A brief blast – the storm has passed

It’s 0500 on Monday 28th October, and the worst of the anticipated storm seems to have passed. The low pressure system that has been causing so much concern moved up the Bristol Channel from about midnight, and it is now centred over the East Midlands.

Sunday was a blustery day because of a low pressure system that passed to the north of Scotland. That brought us 6.8mm of rain and winds gusting to 28kts. As the system moved off to the east, the barometer here started to fall again at about 1800 – the first sign of the low approaching us from the south west.

A period of light winds from about 2100 was accompanied by continuous rain as the warm front associated with the low approached us. The front arrived here at 0100 bringing an increase in wind speeds to around 10-20kts – breezy but nothing exceptional. Temperatures rose to 16C as the warm sector passed through, and then at about 0415 the cold front arrived. This brought winds of about 24kts gusting to 37.4kts by 0430: but the wind was short-lived, and once the cold front had passed through the windspeed quickly fell back to 10-20kts.

At the time of writing, this system has brought us just over 11mm of rain but there will be more to come during the morning. The maximum gust of 37.4kts at 0422 is the highest so far this year, but it isn’t a record-breaker – we recorded 44kts in December 2008, and 40kts or more has been seen every year since then except for 2011. Our windiest spell was back on 10 March 2008, when windspeeds exceeded 20kts for several hours (and the barometer dropped to 959.4hPa – today’s minimum was 977.5hPa). Today’s high winds only lasted half an hour, so with luck any damage will be limited.

One final point – the rainfall total for October now stands at 126.8mm, and I see that two weeks ago I predicted that our monthly total would not reach the 116mm that we recorded in October 2012. I got that wrong! This month has been by far the wettest so far in 2013,and after a dry start our year-to-date total of 484.4mm is now well into the normal range.

A warm, wet start to October

Following a warm start for the first four days of October, temperatures have been right on the average for the rest of the first half of this month. This morning provided a reminder that winter is on the way, though, with a low of 2.9C at 0739 – the lowest temperature so far this autumn. Mist hid the sun for most of the morning and it wasn’t until about 11am that it finally broke through to warm things up a bit.

The warm start to the month brought some heavy rainfall and the current total of 52.4mm isn’t far off the average for a full October, but fortunately we’re not likely to reach the 116mm that we saw in October last year. This year is still our second driest on record with 410mm so far: at this point in 2010 we had recorded 340mm. On the other hand, at the same time in 2008 we had recorded 735.4mm, and in 2012 the figure was 714mm.

September 2013 summary

September’s average temperature of 14.6C was normal for the time of year, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. With day lengths rapidly shortening we would expect the end of September to be perceptibly cooler than the start, but that didn’t happen this year: the average for the first half of the month was 14.5C, and for the second half it was 14.6C. We would normally expect the second half of September to be around 1.5C cooler than the first.

The cause of this anomaly was a cold spell around the 7th and 8th, when daily average temperatures fell to around 11C, and a warm final week with averages around 16C.

The last week of September was also notable for the lack of wind, thanks to the influence of nearby high pressure systems. From the 21st until the end of the month the maximum wind speed recorded was 4kts, and some days saw hardly any wind at all. This static and rather humid air made it feel warmer still.

Rainfall for the month was 59.8mm, right on the average for September.