August 2016 summary

After an inauspicious start with 23.0mm of rain recorded on the first of the month, August turned out to be warm with some good spells of sunshine and little rain once that first day was over. High pressure dominated, but even so it was quite a breezy month with some brisk south-westerlies. The highest temperatures of the month came on a south-easterly breeze, though, around the 16th-18th and again on the 23rd when the thermometer reached 28.5C. The average temperature for the month was 17.3C making it our warmest August since the station was set up – the previous record-holder was in 2013 with an average of 17.2C. Rainfall came to 55.6mm, but nearly half of that fell on the first day and the rest of the month was fairly dry. Incidentally, we recorded more rain on 1st August than we did in the whole of July.

The low pressure system which brought the rain on the first stayed with us for a few days, bringing a little more rain until the 5th, then high pressure began to build from the south-west. For much of the following fortnight we were on the boundary of high pressure to the south and low to the north: it wasn’t unbroken sunshine, but there was almost no rain between the 6th and the 18th and there were some warm sunny days. Towards the end of that period the high pressure moved off east and, with low pressure to our west, we were in a south-easterly stream of warm and humid air taking temperatures into the mid-20s.

An unseasonably deep low crossed the UK from the 19th to the 21st making this the windiest spell of the month, but thanks to the sheltering effect of Exmoor and Dartmoor rainfall totals here were low. Once that system had moved off across the north sea, high pressure built again – but this high was to our south-east with low pressure in mid-Atlantic, and by the 23rd we were back to that hot and humid continental air. This was the warmest part of the month, with a high of 28.5C on the 23rd.

Over the following days the high moved off east and we came under the influence of Atlantic lows again, with some spectacular thunderstorms to our east and up to Lincolnshire on the 28th (but just a little rain here). Although that brought an end to the high temperatures, the lows also brought a fresher south-westerly airflow and it felt more comfortable, if a little cooler. Bank Holiday Monday was uncharacteristically dry and sunny thanks to a little ridge of high pressure from the south-west, and the 30th was a fine summer’s day as well – but started with thick mist just to remind us that Autumn is coming. August ended with sunshine and showers on the 31st.

Despite an unpromising start in June, the summer of 2016 averaged a respectable 16.7C and a record high of 32.4C in July, and the rainfall total was a modest 135.6mm. It was breezy throughout the season with an unseasonable gale in June, but overall this was a decent summer.

July’s rainfall total beaten already

Today’s persistent rain clocked up 21.4mm at 2230, equalling the rainfall total for the whole of July – and it’s still raining, though it’s easing off now. We can already be sure that August’s rainfall total will be greater than July’s, and the garden did need it.

July 2016 summary

July’s weather split neatly into two halves – the first fortnight or so was cool and cloudy, but it became warmer from the 16th onwards and we saw temperature records broken on the 19th. The warm weather offset the cool start to the month, and the average temperature of 17.2C was about what we would expect for July. Rainfall was low at 21.4mm, making this our driest July since the station was set up. It was also our windiest July on record, with a stiff south-westerly breeze for much of the month.

Atlantic low pressure systems dominated the first two weeks of July, bringing a good deal of cloud and only a couple of sunny days. As we got to the middle of the middle of the month it looked as if it might be a contender for the coolest July ever, but high pressure over northern France pushed those lows north from the 15th onwards and the weather began to warm up as the skies cleared. On the 17th much of the UK was basking in sunshine, but the sea is still cool and a sea mist developed in the Bristol Channel and moved inland during the afternoon, making it cold and damp here. It wasn’t until the following morning that the mist burned off, and we got our first proper taste of summer on the 18th.

The high moved off to our east on the 19th, and combined with a low pressure system over the Atlantic to draw continental air over the UK in a hot south-easterly breeze. We recorded a new record high temperature of 32.4C during the afternoon, and average daytime and nightime temperature reached new highs as well.

The high pressure moved off over eastern Europe on the 20th and the procession of Atlantic lows took over again, with a warm and rather humid airflow for the rest of the month keeping temperatures about normal and bringing some frontal rain during the last week.

