Today’s daytime (0600-1800) average temperature was 12.6C making this the warmest February day since the station opened in 2007, and beating the previous record of 12.4C set in 2011. The maximum temperature recorded today was 15.3C, which equals a record set in February 2012.
Despite today’s exceptional mildness, this February is currently in third place for the overall average temperature – 2014 and 2011 were both warmer – and with some cold air on its way to us for the coming week that situation is unlikely to change. We can be pretty sure, though, that this will turn out to be our mildest winter on record thanks to the exceptionally mild December and January.
We have had plenty of warnings that low-pressure system Irene would bring notable gales, and we have just seen a new gust speed record for this station – 49.6 kts (57mph) was recorded at 1115 today. The previous record of 46.1 kts was set during that very stormy spell almost exactly two years ago when the railway in South Devon was washed away.
Lets hope there is no repeat of damage on that scale, but at the time of writing (1130) wind speeds are still increasing – the average is currently 34kts, which is also a new record for this station. The MetO forecast is that the peak will be around lunchtime today, so we may see even higher values before things quieten down.
Apologies for the break in service late this afternoon. As local residents will know, the power went off here at about 1515 and didn’t come back for a little over two hours. The computer can run for a while without mains electricity, but closed down at 1715 when the battery power ran out. Hence the web site updates stopped until power was restored and the system rebooted. I then did a check to make sure we had lost no data – all is well.
We know the power cut was caused by damage to overhead lines in the village, and it may well be associated with a wind gust of 41kts which occurred at 1515 – exactly the time the power went off. The gust was associated with a squally shower which only produced 0.2mm of rain, but also caused a sharp drop in temperature and, as we saw, packed quite a punch in the wind department as well. There are quite a few squally showers on the radar at the moment, but we can do without any more like that one – at least until the batteries here have recharged!
Ah, well – it looked for a couple of days as if January was going to bring us some proper Winter weather, but Atlantic low pressure systems dominated and it was another month that was more notable for warmth than cold – though not quite so extreme as December.
The first week or so of January saw a continuation of that warm and humid airstream which characterised most of December, so that daytime temperatures were generally into double figures. A succession of Atlantic lows meant that it rained most days and there were a few blustery winds. During the second week things became a little cooler as the lows began to draw in polar air, and a short-lived ridge of high pressure brought clear skies and our first air frost since November early on the 16th with a minimum of -1.4C.
Temperatures dropped again on the 19th and 20th when a slack area of high pressure formed over the south of the UK, with a minimum of -5.9C recorded early on the 20th: but the following day saw the return of the mild South Atlantic airstream and temperatures were soon back into double figures, with a maximum of 14.7C on the 24th.
The average temperature for the month was 6.8C, a degree or so above normal and our warmest January since 2008. Rainfall came to 66.4mm which is nothing exceptional, and although there were some blustery days it was not an unusually windy month.
With a mild January and the exceptionally mild December, it will be no surprise the average temperature so far this winter is well above normal at 9.0C – that’s about 3.5C higher than we would expect at this point. The warmest winter we have recorded here so far was 2013/14 which averaged 6.8C, so unless something remarkable happens during February that record looks set to be broken.