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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 674 For FEBRUARY 2012
A DRY MONTH. VERY COLD FIRST HALF WITH SNOW AT TIMES; VERY MILD SECOND HALF.
Text Box: High pressure dominated to such an extent during February that it turned out to be the eighth most anticyclonic February in 140 years of records. Until the 12th highest pressure lay over Russia with a strong ridge extending westwards to the British Isles, and the weather during this period was very cold with occasional snow, at least over England and Wales. Thereafter highest pressure lay in mid-Atlantic until the 18th, and thereafter over Biscay and France, maintaining generally mild conditions.

The first eleven days of February were very cold over England and Wales with daytime highs locally below zero each day, though there was no maximum below -2C except on the 11th. There were occasional rather cold days in southern and central Scotland and Northern Ireland, but western and northern Scotland remained relatively mild. Scotland and Northern Ireland had moderate to heavy rain on 3rd/4th and 8th-10th. The first three days were mainly sunny, and under a transitory ridge the temperature overnight 3rd/4th dropped to -12.4C at South Newington (Oxon), but a frontal trough travelled south-eastwards across the country on the 4th bringing 10-15cm of snow to much of the Midlands and eastern England and to high ground in north Wales and northwest England. Unofficial reports indicate as much as 25cm accumulated above 150m in east Kent. The subsequent thaw was quite rapid in western districts, but almost non-existent in East Anglia and Kent, and very cold air returned to much of England and Wales by the 8th. On the 9th freezing rain affected much of northwest England and the north Midlands - this was arguably the severest and most widespread example of glaze since late-December 1995 - and further snow fell across the eastern half of England, to a depth of 2-5cm. Overnight 10th/11th, under clearing skies and with little wind, the temperature fell sharply, dropping to -18.3C at Chesham (Bucks) by morning, while at Coningsby (Lincs) that day's maximum was just -5.4C. East Malling (Kent) reported 9.5h bright sunshine. The mercury again sank below -15C locally during the evening, before milder air finally encroached from the northwest.
Text Box: All areas became somewhat milder between the 12th and 16th under the influence of a rather moist northwesterly flow, though it was a slow process where snow remained on the ground. The wind backed southwesterly for a time on the 17th-18th and heavy rain fell on the 17th in northern and western Scotland with 52mm at Cluanie Inn and 45mm at Kinlochewe (both Wester Ross). Amounts of rain on the cold front were much smaller further south and east, but the front introduced a colder air with a couple of widespread night frosts, but also a very sunny day on the 19th. The last nine days of February were generally very mild with a west to southwesterly airflow, and this flow brought some heavy rain to the western highlands, with 54mm at Cluanie Inn and 51mm at Kinlochewe on the 21st. In eastern Scotland and northeast England, in the lee of high ground, the temperature exceeded 14C almost daily, but the warmth was more widespread on the 23rd when large parts of the Midlands, eastern and southern England exceeded 16C with a maximum of 18.7C at Coleshill (Warwicks) - the highest in February anywhere in the UK for fourteen years, though the Februarys of 2004 and 2008 produced readings almost as high before mid-month. A night minimum of 13.2C was noted at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) early on the 28th, with a high of 17.4C at Durham later that day. 

Mean temperature for February ranged from 2.0 degC above the 1981-2010 normal in eastern Scotland to 0.5-1.0 degC below in East Anglia and southeast England. The first half of the month was the coldest since 1991, while the second half was the warmest since 1998. Regional rainfall percentages ranged from 133 in western Scotland to 29 in East Anglia, and several sites from Northumberland to Essex collected 10mm or less during the month, and averaged nationally it was the driest February since 1998. Sunshine percentages ranged from 55 in Northern Ireland to 117 in East Anglia, with monthly totals varying between 28h at Aldergrove (Co Antrim) and 114h at Southampton (Hants).
                                                                                                                                           