Warmest day on record

As mentioned earlier, today has seen a new record high temperature for this station – the peak was 32.4C at 1518.

The average daytime (0600-1800) temperature today was 26.9C (corrected 20/6/16 – not 27C, as I reported yesterday), which is also a new record for us – so, whichever way you look at it, today has been our warmest day (and tonight looks likely to be our warmest night* as well!).

  • Updated 0920 20/7/16
  • It was indeed a new record for the warmest night (1800-0600) – an uncomfortable average of 23.9C.

A new temperature record

There it is – at 1309 the thermometer reached 31.4C, a new record for this station. It’s still rising, and although the rate of increase is slowing the warmest part of the day is usually later than this. Keep checking back to see how high we go!

This is going to be a warm one.

At 1223 today the temperature here reached 30C, and it’s still rising. At this time yesterday we hadn’t reached 25C.

In fact, the highest temperature recorded here before 1300 on any day was 29.3C on 18 July 2013, and we beat that by a full 1C at 1230 today. The chances are looking good that we’ll beat our all-time record of 31.2C, recorded on 19 July 2013.

 

Highest temperature of the year so far – and more to come?

The thermometer reached 28.9C as 1450 today, the highest temperature we have seen this year and a welcome change from the rather dismal start to the day. Much of the country was basking in evening sunshine yesterday, but here a sea mist drifted in from the Bristol Channel bringing a chilly end to the day. The night was calm so the mist stayed with us until morning, and it wasn’t until about 0900 today that the sun burned it off. Once the mist had gone, though, we had a dose of proper summer weather and as I type this at 1930 the temperature is still at 27.5C – a warm night is in prospect.

Despite what many journalists seem to think, “highest temperature” does not mean necessarily mean “warmest day”. Despite the high temperature reached this afternoon, today was not the warmest day of the year if by “warmest day” you mean the average daytime (0600-1800) temperature. That record still belongs to 6 June, when the daytime average was 25.0C. Today’s average was 22.8C, thanks to the cool start before the mist cleared.

Higher temperatures still are forecast for tomorrow. Our all time record here is 31.2C in July 2013 – check the web site tomorrow to see if we beat that.

 

 

 

 

 

June 2016 summary

Statistically June was close to average in all respects but one (of which more later), but it didn’t feel like that: it was a dull and damp month without much of a sense of summer to it. The mean temperature was 15.6C which is 0.3C above the June average for this station, and total rainfall was 58.6mm which is also close to the average here.

For most of June the weather was dominated by Atlantic lows but high pressure did put in an appearance early on, with a warm sunny day on the 5th producing a high of 25.6C followed by 25.9C the following day – that was the maximum for the month. The high stayed with us for a couple more days but the weather was generally dull and humid rather than sunny, and by the 10th the Atlantic lows had taken over and stayed with us for the rest of the month. The result was an endless succession of “sunshine and showers” – there were thunderstorms somewhere in the UK for much of the month, but only once here on the 15th.

The only break in the tedium came on the 28th when, as reported here, a low pressure system produced wind speeds of 30kts gusting to 43kts during the early evening – both new records for a summer month at this weather station. As the low moved off east the winds moderated again and we were back to normal before midnight, but not without a few fallen trees and some power cuts.

An uninspiring start to summer, then, and not as good a month as the numbers might suggest.

It’s getting windy out there!

A lively little low pressure system has moved across South Wales this afternoon and is currently centred around Gloucester. When this system was to our west all we saw was an easterly breeze, but now it is to our north-east it is generating a good deal of wind with gusts over 40kts. This isn’t exceptional for spring, autumn or winter, but it is a bit breezy for summertime.

The maximum gust this evening (at the time of writing) is 43kts and a short time ago the average wind speed was over 27kts. These are both new June records for this weather station, and by quite a big margin – the previous June records were 21.8kts gusting to 30.4kts in 2012. With trees in full leaf there is potential for some damage until this low moves away east, and we have already seen the power go off a few times (but the web site should keep going). Take care!

