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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 636 For DECEMBER 2008
COLD FIRST HALF, AND AGAIN TOWARDS THE END; GENERALLY DRY AND SUNNY
Text Box: The northwesterly and northerly outbreaks which had characterised late-October and November continued until mid-month. A milder southwesterly type held sway from the 16th to the 23rd, but during the last week a cold east to southeasterly flow affected the UK. Mean monthly sea-level pressure was 2 to 6mbar above normal over the British Isles, but it was not as anticyclonic as the Decembers 2001 or 1991.

Although northwesterly and northerly winds blew frequently until the 15th, depressions tracked southeastwards across the UK on the 2nd, the 4th-5th, and the 13th-14th, the latter two being particularly vigorous. During the first three days, all districts were cold with sunny spells and wintry showers and there were longer periods of rain or snow at times, the snow falling chiefly over Scotland and northern England where daytime temperatures struggled to get much above zero. Tulloch Bridge (Lochaber) recorded a minimum of -12.7C early on the 3rd. It was wet and windy for a time on the 4th, winds gusting to 60-70kn in exposed western locations, and heavy snow fell for a time over eastern and southern Scotland and northern England. There was a good deal of sunshine over the next few days - 8.1h at Southampton on the 7th - but it remained cold with widespread frost at night and there were further wintry showers, chiefly in northern and eastern districts. Freezing fog persisted all day locally in southwest Scotland and northwest England on the 12th.  Rain, preceded by snow in Scotland and northern England, spread across the whole country on the 12th and it became very windy again. Shap (Cumbria) collected 61mm of rain in 48h, and some flooding was reported from Somerset, Dorset and Devon. The rain turned to sleet for a time in East Anglia and the Southeast on the 13th before clearing.

A west to southwesterly airflow became established on the 16th and lasted about a week after which a large anticyclone transferred northwards across Spain and France to the UK on the 24th. It was wet and windy at times in northern and western districts from the 16th-21st, with 138mm of rain falling in six days at Tyndrum (Perthshire), while peak gusts exceeded 70kn in the Hebrides and the Northern Isles
Text Box: with 79kn recorded on Sule Skerry on the 19th. By contrast, amounts of rain in eastern, central and southern districts were trivial. It became very mild from the 18th-22nd with 14.2C reached at Prestatyn (Flintshire) on the 18th and at Rhyl (Denbighshire) on the 21st. The minimum at Machrihanish (Kintyre) overnight 20th/21st was 12.0C. The run up to Christmas was quiet, cloudy, and less mild.

The anticyclone moved to southern Scandinavia on the 25th, remaining there till the 29th before slipping towards the Balkans;its central pressure peaked at 1048mbar on the 26th. The cold east to southeasterly flow lasted until the months end. The final week, therefore, was cold and dry with a good deal of sunshine especially in western areas. The easterly wind was quite strong over England and Wales on the 26th and 27th but Southampton registered 7.9h of bright sunshine on both days. In Scotland winds were very light, and freezing fog formed widely, persisting for much of the last four days along the Moray coast. Aviemore (Inverness-shire) dropped below -10C on each night from the 28th, reaching -12.9C early on the 30th. Kinloss (Morayshire) was continuously below freezing from dusk on the 27th, and the 'high' there on the 30th was -4.0C.

Both mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were 1.0 to 1.5 degC below the 1971-2000 mean in all parts of the country; averaged nationally it was the coldest December since 2001 and at a few locations in southern England since 1996. Most of the months rainfall came around the 4th/5th, 12th/13th, and in Scotland between the 16th and 21st; in eastern, midland and southern counties of England there was little or no rain from the 14th onwards. Nationally, it was the driest December since 2001, but locally in Kent and East Anglia less than 20mm fell and here it was the driest since 1991. Averaged over the entire UK it was the sunniest since the record-breaking December of 2001, and monthly totals just exceeded 100h in the Channel Islands and at scattered places along the English Channel coast. A few spots in the West Country, northwest England and western Scotland enjoyed more sunshine in December than they had during August.
                                                                                                                                             