    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   06.7   -0.5   01.3   -0.1   16.7   23   -07.3   11   17   13   07   08.2   26   087   118   1910   135   2008   020   1912   18   16.2   04   027   071   1910   124   1951   03   1959   00   05   01  
  Thorney Island   07.5   -0.9   01.9   -0.6   15.8   23   -06.6   12   13   10   00   08.8   26   114   125   1956   153   2008   034   1976   18   16.8   04   024   047   1941   147   1951   01   1959   00   02   00  
  *Wattisham   06.3   -0.4   00.5   -1.2   16.8   23   -09.6   11   17   14   07   08.8   07   095   122   1968   138   2008   032   2011   19   01.8   13   008   023   1960   091   2001   04   1998   00   08   02  
  *Wittering   06.8   +0.3   00.9   -0.7   16.8   23   -13.5   11   16   13   10   09.4   19   074   095   1950   130   1988   032   1972   19   06.6   05   015   036   1948   117   1977   02   1959   00   09   02  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   06.5   -0.4   00.9   -0.9   11.6   29   -09.8   11   15   11   07   09.3   25   074   087   1952   124   2008   037   1982   14   08.4   04   025   055   1946   140   1977   03   1965   00   06   03  
  Ross-on-Wye   08.5   +1.0   02.5   +0.2   16.0   23   -07.4   04   16   10   00   08.1   03   097   124   1915   119   1934   018   1940   16   07.0   09   019   039   1859   170   1923   01   1891   00   06   01  
  *St Athan   07.6   +0.2   02.7   -0.1   11.1   29   -06.3   03   13   09   11   08.8   26   073   087   1954   128   1988   036   1958   15   14.8   04   045   073   1954   141   2002   01   1986   00   02   00  
  Culdrose   08.6   -0.6   03.8   -0.3   12.0   29   -01.7   03   12   08   10   07.5   03   074   077   1961   128   1996   039   1986   12   14.4   04   041   044   1961   193   1977   05   1965   00   01   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   06.7   -0.7   02.2   -0.1   17.3   23   -05.6   11   15   11   01   08.1   11   089   117   1887   124   2008   009   1917   19   06.4   04   016   033   1887   149   1923   01   1891   00   09   01  
  *Valley   08.0   -0.2   04.4   +0.7   10.8   23   -05.9   02   10   05   14   08.1   01   048   049   1946   144   1986   039   1980   13   11.0   09   037   062   1941   161   1977   07   1986   00   01   00  
  *Woodford   06.9   +0.2   01.3   -0.2   16.6   23   -07.8   08   15   10   10   08.4   19   051   067   1945   115   2008   034   2009   13   14.6   05   050   097   1942   161   1977   04   1986   00   07   01  
  *Watnall   07.1   +0.6   01.6   0.0   16.3   23   -08.1   11   17   12   08   09.0   19   067   085   1948   122   2008   025   1965   21   09.2   05   020   046   1942   198   1977   05   1959   00   09   02  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   07.3   +0.7   00.9   -0.5   13.2   28   -08.6   08   20   13   07   08.9   19   061   077   1945   116   1970   026   1980   19   06.0   27   015   033   1945   107   1966   03   1985   00   08   01  
  *Boulmer   08.2   +1.7   03.1   +1.9   13.6   28   -04.2   03   14   07   06   08.5   19   071   102   1945   121   1997   038   1980   21   04.8   09   010   021   1945   144   1978   05   1946   00   07   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   05.7   +0.5   01.0   +1.4   11.4   22   -08.1   02   18   13   17   07.3   02   051   067   1911   118   1970   018   1966   06   19.2   21   090   094   1911   402   1997   05   1932   00   11   02  
  *Bishopton   07.5   +0.4   03.4   +2.1   12.2   28   -04.8   02   10   07   12   07.5   01   045   061   1921   118   1970   015   1959   08   14.2   17   065   110   1921   249   2002   01   1932   00   06   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   08.6   +1.8   02.6   +1.4   13.7   28   -05.7   03   16   08   05   08.6   24   091   100   1922   134   1999   033   1923   15   05.8   04   019   041   1922   142   1977   02   1932   00   05   00  
  *Dyce   08.9   +2.6   02.4   +1.9   15.9   28   -06.6   03   14   07   06   07.2   03   067   077   1941   131   1989   034   1994   12   08.6   08   023   039   1941   146   1994   07   1959   00   06   00  
  *Stornoway   08.5   +1.3   04.9   +2.4   12.2   28   -01.4   19   06   01   08   06.7   06   038   045   1880   106   1975   022   1943   05   14.2   17   070   095   1943   277   1997   10   1963   01   04   00  
  *Aldergrove   08.6   +1.3   04.8   +2.9   13.0   22   -03.1   03   08   03   17   05.5   18   * 028   036   1927   108   2004   030   1993   09   14.6   09   052   102   1927   132   1990   03   1932   00   03   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                           
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's   * New lowest    
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site. Averages are now for 1981-2010.