Winter has finally arrived

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.

Barometer errors

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 and full year summary

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!