    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   06.3   -1.4   01.6   -0.8   12.5   20   -03.1   30   21   13   05   06.4   07   074   163   1910   086   2001   008   1956   19   12.5   13   023   037   1910   175   1914   10   1933   00   00   00  
  Thorney Island   07.2   -1.4   02.0   -1.7   11.8   20   -04.7   12   20   11   02   08.1   07   097   174   1958   114   2001   037   1966   20   19.8   13   039   054   1941   165   1993   19   1953   00   00   00  
  *Wattisham   05.3   -1.2   01.3   -1.5   11.7   21   -04.5   12   20   13   10   06.8   07   * 082   163   1979   082   1999   022   2002   15   10.2   13   025   048   1964   120   1965   24   1988   00   03   00  
  *Wittering   05.8   -0.7   01.6   -1.0   12.0   21   -04.6   31   21   10   09   06.8   06   080   157   1950   082   2001   020   1956   16   07.8   13   029   054   1948   130   1978   07   1963   00   02   01  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   05.6   -1.6   01.2   -1.6   10.6   20   -04.6   31   23   15   10   07.0   26   078   154   1952   083   2001   017   1956   11   23.1   12   050   069   1945   159   1959   16   1988   00   01   01  
  Ross-on-Wye   06.9   -0.5   01.7   -1.7   12.8   20   -05.0   07   23   12   07   06.5   03   068   137   1915   078   1948   012   1989   22   30.5   12   049   069   1859   197   1929   11   1991   00   01   00  
  *St Athan   06.8   -1.2   02.1   -2.0   10.8   20   -03.7   11   20   12   10   06.3   06   * 072   155   1954   072   2001   003   1956   13   16.0   12   050   054   1954   208   1965   31   1988   00   00   00  
  St Mawgan   08.8   -0.5   04.5   -1.1   12.2   20   -00.8   27   09   02   08   08.2   27   076   137   1945   103   2001   027   1988   09   22.9   12   065   056   1944   233   1959   30   1991   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   05.7   -1.7   02.2   -1.1   12.4   22   -03.7   31   22   10   05   06.2   03   054   121   1887   090   1891   005   1890   16   15.8   12   044   060   1887   166   1965   10   1926   00   02   00  
  *Valley   07.8   -1.1   03.4   -2.0   11.2   20   -03.6   31   16   07   10   06.1   06   063   128   1946   080   1960   025   1998   13   13.2   03   056   061   1941   179   1964   17   1963   00   00   00  
  *Woodford   05.8   -1.0   00.3   -2.0   11.4   21   -07.9   01   24   14   11   06.7   03   068   148   1945   075   2001   016   1947   09   18.6   12   078   099   1942   180   1965   11   1963   00   01   01  
  *Watnall   05.7   -0.8   01.6   -1.0   12.2   21   -04.4   31   22   12   11   06.8   03   070   138   1948   075   2001   012   1956   14   11.8   13   044   081   1941   180   1965   19   1963   00   03   01  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   06.0   -1.0   00.4   -1.9   12.6   21   -08.0   01   22   11   11   06.4   06   055   131   1945   077   1967   014   1972   16   15.8   13   049   081   1945   125   1978   16   1988   00   04   03  
  *Boulmer   06.7   -0.2   02.6   +0.2   12.8   21   -01.7   31   12   06   12   05.7   03   034   074   1945   082   2006   021   2002   14   18.8   13   067   112   1945   205   1978   17   1975   00   04   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   04.4   -1.0   -00.5   -1.3   10.9   21   -08.2   01   23   17   17   05.9   06   048   127   1911   074   1967   003   1912   13   33.6   19   148   092   1911   351   1993   33   1933   00   07   02  
  *Bishopton   05.6   -1.6   01.3   -0.9   11.3   19   -04.5   01   23   13   13   05.9   06   053   165   1921   072   2001   009   1956   10   26.8   19   119   112   1921   295   2006   15   1933   00   02   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   05.9   -0.8   00.9   -1.2   12.4   21   -04.3   01   22   12   11   05.5   06   050   096   1921   082   1967   016   1934   15   19.2   12   058   092   1921   155   1978   08   1926   00   03   00  
  *Dyce   06.2   -0.2   01.9   +0.4   13.6   21   -04.7   31   17   08   10   05.4   03   038   083   1941   088   2006   016   2002   12   27.8   13   107   134   1941   160   1978   20   1991   00   05   00  
  *Stornoway   07.0   -0.5   02.7   -0.6   11.5   19   -01.6   03   13   04   15   03.7   02   019   073   1880   057   1995   006   1884   10   17.2   07   097   078   1943   222   1985   29   1977   00   01   00  
  *Aldergrove   06.8   -0.3   02.2   -0.7   11.9   21   -03.4   07   19   09   11   06.3   06   056   157   1927   077   2001   017   1954   13   20.8   12   051   057   1927   195   1978   15   1963   00   01   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                             
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's   * New highest    
  sunshine figures are made at a nearby site.