Guest Blog: Weather roundup 2012 courtesy of the Met Office

The New Year’s weather began on a particularly turbulent note, with a major wind storm causing significant disruption across southern Scotland with gusts at well over 80 mph. January overall was the mildest since 2008.

February began with a spell of dry and cold weather, including the lowest UK temperatures of the winter so far and some significant snowfall. The lowest temperature reported was -15.6 °C on 11 February, at Holbeach, Lincolnshire. The second half of the month then became very mild, with temperatures often into the high teens. The continued dry weather, following two dry winters previously, put many parts of the UK on drought status.

March was another mild month with some particularly settled and warm weather. A high of 23.6 °C was recorded at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on 27th which set a new March record for Scotland. Overall March was the 3rd warmest across the UK in the series from 1910. With high pressure dominating the weather for much of the month, March was a drier than average month too – the 5th driest across the UK in fact, and was also the sunniest month in England since 1929.

April was a much more unsettled and cool month by comparison and was in fact the coldest April for the UK since 1989. It also ranks as the wettest April in the UK series since 1910.

An image of seats in the rain at National Trust Coughton Court, Warwickshire. Gavin Wray

Summer rain at Coughton Court

May began on a rather changeable note with cool, wet weather but then turned increasingly settled and very warm with temperatures above 27 °C at least somewhere in the UK on 6 successive days from 23rd to 28th. The highest temperatures were generally in Highland Scotland, and a new temperature record for of 29.3 °C was set on 25th at Achnagart, Highand.

The weather in June was dominated by low pressure, with numerous bands of rain tending to stall over or close to the UK, associated with a southerly shift in the jet-stream. These brought very large rainfall totals and some strong winds early in the month. There was an almost complete absence of warm, settled spells and overall, this was the wettest June across the UK in the series from 1910. Most of England, Wales, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland received at least twice the June average rainfall amount, and for the UK it was also generally cool and rather dull.

The first two thirds of July continued along an unsettled theme but by the time the Olympic Games arrived, high pressure built in across southern parts of the UK giving much more settled conditions for the majority of the events. In fact temperatures rose to 30 °C at St James’ Park, London on the 24th. Despite this, many parts of England, Wales and eastern Scotland had more than twice their average rainfall for July and there were numerous floods.

The first half of August saw distinctly average weather but in the third week, temperatures hit 32.4 °C at Cavendish, Suffolk. The weather in the last week turned much more unsettled with lots of rain across the north and west of the country. The night of the 31st was notably cold with a widespread frost across Scotland. In terms of extremes though, August was the best month of summer 2012, which was otherwise assessed as the wettest since 1912, cool and rather dull.

The first two weeks of September were generally dry and warm, with temperatures rising into the high 20s Celsius in South East England – well timed for the Paralympic Games. Scotland and Northern Ireland were much more unsettled and windy at times, but by the last two weeks of the month unsettled conditions spread to many areas, particularly during the 23rd – 26th when a vigorous area of low-pressure gave particularly high rainfall totals and some strong winds.

October had a very autumnal feel with successions of low pressure systems interspersed with quieter, drier and sunnier days. It was quite a cold month though with temperatures below average and some frosty, foggy nights.

The start of November continued the chilly, autumnal theme with cold nights and spells of rain from time to time. The third week, however, saw a string of depressions affect the UK with very little respite. From the 19th – 27th, many parts of England had over a month’s worth of rainfall and some devastating floods. The final week of the month saw a cold northerly airflow and generally dry conditions but the cold weather led to frost, ice, and fog and in some places, snow.

Sarah Holland, The Met Office


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