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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 638 For FEBRUARY 2009
COLD AND WINTRY FIRST HALF; MILD AND DRY BUT CLOUDY SECOND HALF
Text Box: finally cleared away. After a couple of quiet days a warm front wave tracked SE-wards across the country on the 12th bringing fresh snowfalls to eastern Scotland and eastern England, amounting to 10-15cm locally in Angus, Northumberland, Durham, North Yorkshire and Essex. Early-morning temperatures fell below -10C every night from the 6th to 11th; lowest minima included -18.4C on the 9th and -16.4C on the 10th, both at Aviemore (Inverness-shire). There were also some notably low daytime temperatures, including -3.0C at Okehampton (Devon) on the 2nd, -4.3C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness) on the 8th, and -5.7C at Altnaharra (Sutherland) on the 9th.

From the 15th onwards an anticyclone lay over or close to southern Britain, and dominated the weather in all regions, although a vigorous westerly flow encroached across Scotland from the 25th onwards. For much of the time the weather was cloudy and rather mild with daytime temperatures typically between 8 and 12C, there was little or no frost at night, but drizzle and hill fog occurred frequently. From time to time the cloud-cover broke, allowing some warm sunshine, and it was on these occasions that the temperature reached 15.0C at Aberfeldy (Perthshire) on the 17th, 14.6C at Strathallan (Perthshire) on the 23rd, and 16.9C at Canterbury (Kent) on the 27th. The last four days brought strong winds and heavy rain at times to northern and western Scotland, and a peak gust of 59kn was recorded at Kirkwall (Orkney) on the 25th. Over much of southern England, meanwhile, less than 2mm of rain fell between the 10th and 28th. Nowhere were the skies more incessantly grey than in Manchester where barely sunshine during the second fortnight totalled barely 3 hrs.

The mild second half more than offset the cold first half, and mean monthly temperature ranged from 0.5degC below the 1971-2000 norm locally in southwest England to 1.0degC above in northern Scotland. It was a wet month in southern England with percentages between 140 and 180, but exceptionally dry in parts of west Wales, northwest England, western Scotland and Northern Ireland. At Valley (Anglesey) the months total of 9mm was the lowest in February since 1986. Sunshine totals were below the normal in nearly all regions, and over the country as a whole it was the dullest February since 1993.
Text Box: Until the 10th a cyclonic type was in occupation over the British Isles but the remainder of the month was generally anticyclonic. Mean monthly sea-level pressure was above normal over much of the Atlantic north of 40N but below normal over most of Europe. The anomalous flow over the British Isles was NNE-ly.

With high pressure over Scandinavia and a depression over Iberia, February opened with a very cold easterly flow covering the UK. This give way quickly over the next two days as the depression tracked NW-wards across Britain, and a large low complex remained over the country until the 6th. A declining ridge crossed the UK overnight 7th/8th followed by an occlusion from the west, but a vigorous depression tracked along the English Channel during the 9th, reaching north Germany on the 10th. In its wake, pressure rose sharply and milder air spread into western Britain on the 12th although it did not finally reach all eastern districts until the 15th.

The first ten days of February were mostly cold and unsettled with frequent and widespread snow. Overnight 1st/2nd snow fell across most eastern, central and southern districts, and was particularly heavy in London, west Kent, Surrey and northeast Hampshire; Wisley (Surrey) reported 41cm of level snow, and Epsom Downs (also Surrey) 39cm, while some 12-15cm lay in central London. The snow turned to rain in parts of Kent and East Anglia late on the 2nd before petering out, and a keen frost followed with -10.1C at Chesham (Bucks), but moderate snowfalls continued in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England. Further heavy snow affected southwest England, Wales, the Midlands and eastern England on both the 4th/5th and the 6th, and also northern and eastern Scotland on the 6th/7th, and aggregate depths of 20-30cm were widely reported in these regions, but rain rather than snow fell in southernmost counties and much of East Anglia. Further snow spread from the west on the 8th, but the depression on the 9th brought heavy rain and strong winds to much of England and Wales, resulting in a good deal of flooding in southern England. St Marys (Scilly) collected 65mm and Plymouth 53mm, and an estimated 120mm fell over Dartmoor. As the depression moved away a strong northerly airflow developed and the rain was replaced by snow for several hours before it
                                                                                                                                           