New web page

Following a suggestion by one of our visitors (thanks, Peter) I have added a new page to the web site, which gives brief details of the weather for each day of the current month. The page updates automatically shortly after midnight.

I hope people find this useful – let me know if you spot any problems. Any other suggestions welcome!

May 2016 summary

A real mixture of weather this month, quite difficult to identify a theme. Overall temperatures were a little above normal with an average of 13.5C, and this was the second-warmest May we have recorded – the warmest was 13.9C in 2008. It was also a dry month with a rainfall total of 19.5mm, less than half the May average, although it rained on 15 days of the month. The wettest day (the 21st) saw only 5.2mm, but there was some very local convective rainfall and on at least one occasion it was raining quite hard at one end of the village while the other end remained dry. Hence rainfall figures a short distance away could look quite different.

The month started with a switch from the polar air that made the end of April quite chilly, to a milder south-westerly airstream. High pressure built from the south and we had some cold, clear nights but bright sunny days, with enough strength in the sun to make it feel warmer than it was. From the 6th low pressure over Europe drew in a warm south-easterly airstream and hazy sunshine brought us the warmest weather of the month, with a maximum of 23.9C on the 8th despite overnight rain. It was all change by the 10th, though, when a more or less static warm front produced a mist that lasted all day and into the next – it felt uncomfortably humid after the bright, dry weather of a couple of days before.

On the 12th it was back to polar air, with a low over Europe and a high to our north west, and as temperatures dropped it felt a good deal fresher. There followed a brief clear spell thanks to high pressure to our southwest, but that soon moved off and by the 17th a procession of Atlantic lows took over, bringing cloud but only a little rain.

High pressure was back briefly on the 23rd so we were back to sunshine by day and chilly nights, and then on the 26th a low pressure system took up residence off Portugal bringing us a north-easterly breeze which originated over the continent – so it was warm. One consequence was thunderstorms over the UK on the 27th and although we only saw one brief storm here, there were some spectaular ones not far away over the Mendips and Brecon Beacons. The following day saw severe storms over Europe, resulting in injuries and death.

The low off Portugal had moved away by the 29th, but another low over Europe maintained the warm north-easterly airstream. We were on the edge of a large, slack area of high pressure over the Atlantic, so the month ended with some quiet, warm and sunny weather – a good introduction to summer.

April 2016 summary

April is the middle month of meteorological spring, so as well as the traditional showers we might expect a steady increase in temperatures as the sun rises higher and the days grow longer. This year we got the showers, but temperatures actually fell as the month progressed and the last week of April was 1.4C cooler than the first. The average temperature for the month was 8.6C which is only a degree or so below normal, but a cold, dry polar airstream towards the end of the month made it feel colder than it was. We had colder Aprils in 2008, 2012 and 2013, but in those years April did at least finish up warmer than it started.

The rainfall total was 42.8mm which is right on the average – although it is often showery, April isn’t usually a particularly wet month. Despite occasional heavy showers there were no exceptional rainfall totals, and the wettest day was the 11th with 10.2mm.

Up to the 16th low pressure was in charge, with rain most days and a blustery spell around the 8th and a thunderstorm on the 14th. On the 16th a calm day with clear skies brought the highest temperature of the month at 17.9C, but even that was enough to spark off a heavy convective shower late in the afternoon.

Pressure began to build on the 16th, and from the 18th to the 21st whole the UK was under a large high pressure system. Although it was dry, there was high-level cloud which kept a lid on daytime temperatures but just allowed an air frost (-0.3C) early on the 17th.

The high moved away on the 21st, and for the next week we found ourselves between high pressure to our west and lows to our east. The result was a stream of cold, dry air fresh from the arctic keeping temperatures down and adding a noticeable chill factor. As this cold air met warm, moist air on its journey south, it generated some lively but very localised convective showers – April certianly lived up to its reputation in that respect – and on the 26th we were were treated to sleet in the morning (there was snow on the Brecon Beacons and Dartmoor) and a thunderstorm over the Bristol Channel during the afternoon. On the 28th it was cold enough for another overnight air frost.

