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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 634 For OCTOBER 2008
CHANGEABLE WITH HEAVY OROGRAPHIC RAIN; WARM SECOND WEEK, BUT EXCEPTIONALLY WINTRY FINAL WEEK
Text Box: This was the most westerly October since 1986, and the ninth most westerly in 136 years of records. There was a cyclonic bias during the first week, an anticyclonic one during the second week, and the month ended with an Arctic outbreak of rare severity for the season.

A vigorous northwesterly flow during the first three days brought rather cold but bright weather to all districts, although there were also blustery showers which were wintry over the Scottish hills. A deepening depression crossing northern Scotland resulted in a wet and windy day on the 4th and it was cold enough in Shetland (max 5.3C at Baltasound) for snow at low levels for a time; a secondary disturbance crossing southern districts meant that the rain lasted for much of the 5th here too. Capel Curig (Snowdonia) recorded 90mm in 24h, the culmination of a six-day wet spell which delivered 233mm. Colder, clearer northwesterlies returned during the 5th bringing 10.5h of sunshine to Berwick (Northumberland) and the following night was frosty even in southern England. A further rain-belt crossed all areas on the 7th.

Pressure now rose strongly across southern Britain although a moist southwesterly flow continued to affect Scotland. Most southern, central and eastern parts enjoyed five days of warm and sunny weather from the 8th till the 12th although morning fog was slow to clear from some areas. The temperature approached or exceeded 20C quite widely on the 11th and 12th, peaking at 22.9C at Stratfield Mortimer (Berks) and Broadness (Kent) on the latter date. The 13th was cloudier but still quite warm with 21.4C at Manston (Kent). Throughout this period rain fell frequently and heavily in northern and western districts resulting in some flooding; Dundrennan and Threave (both Kirkcudbrightshire) each collected 85mm in 48h on the 9th-10th. Temperatures returned to the seasonal normal over the next few days, and after a few days of cloudy skies it became much brighter again in southern and eastern districts between the 16th and 18th.

The following week was very disturbed especially in western and northern regions as three intense depressions passed close to northern Scotland on the 19th-20th, the 23rd, and the 25th. Gales swept exposed coasts and hills with peak gusts of 81kn at
Text Box: Lerwick and 77kn at Fair Isle onthe 25th. The rain associated with each of the systems was heavy and prolonged over west-facing coasts and slopes, and a combination of heavy rain and rough winds brought about the cancellation of the two-day Lake District marathon on the 25th, with many competitors having to be rescued. On that day alone 92mm fell at Capel Curig and 80mm at Shap (Cumbria). 

In the wake of the last of these depressions, winds veered northerly during the 26th-27th, ushering in a brief Arctic outbreak of unusual severity for October. At first, snow showers were confined to Scottish coasts and hills with remaining regions enjoying long sunny periods. On the 28th, however, a shallow depression travelled southeastwards across England, bringing a period of rain and sleet which turned readily to snow as a renewed surge of Arctic air engaged the rear of the disturbance. Some 3 to 5cm of snow fell over hillier parts of the Midlands and over the Chiltern Hills, with 7cm at Whipsnade (Beds). This was quite possibly the heaviest and most widespread October snowfall in southern Britain since 1880. The days high at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) was just 0.9C, and that night the mercury fell to 6.6C at Topcliffe (North Yorks). Further rain and hill snow fell in Northern Ireland and western Britain on the 29th in association with a southward moving depression, and that night an exceptional thunder and hailstorm struck east Devon leading to serious flooding in the Otter valley. Dunkeswell (Devon) collected 78mm of rain and hail, but it is possible that as much as 120-150mm may have fallen locally. Strong northeasterly winds maintained the cold weather during the last two days of the month.

Mean temperature was between 0.5 and 1.5degC below the 1971-2000 mean in most parts of the country, with the larger anomalies in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and averaged nationally it was the coldest October since 2003. Frequent orographically-enhanced rainfall meant that some western upslopes recorded 250 per cent or more of the long-term average, while the rain-shadow districts of northeast England had little more than 50 per cent. Sunshine was plentiful, especially in eastern and central parts of both England and Scotland, and excesses of 25-35 per cent were typical in East Anglia and the Southeast.
                                                                                                                                             
    TEMPERATURE   SUNSHINE   RAINFALL        
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                  Highest and lowest totals             Highest and lowest totals        
                                  on record for month    
Maximum fall in 24 hrs
   (beginning 09 h)
        on record for month    
Days with snow or sleet
 
Days with fog
(Vis <220 yards at 09 h)
 
                                                                                         
     
Difference from average
   
Difference from average
 
Highest maximum
   
Lowest minimum
   
No. of days with grass
  minimum below 0C
   
Days of no sunshine
 
Maximum duration
       
First year of record
         
Days of no rainfall
 (0.1 mm or less)
         
First year of record
         
Days with thunder
     
  PLACE  
Mean Maximum
   
Mean minimum
             
No. of air frosts
       
Total for month
                   
Total for month
                   
                               
% of average
                   
% of average
                 
                                                                     
                                   