    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   07.0   +0.1   01.8   +0.7   14.1   27   -03.6   02   15   13   05   07.3   21   065   109   1910   135   2008   020   1912   14   18.5   09   050   113   1910   124   1951   03   1959   00   07   00  
  Thorney Island   08.2   +0.1   02.5   +0.3   13.2   22   -02.8   11   11   08   05   09.6   21   069   091   1956   153   2008   034   1976   15   22.2   09   058   100   1941   147   1951   01   1959   00   04   00  
  *Wattisham   06.6   +0.2   01.2   -0.2   13.6   27   -04.8   08   15   12   10   08.1   21   070   109   1968   138   2008   041   1993   11   22.2   09   057   136   1960   091   2001   04   1998   00   09   01  
  *Wittering   06.3   +0.1   01.0   -0.3   12.5   27   -07.8   07   15   10   07   07.6   21   063   096   1950   130   1988   032   1972   14   16.6   09   050   102   1948   117   1977   02   1959   00   09   01  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   06.1   -0.5   01.3   -0.2   12.1   22   -06.0   03   16   12   10   08.3   21   054   076   1952   124   2008   037   1982   08   19.9   09   043   079   1946   140   1977   03   1965   00   08   02  
  Ross-on-Wye   08.3   +1.1   01.9   -0.1   13.7   27   -02.8   03   16   11   12   07.7   21   058   091   1915   119   1934   018   1940   19   22.5   09   041   070   1859   170   1923   01   1891   00   09   00  
  *St Athan   07.2   +0.1   02.8   +0.3   11.8   23   -02.8   02   13   08   08   06.6   10   055   079   1954   128   1988   036   1958   17   16.8   09   042   058   1954   141   2002   01   1986   00   05   00  
  Culdrose   08.4   -0.5   03.5   -0.3   11.6   22   -04.8   03   13   08   08   07.6   07   067   085   1961   128   1996   039   1986   16   24.6   09   068   062   1961   193   1977   05   1965   01   03   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   06.6   -0.5   02.4   +0.4   12.7   17   -03.6   03   15   09   02   07.4   21   052   083   1887   124   2008   009   1917   18   13.6   09   040   073   1887   149   1923   01   1891   00   10   01  
  *Valley   07.5   -0.4   03.3   -0.1   10.6   17   -03.6   08   16   05   09   07.8   04   047   058   1946   144   1986   039   1980   15   02.0   02   008   013   1941   161   1977   07   1986   00   04   00  
  *Woodford   06.4   0.0   01.8   +0.6   09.8   17   -06.0   12   17   10   16   07.9   04   * 034   055   1945   115   2008   034   1980   11   08.4   26   022   038   1942   161   1977   04   1986   00   08   00  
  *Watnall   06.5   +0.3   02.0   +0.7   11.4   24   -04.9   08   15   10   07   07.4   21   054   083   1948   122   2008   025   1965   15   13.2   09   035   073   1942   198   1977   05   1959   00   11   02  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   06.9   +0.4   01.9   +0.8   13.1   24   -05.1   08   18   10   07   07.3   10   061   093   1945   116   1970   026   1980   13   15.7   02   028   056   1945   107   1966   03   1985   00   10   01  
  *Boulmer   07.2   +1.0   02.9   +2.0   14.0   17   -03.6   09   12   06   08   07.2   06   047   080   1945   121   1997   038   1980   10   20.8   02   047   085   1945   144   1978   05   1946   00   07   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   05.1   +0.2   00.2   +0.9   11.1   17   -09.6   06   16   13   09   06.8   10   039   063   1911   118   1970   018   1966   10   11.7   02   051   046   1911   402   1997   05   1932   00   12   04  
  *Bishopton   06.7   -0.1   02.3   +1.3   12.2   23   -05.7   04   16   08   10   06.8   11   044   073   1921   118   1970   015   1959   12   04.8   28   023   034   1921   249   2002   01   1932   00   06   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   07.2   +0.7   01.7   +0.8   13.6   27   -05.7   08   14   09   07   08.3   11   066   088   1922   134   1999   033   1923   16   17.2   02   034   066   1922   142   1977   02   1932   00   07   00  
  *Dyce   06.4   +0.2   01.8   +1.6   13.6   17   -12.6   09   13   10   09   07.5   11   051   071   1941   131   1989   034   1994   08   08.4   06   061   090   1941   146   1994   07   1959   00   07   00  
  *Stornoway   07.2   +0.3   03.6   +1.4   11.3   17   -04.2   08   09   04   12   06.9   01   032   045   1880   106   1975   022   1943   02   11.4   28   073   086   1943   277   1997   10   1963   00   02   00  
  *Aldergrove   07.8   +0.8   02.8   +1.2   12.8   21   -04.3   06   12   09   05   07.2   07   054   084   1927   108   2004   030   1993   09   07.4   02   030   052   1927   132   1990   03   1932   00   06   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                           
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's   * Equals low record    
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.