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.
We have had plenty of warnings that low-pressure system Irene would bring notable gales, and we have just seen a new gust speed record for this station – 49.6 kts (57mph) was recorded at 1115 today. The previous record of 46.1 kts was set during that very stormy spell almost exactly two years ago when the railway in South Devon was washed away.
Lets hope there is no repeat of damage on that scale, but at the time of writing (1130) wind speeds are still increasing – the average is currently 34kts, which is also a new record for this station. The MetO forecast is that the peak will be around lunchtime today, so we may see even higher values before things quieten down.
Apologies for the break in service late this afternoon. As local residents will know, the power went off here at about 1515 and didn’t come back for a little over two hours. The computer can run for a while without mains electricity, but closed down at 1715 when the battery power ran out. Hence the web site updates stopped until power was restored and the system rebooted. I then did a check to make sure we had lost no data – all is well.
We know the power cut was caused by damage to overhead lines in the village, and it may well be associated with a wind gust of 41kts which occurred at 1515 – exactly the time the power went off. The gust was associated with a squally shower which only produced 0.2mm of rain, but also caused a sharp drop in temperature and, as we saw, packed quite a punch in the wind department as well. There are quite a few squally showers on the radar at the moment, but we can do without any more like that one – at least until the batteries here have recharged!
Ah, well – it looked for a couple of days as if January was going to bring us some proper Winter weather, but Atlantic low pressure systems dominated and it was another month that was more notable for warmth than cold – though not quite so extreme as December.
The first week or so of January saw a continuation of that warm and humid airstream which characterised most of December, so that daytime temperatures were generally into double figures. A succession of Atlantic lows meant that it rained most days and there were a few blustery winds. During the second week things became a little cooler as the lows began to draw in polar air, and a short-lived ridge of high pressure brought clear skies and our first air frost since November early on the 16th with a minimum of -1.4C.
Temperatures dropped again on the 19th and 20th when a slack area of high pressure formed over the south of the UK, with a minimum of -5.9C recorded early on the 20th: but the following day saw the return of the mild South Atlantic airstream and temperatures were soon back into double figures, with a maximum of 14.7C on the 24th.
The average temperature for the month was 6.8C, a degree or so above normal and our warmest January since 2008. Rainfall came to 66.4mm which is nothing exceptional, and although there were some blustery days it was not an unusually windy month.
With a mild January and the exceptionally mild December, it will be no surprise the average temperature so far this winter is well above normal at 9.0C – that’s about 3.5C higher than we would expect at this point. The warmest winter we have recorded here so far was 2013/14 which averaged 6.8C, so unless something remarkable happens during February that record looks set to be broken.
Winter finally seems to have arrived following our extraordinarily mild December, with the thermometer dropping to -5.9C at 0351 today. That isn’t an exceptional figure for mid-winter, but we do have to go back a bit to find a lower one – to 4 February 2012 to be precise, when we recorded -6.9C. Our record low is -11.3C back in December 2010, and last night’s temperature was our 18th-lowest since the station was set up in 2007, so it’s a long way off being a record-breaker. Last night’s average temperature (1800-0600) was -3.4C, our 11th= coldest night, so no prizes there either. Still, after all the mildness of recent months it certainly feels cold, and it’s good to see some clear skies again.
The average temperature so far this January is 5.6C which is what we would expect at this time of year, and 52.6mm of rain so far is about right too. After all the anomalous weather we saw at the end of 2015, things seem to have got back to normal.
The barometer on the weather station is behaving erratically – from time to time it is under-reading by up to 3 hPa, then returning to the correct value. A replacement part has been ordered, but in the meantime if the pressure figure on the web site looks wrong then it probably is. Apologies for the problem.
Update 15 January 2016 – the barometer problem should now be fixed.
December was one of the most extraordinary months we have recorded here, and not always for good reasons. The outstanding feature here was the mildness, but for many in the north of the UK it will be remembered for the rainfall that led to catastrophic flooding.
Our December rainfall total was 63mm. Many places further north recorded much more than that in a day – maybe on several days – but there was no exceptional rainfall here: it rained on 25 days during the month, and the highest daily total was 15.8mm on the 30th.
Although we didn’t get the extreme rainfall, we did feel some effects of the procession of low pressure systems that caused so much damage further north. It was a windy month, our second-windiest December since the station was set up in 2007 and our sixth-windiest month overall. As storm Frank was bringing havoc to Northern Ireland and Scotland on the 30th, high winds caused the collapse of the derelict pier at Birnbeck Island not far from here: but the highest windspeeds were felt during a squally shower on the 31st with a gust of 33.9kts.
