015 summary

May’s weather was dominated by Atlantic lows, with high pressure never really getting established, and the consequence was a cool, wet and windy month with the temperature reaching 20C just once – we usually see something higher than that on about five days during the month.

It wasn’t our wettest May – this year we recorded 80mm of rainfall, well above average for May, but last year was wetter with 96.4mm. Nor was it our coolest: the average temperature was 11.6C which is about 1C below normal, but May 2013 was cooler still with 10.8C. It was, however, the windiest May we have recorded since the station was set up, with a wind run of 2807nm and a gust of 33kts on the 18th, also a new record for May.

As well as rainfall from fronts associated with the procession of Atlantic lows, there were heavy convective showers on the 3rd, the 14th (the wettest day of the month, when funnel clouds were seen a few miles to the south) and the 19th. A very distinct cold front, associated with a low to the north of Scotland, passed through on the morning of the 29th and in the space of five minutes the temperature dropped 3C, the pressure rose 1.7hPa, the wind gusted to 24kts and 5.8mm of rain fell. Anyone caught out in that got drenched. This was followed by convective showers, thunder in the Wells area and a soaking for the Bath and West Show.

The end of May also marks the end of meteorological Spring. The average temperature for Spring 2015 was normal at 9.6C, and the rainfall total of 145.4mm was close to average too – the wet May was offset by a dry April. Even if this wasn’t quite the wettest or coolest May we have seen it still qualifies as disappointing, but Spring 2015 was unexceptional.

April 2015 summary

After a damp and breezy start, April was dominated by two periods of high pressure resulting in a lot of settled and dry weather – the rainfall total was 16.4mm, our second driest April on record and our third driest month overall. The wettest day of the month was the 25th, the day when high pressure finally departed, but the total for that day was just 4.4mm.

It was a quiet month too: after a gust of 29kts on the 2nd, winds fell light as high pressure established itself on the 5th. There followed a good deal of warm sunshine once morning mists had cleared, although nights were chilly under clear skies.

The high pressure system moved away on the 11th, allowing a cold front from a low to the north of Scotland to deposit 1.8mm of rain. However, another high became established over the following days bringing a return to settled weather and sunshine. The 15th was an exception – while the rest of southern England basked in sunshine, a sea mist filled the Somerset Levels and the best we could manage was 12.6C. We got our turn the following day, though, with the thermometer reaching 21.2C on the 16th – our second-highest reading for April. A cool easterly airflow brought the lowest temperature of the month, 1.7C, only a few days later, but there were no air frosts. Between 4th and 24 April we recorded less than 3mm of rain.

The high pressure moved off again on the 24th and Atlantic lows took over. Although the airflow was south-westerly, it was polar air drawn down by lows the north of Scotland – hence temperatures dropped, making it feel particularly cold after all the sunshine. The last week of April brought 10mm or rain.

The average temperature for April was a little above normal at 10.1C – the last week took the edge off temperatures after the warm spell in the middle of the month. The average pressure for the month was 1021.4hPa and the maximum was 1038.0hPa, both new April highs for this station reflecting the two spells of anticyclonic weather.

March 2015 summary

Early March was cold and blustery with rain and a little wet snow, thanks to a collection of low pressure systems north of Scotland. High pressure formed to the south of the UK on the 4th and brought clear skies and an air frost (just) early on the 5th. Daytime temperatures rose in the sunshine, and the 7th saw what turned out to be the highest temperature of the month at 16.5°C.

A deep low on the 9th generated 100kt winds in Scotland, but nothing more than a blustery shower here as the cold front passed though. The following two weeks were generally quiet with high pressure over Scandinavia, but that system drew in a cold easterly which kept temperatures down with a second air frost on the 23rd.

The settled spell came to an end on the 28th as another group of lows approached Scotland, and the 29th was a day of wind and rain.  A total of 12.6mm made this the wettest day of the month with wind gusting to 40kts. Another deep low crossed Scotland on the night of the 30th/31st with a gust of 43.5kts at 0232 – not far off the speeds reached during the St Valentine’s Day storm of 2014. The wind continued for most of the 31st.

The average temperature of 7°C and rainfall total (49mm) were both normal for March, and the gales of thelast few days offset the quiet spell in the middle of March, to give an average wind run too.

New average wind speed record

Overnight wind speeds reached a peak at about 0230 today, with a gust of 43.5kts and an average wind speed of 32.3kts.

