October 2013 – wet, warm and windy.

WET

October’s total of 140mm of rain made it the wettest October on record here, and the fourth wettest month since the station was set up in September 2007. There were only two completely dry days, the 10th and the 15th, and there were five days with rainfall totals over 10mm. October 2013 was considerably wetter than October 2012, the Year of the Deluge.

After a dry start to the year, the rainfall total for 2013 is now well into the normal range.

WARM

October’s average temperature was 13.1C, about 1.5C above the average for October and the second warmest October on record here. The warmest was October 2011 which averaged 13.2C, but the high average in October 2011 was due largely to exceptional temperatures (up to 28C) in the first three days of the month. October 2013 saw warm and humid spells in the first and third weeks, and there were only a couple of days when the average temperature fell below 10C. The end of the month was not much cooler than the beginning, yet we would expect temperatures to be falling quite rapidly at this time of year.

WINDY

After all the attention given to the storm on 28th October this has to have a mention, but overall October was only slightly windier than normal. I mentioned in my post on 28 October that the highest gust recorded here was 37.4kts, which isn’t really exceptional – in most years we will see one or two gusts exceeding 40kts. Moreover, the high winds didn’t last long and it was all over in half an hour.

What is now clear is that the low pressure system that generated the wind developed more slowly than anticipated, and as it passed up the Bristol Channel and into the Midlands it was still gathering strength. Hence the east of the country suffered more than we did (and perhaps they aren’t as used to a bit of a blow as we are!), and by the time the low reached Denmark it was at full strength.

None of this takes any credit away from the forecasters, who saw this system coming before it actually existed. The potential for damage and disruption was spotted early, and the track of the low was forecast with increasing accuracy as time went on. The fact that the low deepened a little more slowly than anticipated is a minor issue in a good piece of forecasting.