December’s average temperature was 11.2C, by far the warmest we have recorded (December 2011 was next warmest with 7.6C), 0.2C warmer than the previous month (which was the warmest November we have recorded), and a full 6C above normal for the time of year. The maximum temperature was 15.4C on the 20th, also a new December record, and the warmest day (0600-1800) was Christmas day with an average of 14.2C – which was equalled by Christmas night (1800-0600), also averaging 14.2C. These are figures we would expect to see in May or June.
Like November, it was an overwhelmingly dull month with a persistent warm and humid south-westerly airstream – there were only a couple of clear spells, and one of these brought the lowest overnight temperature of 2.3C early on the 9th. There was no air frost – the thermometer never dropped to freezing, another first for December at this station.
We arrived at the end of 2015 with the grass still growing – our second-warmest year on record with an average of 11.2C, a figure beaten only by last year which averaged 11.6C. The highest temperature recorded during 2015 was 29.7C on 1st July, and the lowest was -3.4C on 23rd January (we had frosts then – remember them?). The rainfall total for the year was 785mm, close to our average yearly figure. Overall, this has been an uninspiring year with a particularly lacklustre summer and few redeeming features. Here’s to 2016!
As the north of England struggles with prolonged rainfall and catastrophic flooding, down here the December temperature records just keep on falling. Yesterday saw a new record daytime (0600-1800) average of 14.2C: and, if that wasn’t enough, Christmas night (1800/25th to 0600/26th) saw exactly the same average, beating the overnight record set only a few days ago.
The average so far this December is now 11.3C, about 6C above what we would expect for December and still warmer than the record-breaking November.
As I’m typing this I see the thermometer is at 14.5C and rising. I wonder if we might see a new maximum temperature too – the current record is 15.4C early on the 20th. Watch this space.*
(*) Update 1900 – no new maximum temperature record today, but we came close with 15.3C at 1355. More exceptionally mild weather is forecast before the end of the month, though, so it could still happen.
Yesterday’s record December temperature of 15.1C has been beaten already – just after midnight, thanks to warm air streaming up from the southwest, the thermometer here reached a new December high of 15.4C.
The average overnight temperature (1800-0600) hit 13.9C again, despite some clear spells, and this month’s average temperature now stands at 11.5C: warmer than November, and approaching October’s average of 11.8C.
There has been some talk in the media today about the exceptional warmth last night, and the figures for this weather station are no exception – last night’s average for 1800-0600 was 13.9C, by far the warmest December night we have recorded since the station was set up in 2007. To underline how very mild this December has been, seven of the top 10 warmest December days and nights recorded here have occurred during this month.
The average temperature so far this month is now 11.4C: that’s an increase of 0.3C on the average up to three days ago, and 0.4C warmer than the average for the whole of last month (which was our warmest November on record). A normal figure for this point in December would be 5.1C, and the previous record-holder for the same period was 2013 with 7.4C – so this December so far is 4C warmer than 2013, and the gap is widening.
One other point – at 0736 today we recorded a temperature of 15.1C, a new record high for December.
Needless to say there have been no air frosts this month, and from the forecasts it looks as if we could be heading for a frost-free December. Meanwhile, the hedge is still growing . . .
The mild weather that we experienced in November is still with us, and the mean temperature so far this month is 11.1C.
This station’s average for the first half of December in previous years is 5.2C, ranging from 1.3C for the first half of
Decemer 2010 to 7.5C in 2013. The current extraordinarily mild spell follows the warmest November we have recorded since the station was set up in 2007.
At this point in December we would normally have seen several air frosts: on average the thermometer here has dipped below zero on five or six occasions by the 16th. There had been 11 air frosts at this point in December 2010, but only one in 2011. In the first half of December this year the lowest temperature we have seen is 2.3C – there have been no air frosts at all.
As with November, the cause of this mildness is a persistent air flow from the south Atlantic: a conveyer belt of warm, wet air. Satellite images taken during the devastating rainfall in Cumbria from the low pressure system “Desmond” showed a line of cloud stretching right back to the Bahamas, and as this warm, humid air rose over the Lake District Fells it deposited rain for hour after hour. The rainfall total here so far this month is a modest 18.6mm, and apart from the unseasonal temperatures the main effect of the air stream has been a blanket of cloud – it has been unrelentingly dull and gloomy.