We have seen higher gusts. 46.1kts was recorded early on 15 February last year and 44kts back in December 2008, so this morning’s gust is our third-highest. The average speed of 32.3kts is a new record for this station, though – the previous record was 30.6kts, also back in February 2014.

It’s still blowing out there now, although the peak has passed. Hold on to your hat!


Partial eclipse

For this morning’s partial eclipse we were right on the edge of a blanket of cloud, which I guess might have spoiled things for those in the South East. After a misty morning it was touch-and-go how thick the cloud here would be at the time of the eclipse, but in the end we got a good view through a thin layer of cloud – not thick enough to spoil an image projected onto a piece of card.

During the eclipse light levels dropped to give a watery and rather eerie effect, and it felt quite chilly as the sun dimmed. The air temperature dropped from 5.4C at the start of the eclipse to 5C at maximum, at a time when it would normally be rising as the sun gained strength. As the sun reappeared the thermometer rose quite rapidly while light (and heat) levels got back to normal. Not a big air temperature change, then, and well within the range of variation that we might see due to other causes, but there was certainly a drop in temperature which coincided with the eclipse and which was not due to air movement – it was calm.

Looks like a bright, sunny day today – enjoy!

February 2015 summary

The first half of February was dry and cold and the second half was wet and windy, with a good deal of unsettled weather.

The month began with a cold, dry airstream from the north drawn down by a low to the north of Scotland, and although daytime temperatures were above freezing it felt much colder in the low humidity. As the low moved off to Scandinavia it was replaced by an area of high pressure, which ensured the cold weather continued – night frosts were frequent, but no rain fell in the first 12 days of the month.

The high moved off on the 13th to be replaced by the the first of a series of Atlantic lows and the first rain of the month. Except for a short break on the 17th/18th, when high pressure to our south brought quiet weather, the second half of February was dominated by these lows. The wettest day was the 19th with 14mm of rain, and a particularly unstable low pressure system on the 23rd generated thunder and some wet snow, with a gust of 33.9kts being recorded early on the 24th.

The rainfall total for the month was 64.6mm, out second highest February total, and all of this fell in the second half February. The average temperature was 4.8C, a little below normal.

Winter 2014/5 was our second-wettest on record with a total of 236mm, and the average temperature was an unremarkable 5.7C. There were no exceptional frosts, but there was record high of 15.2C on 9 January. The maximum wind gust was 41.7kts in January, but there was no repeat of last year’s damaging gales.

January 2015 summary

January was wet and blustery, with temperatures a little above average. The highest temperature of the month was a remarkable (for January) 15.2C on the 9th: that’s a new record high for us, not just for January but for any winter month since the station was set up in 2007. Exeter Airport was the warmest spot in the country that day, reaching a balmy 16.5C as low pressure to the north of the UK sucked in warm air from the south: but that low pressure system also brought damaging gales to Scotland, leaving thousands of homes without power. The average temperature for January was 5.9C, a little above normal at but not exceptional.

Total rainfall was 108mm, making this our second-wettest January but a long way off last year’s January total of 157.8mm. This year it rained on 25 out of 31 days, the wettest being the 3rd with 18mm. There were some snow flurries and a couple of falls of snow granules (snow coated in ice), but the ground was too warm for it to settle – the hilltops were white for a while.

This was our second windiest January on record with a wind run of 3235nm. A complex collection of lows passed north of Scotland on 28 January, and during the morning two lively cold fronts passed in quick succession – the first produced a squally downpour and a gust of 33.9kts at 0906, and the second at 1030 brought even more torrential rain, a gust of 41.7kts at 1030 and a jump in pressure of 1.3hPa in the space of 10 minutes.

The end of January saw the wind veering from a mild south-westerly to a north-westerly. Although temperatures remained above freezing, it felt much colder in the dry polar air. As that colder air met (relatively) warm North Atlantic water there was a good deal of snowfall in the north of the UK, and a small but lively low pressure system driven by the temperature difference was formed off Scotland on the 29th. This tracked rapidly down the west coast of the UK before moving inland across Wales, losing strength as it was cut off from the warm water. This low generated thunderstorms over Ireland and some high wind speeds, and although we were some way from the centre we saw a rapid pressure dip overnight on the 29th/30th and winds gusting to 36.5kts.

The month ended with a chillier feel, but so far this has not been a cold winter. February can be just as cold as January, though, so it’s too early to guess how things may look in four weeks time.