This morning’s minimum temperature of -1.3C, recorded shortly after 0700, was our first air frost of this autumn. A low of -1.3C is nothing out of the ordinary for November, but what is exceptional is that it is also the lowest temperature we have seen so far this year – the previous low was -1.2C back in January, during a winter which saw only about a third of the number of frosts we would usually expect. The temperature did not fall below freezing at all during February.
What we did get in January and February was rain, of course, and our year-to-date rainfall total still reflects that. So far this year we have recorded 902.6mm, and 2014 is still in the running to be the wettest year we have recorded here – the current total is higher than at this point in the very soggy years of 2012 and 2008. The current month has been wet with 93.2m so far, but we would need a wet December as well if we are to exceed 2012’s total of 1008.2mm.
As well as being in the running for our wettest year, 2014 is almost certain to be our warmest. The average temperature so far in 2014 is 12.3C, compared with an average of about 11C for the first 11 months of previous years – the previous high was 11.3C in 2009, a full degree cooler than this year. This is the year that has seen our mildest winter, our warmest spring, our second-warmest summer (only missing joint-warmest by 0.1C) and, very shortly, our warmest autumn. Just for good measure, February 2014 saw our highest wind gust of 46kts and the highest average wind-speed of 30.6kts.
This has been an extraordinary year, and it isn’t over yet.
October can be summarised as warm, wet and (for one day at least) windy. This follows our warmest September on record: but whereas September was dominated by high pressure, October saw a more normal procession of Atlantic lows which often drew warm air up from the south – hence the mildness, as well as the rain.
The average temperature for October was 13.2C making it the joint warmest October on record here with October 2011, although we didn’t match the maximum of 28C that was recorded that month. The highest temperature recorded in October this year was 21.4C on the third which is not exceptional. The minimum temperature was 4.2C on the 12th, and that is unusual – it is the highest October minimum we have seen here, in a month which often sees the first air frost of the autumn.
We had a total of 113.4mm of rain, with rain recorded on 21 days. That total might have been higher had the thunderstorms that caused flooding in Devon on the 16th made it across Exmoor: but as it was, although thunder could be heard as the remnants of the storm made its way across the Levels, we had no heavy rain. The wettest day was the 4th with 21.8mm.
This was the third October in a row with a rainfall total exceeding 100mm, and it was the wettest month since January of this year. Our year-to-date total is 809.2mm, the highest total we have recorded at this point in the year. The equivalent figure for 2008 was 796.4mm, and for 2012 it was 758.2mm: but the last two months of 2012 also produced high totals, making that our wettest year on record with 1008.2mm. We would need two more unusually wet months to beat that figure.
The windiest day of the month was the 21st with a gust of 32.2kts, as a low pressure system that had once been Hurricane Gonzalo passed by. Overall, though, October was not an exceptional month for wind.
With above-average temperatures in September and October, this is shaping up to be a warm autumn – but there’s another month to go.