New average wind speed record

Overnight wind speeds reached a peak at about 0230 today, with a gust of 43.5kts and an average wind speed of 32.3kts.

We have seen higher gusts. 46.1kts was recorded early on 15 February last year and 44kts back in December 2008, so this morning’s gust is our third-highest. The average speed of 32.3kts is a new record for this station, though – the previous record was 30.6kts, also back in February 2014.

It’s still blowing out there now, although the peak has passed. Hold on to your hat!


Partial eclipse

For this morning’s partial eclipse we were right on the edge of a blanket of cloud, which I guess might have spoiled things for those in the South East. After a misty morning it was touch-and-go how thick the cloud here would be at the time of the eclipse, but in the end we got a good view through a thin layer of cloud – not thick enough to spoil an image projected onto a piece of card.

During the eclipse light levels dropped to give a watery and rather eerie effect, and it felt quite chilly as the sun dimmed. The air temperature dropped from 5.4C at the start of the eclipse to 5C at maximum, at a time when it would normally be rising as the sun gained strength. As the sun reappeared the thermometer rose quite rapidly while light (and heat) levels got back to normal. Not a big air temperature change, then, and well within the range of variation that we might see due to other causes, but there was certainly a drop in temperature which coincided with the eclipse and which was not due to air movement – it was calm.

Looks like a bright, sunny day today – enjoy!

February 2015 summary

The first half of February was dry and cold and the second half was wet and windy, with a good deal of unsettled weather.

The month began with a cold, dry airstream from the north drawn down by a low to the north of Scotland, and although daytime temperatures were above freezing it felt much colder in the low humidity. As the low moved off to Scandinavia it was replaced by an area of high pressure, which ensured the cold weather continued – night frosts were frequent, but no rain fell in the first 12 days of the month.

The high moved off on the 13th to be replaced by the the first of a series of Atlantic lows and the first rain of the month. Except for a short break on the 17th/18th, when high pressure to our south brought quiet weather, the second half of February was dominated by these lows. The wettest day was the 19th with 14mm of rain, and a particularly unstable low pressure system on the 23rd generated thunder and some wet snow, with a gust of 33.9kts being recorded early on the 24th.

The rainfall total for the month was 64.6mm, out second highest February total, and all of this fell in the second half February. The average temperature was 4.8C, a little below normal.

Winter 2014/5 was our second-wettest on record with a total of 236mm, and the average temperature was an unremarkable 5.7C. There were no exceptional frosts, but there was record high of 15.2C on 9 January. The maximum wind gust was 41.7kts in January, but there was no repeat of last year’s damaging gales.