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
             
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
       
             
Date
   
Date
         
Date
         
Year
         
Date
         
Year
           
                                                                     
    C     C     C     C           Hrs     Hrs       Hrs     Hrs       mm     mm       mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                             
  *Hampstead   14.1   -0.1   07.0   -1.1   22.0   12   -01.6   29   06   02   03   07.6   12   122   122   1910   169   1997   050   1976   17   08.8   28   042   074   1910   177   1987   05   1947   00   02   00  
  Thorney Island   14.6   -0.5   07.1   -0.6   19.8   12   00.2   29   07   00   02   09.8   08   141   122   1958   176   1994   076   1963   11   19.0   04   056   076   1941   213   1987   02   1969   01   01   00  
  *Wattisham   13.5   -0.6   05.8   -0.9   18.3   11   -02.2   28   13   03   04   10.0   11   137   131   1968   155   1997   055   1976   06   14.0   05   052   112   1960   139   1960   03   1972   00   02   01  
  *Wittering   13.5   -0.2   06.1   -0.6   20.8   12   -03.5   29   10   02   02   09.4   09   144   140   1950   165   1959   051   1976   19   28.0   04   050   110   1948   126   1960   04   1978   00   01   01  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   13.3   -0.6   06.6   +0.1   20.0   12   -03.6   29   10   01   04   09.7   08   132   126   1952   161   1999   053   1968   03   11.9   20   055   094   1945   176   1949   05   1978   00   02   00  
  Ross-on-Wye   13.9   -0.3   06.5   -0.3   22.2   12   -01.7   29   07   01   05   08.9   21   132   142   1915   156   1919   037   1915   14   13.9   04   061   107   1859   216   1907   09   1969   00   01   01  
  *St Athan   13.8   -0.1   08.4   +0.3   19.7   12   -01.7   29   05   01   06   09.8   08   119   123   1954   153   1997   045   1968   09   15.6   04   086   101   1954   249   1998   11   1978   01   00   00  
  St Mawgan   13.5   -0.7   09.2   -0.1   18.8   12   01.0   29   02   00   04   09.8   08   134   120   1945   169   1994   051   1968   09   20.4   20   104   113   1944   217   1987   19   1965   01   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   12.8   -0.4   07.0   -0.3   20.1   12   -01.1   29   05   01   02   08.8   12   115   120   1887   152   1997   027   1893   15   23.1   04   067   090   1887   191   1998   07   1969   00   01   00  
  *Valley   13.0   -1.1   09.1   0.0   16.0   12   02.7   29   02   00   08   09.1   08   088   084   1946   151   1965   053   1968   08   31.6   25   165   187   1941   208   2000   09   1947   00   01   00  
  *Woodford   12.7   -0.6   06.2   -0.4   18.3   12   -03.5   29   13   03   07   08.4   12   091   096   1945   136   1959   062   1960   06   33.6   25   144   209   1942   191   2000   14   1946   00   01   01  
  *Watnall   12.9   -0.8   06.7   0.0   20.3   12   -02.6   29   08   02   01   08.7   08   122   119   1948   133   1995   045   1960   13   18.6   04   056   123   1942   143   1960   08   1947   00   01   01  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   13.1   -0.4   05.7   -0.8   18.8   10   -02.9   30   08   03   03   08.3   16   119   130   1945   144   1981   047   2005   14   07.6   04   039   077   1945   134   2004   07   1962   00   01   01  
  *Boulmer   12.7   0.0   06.1   -0.8   18.2   10   -00.3   30   03   01   01   09.5   05   120   120   1945   156   1986   046   2005   14   06.6   30   035   058   1945   159   2002   07   1985   00   01   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   10.5   -1.1   04.1   -0.5   14.7   07   -03.0   29   16   06   07   09.1   05   063   082   1911   130   1959   037   2005   06   53.2   25   * 334   238   1911   331   1967   12   1951   00   03   00  
  *Bishopton   11.7   -1.3   05.5   -0.8   15.7   10   -00.4   30   10   01   05   09.6   05   099   124   1921   138   1993   030   1940   09   31.0   25   200   207   1921   266   1995   20   1951   00   02   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   12.1   -0.8   04.8   -1.2   17.7   10   -03.2   30   15   02   02   07.8   02   126   125   1922   152   1986   048   1960   10   08.2   07   044   079   1922   183   2004   05   1951   00   01   00  
  *Dyce   11.7   -0.7   05.3   -0.6   18.6   10   -00.3   28   13   01   06   08.0   24   117   127   1941   156   1986   030   1960   12   13.6   07   062   081   1941   230   2002   08   1985   00   01   00  
  *Stornoway   10.7   -1.2   05.9   -0.8   15.0   10   00.1   28   03   00   08   07.0   08   070   092   1880   135   1898   034   1921   01   15.2   03   182   145   1943   231   1989   19   1946   00   02   00  
  *Aldergrove   11.8   -1.0   06.3   -0.8   16.7   10   -00.7   29   07   01   09   07.7   31   093   115   1927   117   1939   049   1954   06   15.0   10   100   121   1927   176   1976   19   1951   00   01   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                             
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's     * Highest on record  
  sunshine figures are made at a nearby site.