Forecasters are predicting even milder weather for the coming few days so we may see that December temperature average climb higher still. Gardeners will know that we need hard frosts in the winter to kill the pests and allow plants to become dormant and get some rest: I can tell you that the hedges and grass here are still growing.
November was unusually mild and windy, but not particularly wet. Low pressure systems were the dominant feature, but for much of the month there was a persistent high pressure area over Europe and, as the Atlantic lows moved along the northern edge of this high pressure, warm and humid air was channelled over the south of the UK – hence we saw a good deal of mild and cloudy weather.
November began with very quiet weather – almost a dead calm – and for the first couple of days low ground was covered in a blanket of fog while hilltops were bathed in sunshine. A temperature of 22.3C was recorded at Trawsgoed in Wales on the 1st, a new UK record for November, but here in the fog we could only manage 12.2C. The 6th produced a new November temperature record for this station, reaching 17.7C at lunchtime in cloudy conditions – a good indicator of the warmth of the south-westerly airstream. The arrival of the first low pressure system to be named by the Met Office, Abigail, on 12th November put an end to the quiet spell, and was soon followed by Barney which produced the highest wind speeds of the month – an average of 27kts gusting to 36kts was recorded on the evening of the 17th.
The only chilly spell was from the 20th-24th, when the high over Europe receded and Atlantic lows pulled cold Polar air over the UK, producing the only air frost of the month early on the 23rd. At least we saw some blue skies in the cold, clear air.
The end of the month saw another area of high pressure develop to our south and a deep low pressure system (Clodagh) to the north. This meant a return to milder weather, but also brought more wind and rain – alhough wind speeds were not quite as high as they were in the middle of the month, the wind was persistent. Overall, this was the second-windiest November recorded here.
It was also the warmest November we have recorded with an average of 11C, as well as that high of 17.7C. The rainfall total of 67.4mm, though, was a little below average.
Despite the mild November, overall autumn temperatures were about average at 12C – September and October were both fairly cool months and offset the mild November. Rainfall was below average, though not exceptional, at 150.6mm.
Updated 2 Dec 2015 to correct the date of the record high temperature of 17.7C.
The mean temperature for the 1st-15th November was 12.5C – that’s 3.2C higher than our average for the first half of November since the station was set up in 2007. This is by far the warmest start to November that we have recorded. The next warmest was 11.1C for the first half of November 2011, and in no other year has the average for that period exceeded 10C.
The month started with a warm south-easterly airflow, generated by low pressure systems in western Europe and a high over eastern Europe. The high then spread westwards, eventually covering all of continental Europe with a procession of Atlantic lows running along its northern edge. This put us into a warm south-westerly airstream – so although it has been cloudy and wet, the average daily temperature has only twice dipped below 10C and the blanket of cloud has kept the nights warm too.
Forecasters predict cooler weather by the weekend as the European high moves away and the Atlantic lows draw in cold air from the north. With such a warm start to the month, though, this could still turn out to be a very mild November.
A southerly airstream is keeping temperatures unseasonably high at the moment, and we recorded 17.7C at 1230 yesterday. That’s a new November record for this weather station – the previous maximum was 17.0C in November 2010, and again in 2011. Incidentally, that 2010 high was followed six weeks later by our record low temperature of -11.3C, on 19 December 2010.
The warm but rather wet weather looks set to continue for a few days yet, so we could see the November record broken again. Keep an eye on the month-to-date section on the Current Weather page.
October saw several spells of high pressure and as a consequence it was a quiet and dry month. Total rainfall was 36mm, making this the driest October since the station was set up back in 2007. The previous three Octobers all exceeded 100mm, and the October average for this station is 77mm.
The wind run for the month was 625nm, the quietest October we have recorded. The last three months of this year (Aug-Oct) have all seen well below-average wind run totals.
The month began with a spell of high pressure, and Atlantic lows only put in an appearance on three occasions – around the 6th, the 21st and from the 26th-30th. These accounted for all the rain recorded during the month, but there were no really wet days: the highest daily total was 7mm recorded on the 21st and again on the 30th. For the rest of October a succession of high pressure systems meant quiet weather – sometimes with blue skies, but there were spells of high-pressure gloom and early morning fog was a common feature.
The average temperature for October was close to normal at 11.8C and there were no exceptional highs or lows. At a time when we would expect temperatures to be falling, though, the end of October was nearly as warm as the beginning, thanks to a warm south-easterly airflow. The last day of the month combined this warmth with a clear, sunny day, making it quite hard to believe that November was about to arrive.
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.