Below-average temperatures in March and April mean that this spring is off to a cool start after our remarkably mild winter. Let’s hope May can put that right.

March 2016 summary

March was cool, wet and windy, although thanks to a spell of high pressure in the middle of the month it didn’t always feel that way. Total rainfall was 62.4mm which is on the high side for March but within the normal range. The average temperature was 6.6C, about a degree below normal, and there were six air frosts – more than we had in December 2015 or January 2016. In fact, March was colder than both December and January, and only 0.6C warmer than February. The highest temperature during the month was 14.2C on the 25th, the lowest March maximum we have recorded.

A spell of persistent high pressure, the first we have seen for some months, lasted from the 10th to the 21st and brought calm weather. There was some cloud, particularly towards the end of the period, but there were clear days too and when the sun shone it felt warmer than it was – helped by the lack of wind.

This quiet spell was sandwiched between two unsettled periods, with storm Jake early in the month and Katie on the 28th. Jake arrived on the 2nd as a secondary low pressure system which formed quickly over northern England while the “parent” low was north of Scotland. Squally weather here produced gusts to 40kts, but nothing out of the ordinary for March. Low pressure systems continued over the next week with some blustery convective showers, and on the 8th / 9th a low pressure system passing up the English Channel produced persistent overnight rain totalling 18.8mm.

After that soaking the high pressure arrived, and we saw no further rain until the 24th. The 25th saw a brief return to clear weather under a ridge of high pressure, but from the 26th the lows were in charge again. Storm Katie formed to the west of Ireland on the 27th and arrived here in the early hours of the 28th, passing right overhead shortly before 4am: before that time a South Easterly wind was gusting to 25kts, then there was a brief period of calm before a strong westerly wind signalled that the low was moving off east. A gust of 43kts was recorded at 0359, and the temperature dropped from 9.8C to 4C in the fresh polar air. Katie produced 16.2mm of rain.

As we came to the end of the month pressure began to rise again, bringing one final air frost early on the 31st.

February 2016 and winter summary

Coming after a couple of mild months dominated by a warm south-westerly airstream, February finally brought a bit more variety to the winter weather with gales, some spells of high pressure, and cold air from the north and east.

The month began with unsettled weather dominated by Atlantic lows, with gusts over 40kts on the 2nd and a long period of rain on the 6th which bought us a total of 27.8mm (but over 100mm down on Dartmoor). Things reached a climax on the morning the 8th, when a low pressure system crossing the south of the UK produced a gust of 50kts and an average wind speed of 33kts – both new records for this station.

The middle of the month saw quieter and brighter weather and a cold easterly wind, as a ridge of high pressure moved up from the south-west. The first air frost was recorded on the 11th, and the lowest temperature of the month was -3.4C early on the 16th.

The ridge dissipated over the following days and on the 21st a low pressure system north of Scotland drew in very warm air over the south of the UK, while the north shivered in a polar airstream behind the cold front. The temperature here reached 15.3C during the afternoon of the 21st, equalling a record set in February 2012. It wasn’t to last, though, and the as the cold front made its way southwards we were soon in the polar air too, with clear skies and overnight frosts.

The last week of February was dominated by high pressure over the south of the UK and a dry north-easterly breeze, which made it feel colder than it was.

The rainfall total for February was a modest 57mm. It wasn’t particularly cold overall – the average of 6.0C was actually a little above normal – but there were nine air frosts during the month compared with only three in January and none at all in December. It was a windy month, thanks mostly to the gales during the first week or so, and a wind run of 3520nm makes it our second-windiest February – beaten only by the storms of February 2014.

The extraordinarily mild December and a mild January combined to make this the warmest winter we have recorded here, with an average temperature of 8.1C – the next warmest was 2013/14 which averaged 6.8C, so the gap is large. This has also been our windiest winter, with a total wind run of 9,698 nautical miles – the previous record was 9,579NM in 2011/12, and 2013/4 which is remembered for the St Valentine’s Day storm managed only 9,010NM. The winter’s rainfall total was an unexceptional 186.4mm.